By Dak Dillon
Be the disrupter
Every market has a leader, someone you want to learn from and follow. As an entrepreneur, you’re likely not the leader ... at least not at first. Instead, you’re the person who’s going to shake things up. When you first start out, you’re small, unknown and have a great advantage. You can be the disrupter. I’m drawn to this idea in most of my pursuits, disrupting. It’s never fun to follow someone else. Sure, they may have done some of the groundwork for you, maybe have a marketing strategy you want to “borrow,” or maybe they have the type of customers you want ... But when does being second feel good? There are always ideas you can improve out, reinvent or recreate as your own. In my business, we decided the best way to produce a quality product was to not follow the others in our market. I chose to make our company a market disrupter, and responsive web
design became our calling card. We knew the best way to grab attention and market share was to work completely opposite of our competition, to exist in a realm they weren’t even yet exploring. To our competition, responsive web design was still an industry buzzword — a piece of jargon that they couldn’t monetize. To us, it represented the best way to disrupt a competitive but antiquated market. A year later, our competitors have all altered their sales pitches, websites and portfolios to reflect our disruption. From responsive design, we branched out into high-quality video production, targeted content marketing, and brand development; and provided a host of services and a quality level not seen for our market size. By differentiating our business model, we avoided the trap of complacency. That’s a trap that swallows many existing businesses and far too many entrepreneurs. They become compla-
No one likes the status quo
Dak Dillon is the principal and creative director at Hub & Spoke, a creative agency that helps
businesses find focus for their brands through web design, marketing and strategy.
cent with their idea, saying, “What I have is great.” In reality, what you have may be great, but you always have to be evolving. The perfect example of this? Facebook. Just think, how many times a year does Facebook redesign a feature? Far too many, but they continue to evolve as they figure out how to turn a profit. Business is all about adapting and growing to meet the needs of customers. We chose to shake things up at the start to make customers realize there are more options and features, giving us an advantage while being new. We focused on doing something no one else in our market was doing, so that people wouldn’t think of us as just another web design agency. We forced our competitors to have the same conversations we were having, but we led the conversations. It’s never fun to be second, and the only way to be first is to do something different than everyone else.
Mid-Missouri Women's Business and Leadership