Where Is Your Blue Water?

It has been nine years since W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne published the book Blue Ocean Strategy and yet relatively few are utilizing the information. In fact, we are amazed that such a revolutionary concept has not been more widely adopted by the business community and we are always surprised when an entrepreneur has no idea what business strategy that we are referring to. In simple terms: Red water is where everyone else is fishing. The water is bloody. Everyone is going after the same fish and there is carnage on the high seas. Blue water is going after a market where there are no or few competitors. You have clean water, crisp air and more fun doing what you do.

Where would you like to spend your time fishing?

We work daily with SMBs and we have seen the consistent and disturbing trend to stick to the status quo in every industry. We see business coaches, financial institutions, and mentors encouraging business owners to “stay with what works.” However when 80% of new businesses fail in the first 5 years, how can you confidently be doing what everyone else is doing? Doing the norm will bring you a high rate of failure.

While it is good to know what your market is doing, attempting to compete in an existing overly competitive market is foolhardy. One needs to get outside of the market and create a new market space. Thought has to go into creating value in such a way that it takes you beyond the norm in your industry.

The Blue Ocean Strategy is simple. Red water is full of sharks (competitors) who are feeding on the masses and tearing them apart. They are going for the blood in the water and fighting over the scraps. While everyone is trying to get to the fish first and over-fishing the waters the competitors are more and more struggling to make the same amount of profit on a dwindling reserve of consumers.

The concept of blue water is that it is miles ahead of the red water. It is where you went when you dreamed up new ideas to offer to your clients and you have now so far removed yourself from the space of your competitors that they are long gone from your sight. They are no longer a threat to you. In fact, you feel almost benevolent towards them because they are no longer your competitors. You are in a new league of your own where there are lots of big, healthy fish. You have a commitment to innovation so you will stay there. It is true that eventually your competitors will swim by and they may even figure out what you are doing, but by the time that they get into your waters, you have moved out further into more new markets with other innovative ideas and they can’t catch up.

Yes the negative people in your life will always be there to remind you that you are not that special and that you cannot stay unique forever. Perhaps if you stop thinking ahead they may be right, but the book is not written on you yet!

Facebook History

When Facebook was new it was fresh, exciting and thrilling blue water. Then many competitors came. It looked like they may become less so that others would become more. However at the time of this writing they are still consistently doing three to four times the numbers of any other social media channels. They have changed how they look at businesses. They have added advertising and search features. They have made alliances and bought out competitors and kept moving further and further into the blue water. Who knows where the future will take them?

We love to use MasterMind sessions to dream up new and exciting ways to get outside of our current market and grow into something fresh and delightful. We love to do it with our companies as well as with the dozens of business owners that we work with in the business network. It is absolutely amazing to find someone who was struggling to just get by suddenly seeing themselves with a much larger vision. Looking for Blue Water Strategies keeps us and them ahead of competitors. We do this by asking a series of questions and brainstorming helps us gain a new perspective:

  1. Where is your current market and who is presently your ideal client?
  2. What is currently being offered to customers and at what price?
  3. How can we add value in a way that would differentiate us from our competitors?
  4. What else does my client need that is currently not being offered to them by anyone?
  5. If money, time, or resources were not a factor, what would I want to offer my clients? How big would this be?
  6. Could I offer these packages locally, regionally, or worldwide?
  7. Am I leaving money on the table for my competitors? What can I be doing differently in the big picture?

Google History

Staying ahead of the trend is also important. Consider the Yellow Pages. 15 years ago they owned the directory market. They had massive sales teams and their service was at a premium price. It seemed that their world would never end. Some businesses had purchased adds in advance for the next 10 years. Imagine being tied into that now! A simple little thing called the internet came along and displaced all of those ad workers. Why? Because instead of looking ahead and building the ultimate online directory and owning their own space they did not see the significance until it was too late and Google took over their market. Google swam out into the blue water and created a new way to be part of a directory and SEO was born. Now everyone is trying to swim to keep up with Google’s algorithm to have a place in the kingdom of directories!

So now, where is your blue water?

Who can you gather for a discussion, or a mastermind about reaching a brand new market that is completely untapped and untamed?