HOW TO BE THE UBER OF ANYTHING18 Nov 2015
Cab aggregator Uber is going and taking us places. Uber’s growth has been rapid and phenomenal. Many startups are trying to create an ‘Uber for x’ model for different ‘on-demand’ services. There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind before you start this venture. Let’s look at how you can succeed in turning your business model into the ‘Uber for x’.
Understand the problem you’re solving and how you attempt to solve it.
If you want to successfully market your product, you should be very clear about the problem you’re solving and who you’re targeting. The problem that Uber had was one, drivers who needed to make extra money, and two, people who were frustrated with how long it took to get a cab. It solved both problems. For the drivers, they get to use their car, at their schedule and for the people; they get a comfortable ride ‘on-demand’.
Once you have the solution to your problem, can you provide that solution to people when they want it?
Now that you’ve understood your problem, you need to figure out how you can provide quick and easy services to your customers when they demand it. That’s one of the reasons why Uber is so successful; people react to the ‘on-demand‘ aspect. This ‘on-demand’ model can be replicated to every single local business idea, from groceries, to laundry, to health and wellness, to logistics. Shippr, a logistics company, aims to be the Uber for commercial vehicles by providing consumers with vehicles on demand to move their goods within the city. First, you need to have a minimum viable product. Then find your audience and test your product to see if it gets traction. A taxi business by itself is not innovative. But how you make it a disruptive ‘on-demand’ model is.
3 parameters for your on demand business model – Uber for x
How often are people going to use your product? People user Uber frequently, sometimes even multiple times a day. If you are thinking about creating an on-demand service model, you need to think about how often users would need and use the product. Even if it’s a niche service, you need to think about how often your customers will need it.
Your on demand business model should be scalable. First you connect users with the service providers and then rapidly scale to other cities. You will have to think about how to market to specific targets, how much revenue it will take to expand, what is the number you should hit for your on demand business to be successful.
The good thing about competition is that it drives you to do better. Competition makes sure the consumer has a lot of choices. What makes you different? What features will you provide that will make the consumer prefer you to the others?
Some ideas for Uber for x
- Elder care
- Health care
- Baby care
- Garbage pickup
- Pet care
If you want to call yourself the Uber of something, you need to understand what makes Uber so successful. In many cities, the taxi industries are monopolies, artificially restricting supply to maintain the values of operating licenses. Uber has managed to destroy these monopolies to a huge extent by offering convenience and price efficiency to consumers. Uber does have its competitors, but it has been able to be at the top by experimenting, getting a head start, matching the demand with supply and paying a lot of fines.
Your idea won’t become the Uber for x just because you removed a little bit of inconvenience from the consumer’s life. You become the Uber of x by drastically disrupting the ecosystem. How do you know when you’ve become the Uber for x? When people controlling the industry you’re disrupting start to retaliate. For instance, autos and taxi agencies frequently go on strike to get the government to get Uber off the roads.
To conclude, we would like to tell you that trying to build your business to be the next Uber is near impossible. Modeling your business after another company by copy-pasting their business model will not guarantee success. What you should do is, study successful businesses to see what they did right. From Uber, you learnt that customers want things at a competent price, when they demand it and on their terms. If you know how to utilize these principles in your business model, you might strike gold.