It’s no doubt that entrepreneurs aren’t modest about their visions. They strive to go after their ambitious dreams and beyond. Many aim to start a business that is disruptive, innovative, and influential. But often, these start-ups get lost in the occupied ocean where other existing businesses are already getting the job done. And once you are trapped in the ocean full of competition and unique-but-not-really peeps, it might be difficult to break free and stand out.
But what if there’s an untouched ocean — a one without any competition at all?
Well, the good news is that there is!
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim is the perfect compass to set the sails towards success.
But what is Blue Ocean?
According to Kim and Mauborgne, in business, there are two types of markets: Red ocean and Blue ocean.
In Red ocean, businesses sail in the bloody water as they fight each other, competing aggressively to get customers’ attention.
“In Red ocean, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known.”
Blue ocean, on the other hand, represent the unknown waters where are no players other than the companies that create them.
“In Blue ocean, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set.”
So how does one pursue Blue Ocean?
You can discover the blue either by pushing the boundaries of an existing market or creating an entirely new market space. Either way, the four-actions framework will be your north star:
Raise: What factors should be raised well above the industry standard?
Eliminate: Which factors that the industry has long competed on should be eliminated?
Reduce: Which factors should be reduced well below the industry’s standard?
Create: Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered?
Answering these questions will help shift entrepreneurs’ focus away from simply making a profit and gets them thinking about how to build a business that lends itself to higher revenue.
For example, Canadian circus Cirque du Soleil redefined the world’s image of circuses by following these guidelines.
“Cirque du Soleil created a blue ocean and invented a new form of live entertainment, one that is marked different from traditional circus and theater. –Cirque du Soleil succeeded because it realized that to win in the future, companies must stop competing with each other. The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.”
In short, the essence of finding Blue Ocean hinges on creating value and taking it to the next level by a game-changing approach to competition. Once a company implements the Blue Ocean strategy, it gives the needed boost by opening new possibilities instead of getting stuck in the existing markets.
Author: Mimi Hla is a third-year Business Management student living in Mikkeli. For this summer, she will be working as a communication coordinator in our *ship team. With her curious mind, she is passionate about traveling and exploring the world.