How Do You Find New Opportunities?
How Do You CHANGE?
The research on business strategies have been robust for a long time, particularly Michael Porter and his Five Forces. Yet all too often, we find that companies have paid little attention to their “big picture” strategy—where they are going and how they will get there.
As the business environment is changing very rapidly, companies are struggling with how to adapt to these shifts while using the old models of strategy. No longer can they do a “SWOT” analysis and continue to thrive only by leveraging their strengths and addressing weakness—because, guess what? Threats are all about them.
“Blue Ocean Strategies®” and “Red Ocean Strategies”
I became a certified Blue Ocean Strategist in 2013, having met Renée Mauborgne, the co-author of the groundbreaking book, Blue Ocean Strategy, in 2006, right after the book was published. For a corporate anthropologist, the theory, method and tools of Blue Ocean Strategy perfectly fit the way we approached companies and their strategic perspectives.
For the past decade, Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC) has been working with companies large and small, in a wide range of industries, on how to find a new “blue ocean” when their current markets are bloody red with too much competition and commoditization. The challenge, we find, is that when businesses are thriving, the demands of customers often drive the business…not the strategy. This more often than not gets sidelined, rarely turned into operational or tactical action plans. In addition, staff often does not know what the strategy is and therefore if their efforts are on-strategy or not.
When SAMC works with companies, “where you are going” becomes critical in the change process. Without a clear understanding of this, it is very difficult to align an organization so that it can find nonusers and new market space, not to mention reinvent the skills and talent they will need tomorrow.
How we begin our business strategy process
If we were working with you, we would begin our process by re-thinking your “big picture” strategy. We challenge all of the underlying premises to help break through the barriers of the brain and help you see opportunities in new ways. How? With the Blue Ocean Strategy strategic canvases.
The pictures in the canvases become important tools to help you map out your business today and where there are new opportunities for you in the future. Then we help you turn it into a business process so you and your team can know when you are doing something on strategy and when you are driven by other choices.
Next, we help you set up strategic councils so you can actually manage the strategy on a regular basis. We know this requires allocating resources and time to implement the strategy, often requiring you to shift your focus and rethink how you do things. Simultaneously, your team has to learn how to think about the “big picture” so that it can drive the change necessary for you to grow.
As trained Blue Ocean Strategists, we apply the concepts, theories and tools of Blue Ocean Strategic thinking to help our clients better “see, feel and think” about their business with fresh perspectives. With our clients, we go searching for three opportunities, fundamental to Blue Ocean thinking:
- Unmet Needs
- Creating Demand—not just fulfilling existing demand
In the process, we help clients open new market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant.
Red Ocean Strategies
In many cases, clients would prefer to compete in their current market space (their “Red Ocean”), yet do so more effectively. Not everyone is ready to open a new market space. Sometimes they just want to do better in their current one. We understand.
But if they are willing, our job is to help them:
- Evaluate their business model. We determine ways to sustain growth through better solutions or delivery systems that are differentiated from their competition. It may not be what they do but how they do it that can create better value in a more innovative way.
- Re-think their customers and potential customers and understand their needs with fresh eyes. Often a company has lost several RFPs and/or lost a long-term client. The reasons why can be very revealing. We help these clients better understand what those prospective clients or current ones are really looking for and why their company isn’t, at present, the right solution.
- Assess their branding and marketing strategies and executions. All too often, businesses have been trying to tell their brand story in the same way for far too long. The message has become tired and the marketing solutions have grown old. If your brand storytelling, how to build communities of fans to tell your story for you, and the integrated world of marketing sometimes have become out of sync with where your company should be heading, you’re in need of a change.
- Create new marketing/communications services. We are not a marketing agency but we excel in partnering with those whom we believe can operationalize a business strategy and best create the right brand storytelling/marketing at the right price for each client. Our business model gives us considerable flexibility in both the scope of services offered and the pricing required.
What type of strategy are you ready for?
All organizations need a simple, integrated, strategic story that will help organize actions and investments as well as provide a shared vision of the future. Perhaps we can help you assess your strategy today and redirect it for the future. To focus your thinking, you might find this blog of ours interesting: “Resistant to Change? My Managers Don’t Want To Find a Blue Ocean”
If you would like to discuss how we might help you rethink your strategy, please contact us.