Creating blue oceans for solopreneurs. In chapter one of Blue Ocean Strategy|How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competiton Irrelevant, the authors discuss the underlying premise for creating blue oceans. My work involves translating this important work.
In the book’s first case study, Cirque du Soleil is described as a company that created new uncontested market space by ignoring conventional market or industry boundaries.
In doing so, they didn’t benchmark themselves against competitors in traditional circus productions or conventional theater tours. They broke the value-cost trade-off and lowered production cost while simultaneously increasing customer value.
Value innovation is the heart of blue ocean strategy and it serves to drive profitable growth. Be mindful that Cirque du Soleil started as a street team. As mentioned in a post that started this series, solopreneurs may be solely responsible for results but they seldom work alone. Who is on your street team?
Blue oceans are not traditionally defined. Market boundaries and traditional definitions of industry norms don’t have to apply. When you launch or grow your solopreneurship journey, you are not bound by competitive norms. If you’re doing tutoring, for example, don’t just look at what tutors are currently doing and attempt to do those things better, cheaper, or faster.
Instead, follow along with this series and learn how to systematically ask different questions that lead to added value to consumers while lowering your costs to do so. This is we will create blue oceans for solopreneurs.
Creating blue oceans for solopreneurs
Corporate strategy gleans its history from military strategy. Consider all the military analogies in traditional strategic lingo. “Officers”, “troops”, “frontlines”, “trenches”, and “beachhead” to name a few. To completely adopt this view of strategic thinking is to also adopt the constraints of military victories and their risks of defeat. It’s all about limited terrain and the need to beat the enemy to succeed.
The solopreneur’s use of blue ocean strategic frameworks is more important than large operations for numerous reasons. With a view toward breaking the value-cost trade-off and disregarding the competition, the solopreneur’s ability to innovate is more likely. A glance at Clay Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma is worth the time if you need inspiration in this area.
Let me share a tangible example. In a recent Value Innovator’s Show interview, The Blue Ocean Strategist interviewed solopreneur Terry Lancaster of Nashville, TN. Terry Lancaster’s history is in an industry built on bloody red oceans of competition. Innovation is a driver. Value innovation is not.
As Terry explains, once Craigslist disrupted the newspaper’s advertising model, the auto industry began to change. As players like eBay Motors and Carvana entered the market, millions of consumers started buying automobiles without utilizing a dealer. As those players became better, the value-cost trade-off was in play.
After the value-cost trade-off
Sellers of vehicles lowered costs while consumers experienced better value. Terry now works with an online aggregator of inventory selling any one of over 11,000 vehicles in inventory. The consumer’s choice is delivered to their driveway and they never once have to enter a dealership. That’s creating blue oceans for solopreneurs.
As a solopreneur remember this key takeaway from chapter one. A company or industry is NOT the best unit of analysis in determining profitable growth. Over time, the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy have found that a strategic move is the best unit of explaining growth.
You may now literally and figuratively reconstruct industry boundaries. Make up your own definitions of value. Ask consumers better questions than the industry has previously asked. Redefine your chosen industry’s value proposition using the tools you’ll learn to use within the bindings of the book and the reading of this series.
If this topic, leveraging blue ocean strategy, in your solopreneurial efforts is of interest, join us on the journey. Email me directly on the contact form and be part of the first cohort.
Stay tuned to our next post. We’ll start digging into analytical tools and frameworks.