Recently, I met a friend of mine, an owner of a heating construction company. He inherited this business from his father. He lives in Lower Bavaria, in a lovely village. Being well known in their area for generations, the cornerstone of their corporate policy was always a traditional and personal approach to their customers. It was a proven strategy, for all intents and purposes.
The biggest competitor of this traditional business in the countryside is a startup! In just six years, a newly-born company, called Thermondo, became the largest representative of the heating construction industry in all of Germany. And it does not even have its own engineers. It is “just” a platform that subcontracts every order and offers efficient processing the whole way from ordering to delivery.
So if even such a business is endangered, what does it mean for the whole market?
Another example is Flixbus. It became the biggest bus company in Germany, offering 250,000 connections per day. They could offer this without owning a single bus. It took them just three years to reach the top.
Thermondo and Flixbus are not portals that just merely compare the prices and offers of different service providers. Their comparative advantage is in complete order processing, efficient and convenient service for their customers. Infallible service delivery, scalability, and high quality are also incredibly important for these portals.
These companies became Amazon but for heating and transport industries.
This first surprised and upset me, but then elicited understanding and even support. After all, my company, K&C, was itself a similar type of company.
From my own experience, I can give the following advice: never assume that your business is good enough to do nothing for the next 20 years. Once you allow such a thought into your head – consider that you just committed entrepreneurial suicide.
To stay afloat, you should always look around, analyze, and compare the development levels of your competitors and your own.
And if you need to become a shark, if you need to introduce a new platform, do not hesitate – create it:
1. Identify your target niche where you can become the leader.
2. Create a perfect customer experience from making an order to making payment.
3. Find partners to do the actual work.
4. Ensure high quality of their work.
These simple actions can become the first steps to the digitization of your business and new, unexpected clients.