Every business owner dreams of coming up with that one game-changing idea that can turn their company into a successful innovator and forever change their industry. But shifting the course of an industry is not as easy as it sounds, among fierce competition from dozens of other businesses that had the same idea. So how can your business achieve that kind of success? Here are 14 examples of highly innovative brands that are already leaving their mark on their industries and the business world as a whole.
Flint is changing the payments industry and offering a unique way to help merchants and business owners get secure payments from customers. They offer an app where a business owner can take a picture of a payment card and process the payment, after which the information disappears and there is no record, so no security threat. Everything is digital with email receipts. This has greatly sped up payments. - Peter Daisyme, Due
Netflix has changed the way we view movies and do business in the entertainment industry. It used to be that we had to wait months before viewing a movie in our home. Today, we have the option of pre-ordering the movie through our smart television the day it’s released in the theaters. Buying the digital download of a movie is much more lucrative than spending money on postage for DVDs. - Duran Inci, Optimum7
This seems like a fairly obvious choice, but it's hard to deny that Amazon has really revolutionized retail. It not only provides the leading retail platform for all types of products, but it's found a way to get items in customers' hands as quickly as possible. It's also a leader in streaming services with Prime Video and cloud computing services. - Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
Merriam-Webster combined a stodgy industry with a modern platform (Twitter) to create a decisive voice for themselves. Witty, timely, educational commentary from an unexpected source like a dictionary company makes them a rarity in their space. They've hit the perfect tone in their content, which shows they're embracing social media while still highlighting their expertise in an authentic way. - Roger Lee, Captain401
Uline has single-handedly changed a very traditional business — shipping warehouse materials — and turned it into a high-tech, instant-access product. They have shifted a slow-moving business into the 21st century and have taken a lion's share of the market with it. It is not common to find a sleepy industry become reinvented by a single player and this is exactly what Uline has done. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
Email marketing company Drip has been doing an amazing job of changing their industry. Established companies in the space (like MailChimp and InfusionSoft) have struggled to keep up with the more agile and approachable company, and it shows in Drip's growth. Drip has differentiated itself by making "marketing automation" approachable and affordable to the lower end of the market. - Ruben Gamez, Docsketch
While Uber has had a bit of bad news lately, it should not distract from the fact that they popularized the "sharing economy" and may have also paved the way for autonomous vehicles in the future. They have differentiated themselves by creating a business that has no assets, so to speak, but has the enormous potential to ultimately replace owned non-autonomous vehicles. - Andy Karuza, FenSens
T-Mobile has more recently done a very good job of differentiating itself from other cell providers. It offers to pay early termination fees from other companies, it has a unique logo and it allows folks to bring in phones from other carriers to be unlocked for use with their company. It also seems to do a better job of solving customers' problems than the competition. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
I’m a big fan of the way Casper has innovated in a moribund but hugely profitable industry. Casper is shaking up the mattress industry, which is famed for absurdly high prices and an antiquated distribution model. Casper makes an excellent product, advertises it smartly and sells at a price that considerably undercuts traditional mattress retailers. - Vik Patel, Future Hosting
A. Domino’s Pizza
Domino's Pizza has grown more than Apple or Google or Netflix or Tesla this decade for a reason. They understood their business was pizza delivery and focused on being the best at that. They tackled delivery pizza stigmas with ad campaigns stating their pizza "crust tastes like cardboard," late deliveries with delivery trackers and no innovation with drone and robot delivery stunts. - AJ Brustein, Wonolo
Hublot differentiated itself in the incredibly established and competitive market of high-end watches by doing the unexpected. They combined precious material watches with inexpensive rubber straps. By being luxurious and comfortable but not flashy, Hublot became one of the fastest growing luxury watch brands of all time and changed the whole industry with the creation of a new type of watch. - Peter Bonac, Bonac Innovation Corp.
Recognizing that preferences for news consumption have evolved dramatically, Axios is shifting the paradigm by delivering news in short, concise, easy-to-digest tidbits that nonetheless allow readers to stay informed. Focusing on "smart brevity," Axios provides its readers with the most important news of the day in a uniquely clean, clear and efficient manner. - Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group
SurfAir caused a major disruption in the airline industry and made a huge impact on the way people fly. They introduced an "all you can fly" model that encourages individuals and businesses to fly to places they may normally drive to. Due to the small size of the planes, their customers do not need to go through TSA checks, and the affordable cost of membership makes it popular with frequent travelers. - Gene Swank, ScreenTime Solutions
Airbnb is turning the traditional hotel industry upside down, and it's not just for cheap hipsters looking to save on hotel costs. Want a beach front villa on a remote island? An artsy studio near the Eiffel tower? An NYC Central Park penthouse? The sky is the limit. The largest hospitality booking giant owns not a single property. How is that for a paradigm shift? - Joe Beccalori, Interact Marketing
These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.