075: Ask Andi—Blue Ocean Strategy® Step 1

 Listen now to my podcast about how to find your Blue Ocean Strategy! 

Today, I want to talk about Blue Ocean Strategy, the methodology and book created by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim. This year they launched a new book called “Blue Ocean Shift,” an excellent 2nd version of the Blue Ocean Strategy approach to help you see, feel and think in new ways about your business in these rapidly-changing times. And so it seems very timely for me to go through the steps of a Blue Ocean Strategy with you so you can learn how to apply it to your own business, whether it’s doing well or not so well and you’re wondering what’s coming next.

At SAMC we are trained practitioners in Blue Ocean Strategy 

To begin, the basic premise of Blue Ocean Strategy isn’t to do more of the same, cheaper, or to stay within the same market space, or to compete with others in the same industry that you’re in today.

Neither is it about digging deeper into a customer and selling them more product. It’s about finding their problem, their pain points, so you can offer them solutions.

When Renée Mauborgne and Chan Kim did their original research which led to their book, they studied 150 companies, looking for ones that thrived. What they found was that those that thrived did so because of innovative strategies. They were value innovators. They solved a problem differently than others. Not simply cheaper or faster, but they packaged their solution completely differently. They thought about it completely differently.

Some well-known examples of Blue Ocean thinking: Starbucks, Uber, [yellow tail] wine, Cirque du Soleil and Airbnb.

Strategic canvas

So how do you find your Blue Ocean Strategy? The first step is to take stock of where you are now, how you’re competing in the industry that you’re in, or you think you’re in, and what you’re offering from the buyer’s perspective backwards. The tool that helps you see, feel and think about your business in new ways is called a strategic canvas. It’s an interesting and simple tool, but often hard to do, because a lot of business people aren’t really sure what they are competing on or who their competitors are.  

Think of the strategic canvas as an analysis that depicts the way an organization structures its offering to buyers in relation to the offerings of other companies who are trying to solve the same problem in the same way. This will help you clarify whether you’re in a me-too position or really out ahead of the pack.

Everybody is wedded to what they know and the new is terrifying

Your job in finding your Blue Ocean Strategy is to begin to see, feel and think in new ways before you go and do anything. In my next Ask Andi, I’ll talk about visual exploring. I’ll explain the places where you can go and hang out, take pictures, video things, and begin to see what’s really happening out in the marketplace, what people are actually doing with your product, what are they not doing, what are the go-arounds. Change and growth are waiting for you. Stay tuned!

In this episode, I discuss:

  • Who’s going to be your customer in three years
  • Creating your strategic canvas
  • Identifying key competing factors
  • Finding new market space you can capture
  • Looking for non-customers
  • Think from the buyer’s perspective backward
  • Who could use you who isn’t

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Get the full transcript of this Ask Andi episode here.