Things to Consider when Scaling your Creative Monopoly
In 2014 a successful headphone company started by one of the most prolific rappers alive made history when Apple acquired it for over $3 billion.
The deal was the culmination of years of effort by a dedicated team and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research and development.
Dr. Dre took Beats by Dre from a niche product for professional producers and Dj’s, to a high end luxury product for enthusiasts, and finally made it a household name synonymous with high quality audio.
Dr. Dre understood a concept lost on many entrepreneurs looking for greener pastures.
“If you can’t win in a niche market then you have no hope going against industry giants.”
For your creative monopoly to thrive; start in a niche market with little or no competition.
This may seem like common sense, but we all know common sense isn’t so common anymore.
The story of Beats by Dre is much more common than you may realize.
Paypal concentrated on making it easy for EBay “power sellers” to make and receive payments.
Facebook concentrated on College kids when they first started and on top of that, they only opened the service on select campuses across the United States.
Before that, it was exclusive to particular dorms on campus (talk about niche)
Tesla motors focused on developing the best high end luxury electric car they could before developing the more affordable Model S for mainstream consumption.
These are all examples of successful creative monopolies that started with a small niche and were able to scale into adjacent markets.
What’s Your Niche?
Most entrepreneurs fail to define the niche they’re targeting clearly enough for themselves and their team.
Usually, they use a shotgun approach and search for what they might have hit after letting off a few dozen pellet shots.
Or even worse, they build a product and start looking for an ideal market to test whether or not anyone wants it.
Without a clearly defined starting niche, there’s no way you can brand yourself in a way that’ll appeal to that target market.
That’s where a creative monopoly is different. Your weapon of choice is a sniper rifle. You only have one bullet and you intend to hit your target the first time around.
You take deep breaths to calm your initial excitement about your idea. you look through the sights of your rifle; (your marketing funnel), hold it steady against your shoulder (your base of operations), adjust for wind speed and direction (external market forces), and then take the shot. You know you can’t miss.
Have you seen a motivational blogger? So have I, about a million actually. Have you heard of a motivational blogger for tennis players?
Neither have I.
Have you come across a fitness trainer? So has everyone else in the world, but you probably haven’t come across a fitness trainer who only works with say at home dads.
I know I haven’t.
What about the all too common title of software developer? I’m also a software developer if push comes to shove.But I’ve never seen a software developer that caters exclusively to the multi-billion dollar waste management industry.
I’m really looking for that one.
Before taking on the world with your “revolutionary idea” take on a small niche and win.
Scaling your Niche Monopoly and the Case for Disruption
Disruption is a buzzword that’s been taken too far out of context.
To disrupt means to turn established industries on their head.
To be an effective disruptor, you must be an effective competitor.
When you’re locked in competition, you don’t have time to create.
If you’re not creating then you’re stagnating.
DO NOT DISTRUPT
The beauty of starting a monopoly in a particular niche and successfully dominating is that you’ve gotten a string of victories, momentum, and a loyal customer base.
With the strong distribution network you developed when solidifying your niche market, scaling will be much easier than conquering your niche market was.
Scaling a creative monopoly is just like dancing the tango.
It’s full of energy and precision, it draws a lot of emotion from other players and bystanders, and once you get the basics down you can do it however you like.
I learned by accident that there is no “wrong” way to dance The Tango, you just have to make sure one person is leading and the other is following.
What you need to remember is that you’re not scaling into completely new markets, but rather you’re moving into complimentary or adjacent markets.
You won’t start as a tire producer and move into making candy for children.
A fitness trainer could scale into the market for private label health supplements that they sell in their stores and on their website. .
A digital marketing agency can begin to make proprietary software that fits perfectly with the suite of services they’ve been offering to their clients (it’s what Moz did after building a huge audience).
For you to successfully scale a monopoly, It’s important to have built an audience or customer base that’ll give you the ability to expand into adjacent markets.
It’s not about growing as fast as possible in the beginning. Rather, its about delivering the best experience to your customers and audience so they’ll remain with you as you work to expand your business.
Start as small as possible and then move in a direction that’ll complement what you’ve already been doing.
It’s not about who can be the biggest, but who can meet the needs of their customers the best.