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Disruptive Ideas in Business

We recently ran across a very interesting article on Mashable.com about so-called disruptive ideas in business. Now, we arent talking illegal activity where youre walking out of the office meeting in handcuffs, but rather ideas that shake up, or even revolutionize a particular industry that has been stuck, and unquestionably so, for quite some time with no large changes.

If you ask us, the business model of the typical real estate company, in general, has not really changed much in the past 50 years, though the clients, technology and the home markets definitely have. Most agents are still stuck with antiquated ideas that sliding commission splits, where they give a large portion of their earnings back to their company, is just the norm. More importantly, they largely dont question it, but just accept it as the status quo. Because of this, we could likely call the real estate business model a stuck model in a stuck industry.

To explain further, the articles author, Luke Williams, sets up the scene by talking about industries that have been stuck with no changes and no new ideas for a long time. He uses an amusing example about the sock industry, asking whats changed in the sock industry recently, if really ever? Nothing a sock is a sock is a sock. Well, what if they were sold in mismatched pairs (solves the laundry dilemma of the missing sock, right?)? While this example serves more for comedys sake (at least we think so), this idea actually resulted in a company called Little Miss Matched that actually did a large business deal with Macys.

Other great examples that the article gives are, for one, the soda industry. Specifically, the industry of these carbonated, caffeinated, sugary drinks typical was thought of in two regards: 1) cheap, and 2) good tasting. However, Williams suggests while at first glance when you use disruptive thinking and flip these two notions and come up with expensive and bad tasting it sounds strange. But, what you essentially come up with is Red Bull. A highly caffeinated beverage that is double the price of a typical soda, frankly, has no taste appeal. Its actually tastes pretty bad, right? However, its sales are through the roof and it will give you the boost youre looking for in terms of energy.

The article also gives several other interesting examples such as the car rental and the movie rental industries. What do you think of when you think of car rentals? Well, besides trying to expertly get the gas meter to the same spot you started, its the long lines, the paper work, the face-to-face interaction with the employees. But, look at Zipcar. There isnt any of that. Notion challenged.

Or, when you think of the typical movie rental companies that we used to use, you think of all those times where you forgot to return a movie, or maybe 6 months later you found a DVD in some random DVD case or in your player, and thought oh no, I must owe a fortune in late fees now! Well, thats not the case with Netflix, and is likely why Blockbusters are closing left and right all over town (there no late fees sales pitch wasnt entirely true). Again, notion challenged.

With all that said, this is what we aim to do at Andrew Mitchell Real Estate. While the word disruptive can definitely take on a negative connotation, we look at it as a positive. We are a highly progressive company in an industry that is slow to progress. We want to challenge old notions of what real estate has to be and ask, what if?

What if agents got to take home a lot more of their hard-earned dollars every year? Would the industry really crumble? Or would the scales be tipped in favor of balance in fairness? We think the latter.

What if clients had access to the industrys best information? Would they really bypass real estate professionals? Or, would they come into the process feeling informed and then let their agent guide them from there? We also think the latter.

So, we invite you to take a moment to ask yourself what if? You may be surprised that what you think simply is doesnt always have a solid reason for being that way, and may need an update. Things change. People change. And, industries definitely change.