Blue Ocean, Red Ocean…find a new way to grow!

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Harvard Business School’s Blue Ocean Strategies is a basic primer in learning to see unrealized opportunities. I use Harvard Business School’s Blue Ocean process to evaluate every business model that comes across my desk and with every team I chose to work with.

I do this for one reason; I don’t like head banging cement!

Too many of us have been in the forest for so long we think the whole world looks like our particular neck of the woods. The Ipod, Apple computer, Linux software, Cirque De Soleil, Yellow Tail, X-Box, Skype, E Bay…. were all blue oceans at one time; uncontested space; mere thoughts.

Many of us fight in the red ocean’s of our making every day; lowering price, finding a bit better location, hiring a new fulfillment company, engaging a new trademark attorney…tit for tat we one up our competition, falsely believing this will be enough to sustain our sales and profits. It WON"T!

What if instead, we asked the question; What would make our competition irrelevant? Where is untapped potential that matches our unique knowledge, expertise and ablilities. What is it that we can be "BEST" at; what can we own?

Questions are magic. I’ve learned the hard way; but learn I have, he who asks the questions is the wisest of all… I look for experts and dream teams who understand that the right questions determine the outcome of the game, they uncover the opportunities waiting for you and I.

What type of questions are you asking of; yourself, your team; your business, your business model ( the recipe by which you make money) and your strategic plan?

In Blue Ocean Strategizing we draw visual maps of the competitive landscape and then ask 6 questions which challenge us to think outside the narrow constraints of what the competition down the road or at www.wannabebetterthanus is doing.  We then take our insights and develop a four sided matrix; as we hypothesize about the opportunities we’ve discovered; we play with the elements ( ingredients) of our current business model; what could we create; that is new for the consumer; what could we reduce to cut unnecessary costs and drive up value? What needs to be reduced and what increased? Is this an innovative high value consumer driven solution? Along the way our thinking takes on new dimensionality; we see sales, profits, problems and solutions that we swear were not there; days ago.

I’ve listened as founders and entrepreneurs have grown frustrated with the Blue Ocean process mistakenly believing that Blue Ocean Strategy is only applicable if you are the first in, or the only one in your industry, competitive market! WRONG! That is not the point- the point is to practise the skill of seeing the market and your industry with new eyes; with 3d glasses; with glasses that see the future, profit opportunities, market share opportunities and solutions consumers are hungry for that are yet undelivered by the market; so you can lead your venture to it’s fullest potential.

Everything feels uncomfortable the first time; remember your first kiss? Aren’t you glad you pushed through the awkwardness…of those few moments?

Blue Ocean strategies are all about increasing innovation while simultaneously increasing client value. These two factors are often contradictory, but not in Blue Ocean Strategizing, they are complimentary, essential both of them; if you are to design a new revenue stream or venture that seizes uncontested market space and is sustainable

The six questions of reconstructing the marketplace within Blue Ocean Strategizing is where magic happens. I’ve yet to lead a team through this process and not uncover nuggets, nuggets worth 5,6,7,8, 9 digits of money; depending on execution.

The premise is that the consumer lusts after true innovation in form of solutions they can purchase and genuine value, which sounds like a consumer saying, "I expected to pay more…"

You can learn the basics of Blue Ocean Strategizing and if you can’t do it on your own, I can certainly help you; either way, I can assure you, you will have less tendency to engage in entrepreneural cement head banging if you do master the basics!

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be business insane; executing a flawed business model over and over expecting new results (increased sales and profits) that are impossible due to the innate flaws in the business.

Get out of the forest- hire team that can help you see the desert from the tropics and let go of fighting for a few more clients- set sail for an ocean that allows you to capitalize on new solutions that make your competition irrelevant and seize new profit and sales opportunities.

Blue Oceans…I’m swimming in them are you?

Pam Hoelzle

Seattle Business Consulting, Seattle Business Consultants, Seattle Business Coach

"With" is a powerful thing…

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