Jeff Ericson, Founder, RubyRide
Whether you operate a small, medium or larger business, one thing is certain – you have got to start off on the right foot researching your competitive landscape to survive. In starting any business, the minimum time you should assess the competitive landscape and work on your business plan is at least two years. In my own business, the transportation industry, prior to launching my service, I spent over two years researching, and working with local transportation departments and the city of Phoenix prior to launching.
While every industry is not the same, here is my advice on how you as a CEO can take control and build a reputable brand:
Create an economical system: Look at what your current competitors are providing and ask yourself what your competitive differentiator is? For example, in the transportation industry which is saturated, instead of a per transportation and fee charge similar to a taxi service we looked at new business model. RubyRide is a startup that is a membership-based system that provides convenient, safe and reliable transportation options to users.
Set yourself apart from your peers: You started your business out as the most innovative concept on the road but three years from now will it still be in high demand? That is the question every business needs to ask and scale up or down accordingly. Set yourself apart from peers.
Look at your market share and city. Adjust your business model accordingly: What works in San Francisco might not work in Phoenix. Don’t assume because you are successful in one market, you will be successful in all. For example, in looking at the transportation industry due to the fact that it is a saturated market, we wanted a period of slow organic growth. Phoenix has a low-to-medium density city and it is reducing the number of cars on the road, so the concept works here. By serving markets such as students or the elderly who are not looking for mass transport, you can easily fill a safe reliable need. Our same concept might not work in San Francisco which is known as higher density.
Become a household name by being a lifestyle change: While in some instances a one-time service is important in pickup and drop off, it has to make sense from a consumer standpoint on trust, honesty and reliability. So look at a new business model. For instance instead of an one time trip – just pickup and drop off, become a lifestyle change.
Whatever industry you are in, make sure your growth is both planned and methodical. The best piece of advice I can impart in building your brand is be one step ahead of the competition by constantly innovating, testing the market with focus groups and knowing your industry.
About the Author
RubyRide was founded in 2013, by Jeff Ericson, a Phoenix architect. With a passion for community-centered design, Ericson’s projects are found throughout Arizona. Ericson recognized that for many, transportation was a real struggle, and that the mass-transit options available in the Phoenix area really didn’t serve people’s needs. The average driver only uses their car 42 minutes a day, which means that a person’s first or second most expensive asset, sits idle more than 23 hours a day, but they pay for it all the time. After two years of study and refinement, the concept for RubyRide emerged.