New markets are closer than you realize

Often times a company owner or solopreneur believes that their core offerings or core business aren’t sufficient to find new markets or new customers. They end up in the trap of price reductions, reduced margins, or moving to a premium offering that doesn’t sell. They venture far away from their core expertise or the core expertise of their team.

Red Ocean Trap TwoRed ocean trap two is a challenging one. I get it. Your customers have vanished, your service or product isn’t selling and what to do?

There are processes in place that allow you to take some control. Think about some tangible examples.

Casella wines was in the wine business prior to their launch of Yellowtail wines. Yellowtail’s blue ocean success didn’t come from a company that was out of the wine business, it came from a wine enterprise that understood the hurdles inherent in purchasing wine. They understood enough about the challenges facing the typical wine buyer to leverage new branding, narrative, and marketing so as to challenge the previously intimidating methods of buying and discovering wine.

Think of current technology companies and online education firms that are now leveraging platforms in new ways thanks to the Covid-19 lock downs.

Perhaps you’re a solopreneur and you are stuck after having recently been released or furloughed. First, I acknowledge that this is a tough time. One has to transcend certain emotional challenges to get the head right in order to do what is needed to move forward and it can be very hard. I’ll lay out a process that allows you to at least begin to make a move forward. Remember, inch by inch, it’s a cinch, yard by yard, it’s hard.

Step One: Assess your current skills. If you’re a company, assess your offerings. As an individual, I recommend a quick profile build using one of the freelance platforms such as Guru.com or Upwork.com. The process of assessing your skills leads generally to the realization that you know more than you think you do. As a company, until you revisit your products or services, you can’t leverage great Blue Ocean Strategy tools like the six paths framework without knowing all the details about your product or service.

six paths framework

Step Two: Overlay these skills or offerings over other industries needs and offerings. Look for overlaps. Look for ways your skills, products, and services solve problems inherent in those industries.

Step Three: When you discover some possible ways to assist, pick up the phone and start talking to people. Start asking, “Is this the problem it appears to be?” “Is my thinking about this shortcoming in your industry being served this way, with my skill, service, or offering, on track?”

If you can afford to do so, offer the solution free of charge initially. If you can prove your solution works, then you can begin to productize the offering, product, or service and establish the right price.

If you have any questions about this process, consider a free call. I’ll be glad to discuss your thoughts through the lens of Blue Ocean Strategy. You may set up your zoom session here.