How Blue is Your Ocean?

beachprintsThere’s a lot of competition out there, and the majority of businesses are fighting it out in a sea of competitors to try to get their piece of the action.

 

That’s a shame. Our battle-worn and once glorious blue ocean has turned red. All those little fish struggling for air and trying to grab the attention for their market share are left adrift in a sea of sameness. No one can tell them apart.

 

You may feel that you’re one of them .  If so, you may ask yourself what chance you have of succeeding with the same product, when you’re paddling around in the same waters as your competitors, who are already battling it out for recognition.

 

You sell the same product as everyone else so it stands to reason you need to follow the same path everyone else has taken to market it.  What choice do you have?

 

That begs the question: Would you rather be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small one?

 

I know what my answer would be. Go where the water is blue. Differentiate yourself. Swim away and find a place where no one has gone before.  Find your own niche in a crowded market and leave your competitors in the dust – or tangled brine, as the case may be.

 

You don’t need to be an Apple, or a Salesforce or have a lot of money to do that. You just need to find the need no one else is serving with your product, and fill it. You’ll create value. You’ll differentiate yourself.  You’ll create demand.

 

Several years ago, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, professors at INSEAD, wrote a groundbreaking book, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant.”It was recently updated and I highly recommend it.

 

The book helps entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes determine how to find their blue oceans and provides a 4 Action Framework to enable you to reconstruct your buyer value elements and create a new one, based on differentiation and low cost.

 

They recommend:

 

  1. Raise: What factors should be raised well above the industry’s standard?
  2. Eliminate: Which factors that the industry has long competed on should be eliminated?
  3. Reduce: Which factors should be reduced well below the industry’s standard?
  4. Create: Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered?

 

By answering these questions, businesses are able to examine every aspect of their competition and uncover he assumptions they’ve unconsciously made by trying to compete with them.  It also pushes businesses to pursue how they can stand out: be different and create value in a way that will not negatively affect their ROI.

 

In the words of Dr. Seuss:

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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