044: Ask Andi series—3 Companies That Saw A Blue Ocean Possibility

 Listen now to my podcast about seeing the opportunities that all around you! 

I get so excited when I get questions from the field from folks who want to know what we do as anthropologists and what is this Blue Ocean Strategy® stuff and how we help companies change, because that’s what we do. We’re corporate anthropologists and we work with organizations that need or want to change. (And I can tell you, by and large, they don’t want to change.) To illustrate, I share three stories of clients of ours who, after one of our change workshops, all had wonderful “a-ha” moments where they were able to see something that was right in front of them and make changes to take their businesses to new heights. Listen in!

This particular workshop was, “Who will be your customer in 3 years?” It was a little bit of Blue Ocean Strategyfocusing on what is your strategy to keep your business growing and sustainable in fast-changing timesbut lots of it was about what possibilities are coming to you that you’re not seeing, why aren’t you seeing them, and what would happen if you did see them. These were mid-market CEOs who have great companies but were trying to find areas for business growth. What was interesting is that they could all articulate a trend that was challenging to them or a pain they were struggling with or new things their clients were asking for, to which they were saying, “No, we don’t do that.”

There’s a great tendency to cling to the familiar and resist the new

Blue Ocean Strategy is all about how to look for unmet needs. You need to listen to the pain points in what a client is talking about, the “what ifs.” Focus too on the nonuser who comes to your website but doesn’t stay around. What are the keywords they’re using to find you? How about the emails asking for things that you don’t do, so you delete them? Possibilities for growth are all around you but you don’t see them.

The three stories I share are indicative of how you can begin to see things with fresh eyes, then put a process in place to tackle unmet needs, or the nonuser. Then at the end of the podcast, I ask you to do three simple things that could open up opportunities for you, too.

3 things for you to do:

  1. Sit on your customer service calls and listen to what’s coming in. Every time your service person says, “No, we don’t do that,” ask why you don’t. Then make a list of all the things you could do. If it costs too much to do them all by yourself, think about who you could collaborate with.
  2. Look at your emails, especially all the ones that don’t get answered because “You don’t do that.” This is a very big opportunity coming at you. Look at the keywords. What are people searching for? Are you capturing that search? Everything today is search so you’ve got to have the right keywords throughout your site or you’ll be left behind.
  3. Go hang out with your customers. Watch them actually solve a problem when you’re the solution provider. If they’re not using your product to solve their problems, why not?

Whatever business you’re in, take some time and go explore. Then share with me your stories, please. Send them along to info@simonassociates.net.

In this episode, I discuss:

  • Listening to the unmet needs of your clients or customers
  • Pausing for a moment to see the possibilities all around you that you are ignoring
  • Initiating a new curve rather than waiting for a curve to come to you
  • Why you need to realize what it’s like to be a customer of your own business
  • The importance of rethinking the way you operate your business
  • How knowing the ways your clients solve their problems can change your entire business

Resources mentioned in this episode: