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An Introduction To The Blue Ocean Strategy

strategy

The importance of business strategy simply cannot be underestimated. Without strategic direction, you are essentially operating without vision. Strategy is the basis for everything your company does as it generates a context for all operating decisions. It offers guidance in everything from company structure and priority of initiatives, to the position of marketing and the skills needed by your employees.

Strategy is the basis for everything your company does as it generates a context for all operating decisions.

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Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue ocean strategy is one that is being embraced by many organisations and strategy consultants. Other strategies are heavily focused on contending with your competition in the industry, whilst those who implement blue ocean thinking compete against no one but themselves.

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Before delving into the mechanics of this strategy, it’s important to acknowledge where it derives from. Blue ocean strategy is a theory offered by Renee Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim. This book was published in 2005.

Red Ocean Strategy

It presents businesses with an alternative strategy for red ocean thinking. Red ocean strategy involves basing your decisions on your competition, i.e. looking for ways to fight against them for a share of the marketplace. However, W. Chan Kim and Renee Maulborgne believe that organisations will not succeed by battling against one and other.

Professionals like James Arthur Ray have carved success by focusing on themselves and not others. Instead, they state that the key to success is by systematically creating ‘blue oceans’ of uncontested market space ripe for growth. By operating in this manner, competition becomes irrelevant.

Implementing

To implement a blue ocean strategic direction, one of the most important things you need to do is create a new value curve for your business. How do you achieve this? The authors recommended using a ‘Four Actions Framework’ to break the trade-off between low cost and differentiation.

“To paraphrase the 7 Ps, an old British military adage: “Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Pretty Poor Performance” (you can probably guess which word has been changed). It isn’t just a useful philosophy for military planning. It works with everything you can imagine: work, planning a holiday, poker and a job interview.”

Firstly, you must deal with raise and reduction. You need to determine what factors you should raise high above the standard in your industry, yet you must also decide what factors you are going to lower well below the standard in your industry. Secondly, you need to deal with creation and elimination. Decipher what factors to eliminate that the industry has long competed with. Moreover, determine what factors to create that the industry has never offered. This gives you the framework you need to find uncontested market space.

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Nonetheless, answering these questions is no easy task. You need to assess each and every facet of what the industry competes on. This is why seeking the help of expert strategy consultants comes highly recommended. You need consultants who can guide your leadership team through blue ocean thinking and can effectively implement this type of strategy.

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