How does a company gain traction in an industry? With all that’s been done, finding a unique business niche that sells becomes increasingly difficult.
Don’t lose faith. You’ll find that there are still gaps to be filled and market needs to be met when you look hard enough. Even with how far we’ve come, we still have far to go. The businesses with lasting impacts make a difference because they recognize a market need and effectively work towards a solution.
One Entrepreneur’s Example
That’s exactly what one young entrepreneur, Michael Martin, did. 29-year-old Martin noticed how difficult it is for people today to get emergency help in situations when they most desperately need it. Living in downtown New York, Martin experienced this first hand when he had what he calls a “quintessential New York experience.” Walking home in Harlem, Martin noticed that he was being followed. He knew that to call 911 would bring attention to himself, and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to report the necessary information in enough time. What Martin did instead was call an Uber. He safely got away from danger, but realized that, “Contacting 911 should be just as easy as getting an Uber.”
Martin found a need: an outdated emergency dispatch system prevents victims from getting the help they need when they need it. Martin makes the poignant observation that while technology has improved our lives in countless ways, the emergency infrastructure is still in a stage of stagnant development. It was created in the sixties, “back when landlines were king and so it’s not well-equipped to handle cell phones.”
How They’re Changing Public Safety
Over 10,000 emergency victims lost their lives in 2016 when they couldn’t be located after calling 911. This is where Martin and his team at RapidSOS come into the picture.
Addressing this large market need in healthcare and public safety, RapidSOS develops apps and other transformative technology that improves emergency response and keeps families, schools and businesses safer. Their mobile app, Haven, allows users to send necessary information immediately to emergency responders with one touch, as well as notify family members or other parties. In a moment of alarm, RapidSOS is making help for victims much more accessible.
“Never hold back in what it is that you do.”
– Michael Martin
When Hard Work Pays Off
For years, like countless other entrepreneurs, Martin and his small team have found it a challenge to get RapidSOS out into the market. But they have not quit. Martin and others at RapidSOS have raised money through entrepreneurial contests, public fundraising and interactions with thousands of experts in the industry. It’s paying off: their response to this public problem has raised $14 million and continues to grow.
And they haven’t stopped there. RapidSOS continues to partner with monitoring companies so that in the future, when you experience a health emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, the nearest emergency response teams will be notified in real-time.
Martin’s efforts as co-founder and CEO of RapidSOS were recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 this year, as they highlighted his powerful influence in the world of healthcare.
Martin’s Advice to Fellow Entrepreneurs
Michael Martin has achieved great success and acclaim, what some people twice his age only dream about. But even the youngest CEOs can teach us lessons that take a lifetime to learn.
He says that one thing that will carry a leader in business is their passion, so that the “ups and downs and tons of challenges” associated with starting a company will not make them miserable. They must “believe and care about what it is [they] are doing,” he says, along with “having the passion to see it through.” According to Martin, that passion must take you outside of your comfort zone if you want to make a difference. Being comfortable with being comfortable is not okay in Martin’s book. If you are not challenging yourself, then you will not have room for growth.
Martin’s last piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to not focus on disrupting an industry, but on building it up. He says, “The notion of disruption is very in vogue these days. But from my experience, it’s not always about disrupting an existing industry but partnering with it and then improving it.”
Whether you are 29 or 59, any entrepreneur should ask themselves, “Where can I improve the industry or market I am passionate about?” That is how you start to find the need in your niche. As we’ve seen from Martin’s experience, if you find a market need that matters, that’s when you’ve found a business idea to run with.
Now is the time to start making your difference.
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