Don't be a Blockbuster, be a game changer
We have survived our first month at The TenderHood, and we are still smiling, whoop whoop! We were not sure how the market would take to our new approach to public procurement, but we have been delighted with the response so far. It takes bravery and really listening to what your customers are saying to come up with a new business model and shake up an industry. But history tells us that those companies who stand still and fail to adapt will undoubtedly die.
Covid has and will continue to have a massive impact on how companies do business going forward. Many industries will change forever, and not all in a bad way. Online sales have rocketed, working from home has obviously increased, and business owners have been forced to think outside the box in these crazy times.
The proof is in the pudding
There are examples throughout history that show what happens to companies who fail to adapt. Blockbuster of course lost out to Netflix, Blackberry lost out to the iPhone, mySpace somehow didn’t see Facebook coming, the list is huge. (My personal favourite is The Founder, check it out on Netflix, you might struggle to find a Blockbuster nearby)
There is no single reason for these companies demise. They were all different sizes with different owner structure in different markets. But, one thing is clear – they didn’t adapt at the right time. The right time is when you are successful, not when you are drowning.
The TenderHood is fortunate as a start-up. We can look at what is going on in our marketplace and see where mistakes are being made. We have spent over 12 months talking to companies who tender and understanding what they feel is missing. We know that SMEs need more support, don’t want to pay huge annual fees and certainly don’t want limitations placed on them.
You need to be doing the same research and some self reflection. And it should be happening now to make sure you don’t get left behind when the new kid on the block arrives.
So what are the current trends?
If we look at most businesses in the tech world we will see very distinct patterns. Users no longer want long-term commitment. They want to cancel anytime. Users are super busy, and no longer want to spend huge amounts of time on the phone getting set up. Everything has to be simple, from sign up to payments. Users want to test what they are buying first which means a free trial is a must. Just look at Spotify, Netflix, HotJar, Slack – all SAAS (Software As A Service) companies leading the way in their industries.
Outside of tech (but definitely using tech) we have Uber, Airbnb, Deliveroo; so many businesses who have identified an opportunity in existing markets. And this is exactly what The TenderHood is doing. We have identified a gap in the public procurement tender alert market to provide a low-cost service with unlimited options and machine learning instead of human categorization (faster, more accurate and scalable).
We all make mistakes
Seven years ago, I was one of the co-founders of The Hub South Shore, a co-working space for the self-employed, start-ups and entrepreneurs who needed to get out of the house and network with like-minded people.
We held several public engagements and were pretty sure that there was demand for the service. However, after investing our life savings and building the space, tumbleweed time here we go. Turns out getting people to pay $300 a month to have their own workspace was a little harder than we thought.
Well that’s when we had to really start figuring out a better business model. We went back to the community. What we learned was that most people were not looking for a full-time space, they just needed somewhere to get away when they had some free time. We introduced a 1 day a week membership for $75 a month and boom, within 18 months we outgrew our space and had to move to a new location.
Keep your eye on the ball
Change is inevitable in any industry; you just need to make sure that you are ahead of the game. Make sure you are looking at market trends and what other companies are doing. Find out what companies are doing in different markets to yours, are those changes transferable? Use a tool like HotJar to get feedback from your customers and find out what is making them happy or not. Don’t be scared, try things out and if they are not working then shut them down. Change the way you play the game. As Wayne Gretzky the famous Canadian hockey player said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
What changes do you see coming in your industry? Do you have any tips to staying ahead of the game? What would you like to see The TenderHood doing to make your life as an SME in public procurement easier? Use the comments field below.