Thinking of starting a business? Let’s copy the model of an existing successful business plan. After all, who has the energy to think up of an idea that has never been practiced before? Very few entrepreneurs bring in revolutionary business ideas to the table and then succeed with sheer brains and determination.
Before you copy a current business model under the premise that it has already been tried and tested, understand that it is not necessarily going to succeed in your instance. For example, a dozen entrepreneurs, including you, are selling fruitcakes, but why should the prospects buy from you. What is so special about you? The taste and quality? Well, if not all, then at least a few of your competitors are surely delivering a delicious fruitcake as well.
That is where the blue ocean shift comes in, when you create a monopoly in the market by raising entry barriers for your competitors. In their book, Blue Ocean Strategy, Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne describe two types of oceans: Red Ocean and Blue Ocean.
A red ocean is flocked with cutthroat competitors, fighting for the market space and exploiting the existing demand. The entire firm’s activities hinge on its strategic choice between differentiation and low cost.
If you are tired of all the blood and gore in the red ocean, you can create your own uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant by creating new demand, consequently, migrating towards the blue ocean.
But how can you take on such a giant undertaking? Here are a few ways to go about it.
If you have innovated an idea, recipe, software, hardware, or anything, you must exercise the greatest secrecy. Patents, trademarks, copyrights, proprietary technology, and trade secrets are all the ways to protect your interests. Prevent others from replicating your design, unless of course, its replication benefits the society such as a medicine that cures a deadly disease.
In this way, you will be offering customers what no one else can. Coca colas and KFC’s success can be attributed to their well-kept secret recipes. Though Coca-cola today has its competitor as Pepsi, and many people can cook fried chicken similar to KFC’s, however, upon the inception of these companies decades ago, their trade secrets helped them establish as leaders in their markets. Moreover, these companies have delivered some greatest marketing hits by teasing the audience with their secret recipes and ingredients.
If your product is easily accessible than your competitor’s, customers are surely going to purchase yours. Even when your product is ordinary or high-priced as compared to your competitor’s, it is going to sell because you’re offering convenience that your busy customer desires.
With internet connectivity immersing into our lives, Amazon disrupted the traditional brick-and-mortar industry with its outstretched distribution network and established an indelible footprint. Your nearby store does not sell your favorite brand, or you want to avoid the hassle of driving to a store? Order it from Amazon.
Amazon is always working towards making the purchase of its products as convenient as possible. For example, upon utilizing its‘1-Click’ option, the product is instant en route to your address. Amazon’s one-hour delivery program is another example of how the retail giant is up for another revolution, this time in the e-commerce industry.
There’s the latest cell phone model launching soon, which you badly want. Unfortunately, the cell phone company does not have any plans to release its upgraded device in your country any time soon.
However, you see a retailer selling the enviable latest cell phone model in your country exclusively; you buy from it, and so does everyone else. Consequently, the retailer sells big and is well renowned among customers.
Amazon and Flipkart practice this tactic, particularly when there is a lot of hype around the product.
If you can find an international product from your industry that hasn’t been launched in your country yet, get in contact with that company and request exclusive rights to sell their product in your country.
Customers are the linchpin of every company since they decide whether your business is going to make or break. So, it is highly essential that you prioritize their happiness. Oft times we see customers giving bad reviews to a company, even though their offerings are of high quality. Bad Customer Service is usually the reason for such an ignoble rep.
Domino’s Pizza tastes just like any other pizza, but people highly prefer it because they believe Dominos values them. They have always kept their promise of making pizza orders free if they fail to deliver their piping hot pizza within 30 minutes to you.
Meanwhile, IKEA is not just any furniture store,it is an experience. Furniture can be acquired from anywhere, but people go to IKEA because the retailer keeps including elements to enhance its store experience such as in-store cafes and kids play centers.
These are just few of the strategies to get you started on accomplishing the blue ocean shift. While the applicability of each strategy may vary depending on the type of industry or business you have, the core concept remains the same: so valuable that your customer chooses you among hundreds of brands in a room. Consequently, you would have created a market space, which would be quite hard to challenge.
Your competitor is going to end up replicating your design eventually. To maintain the uncontested status, you need to keep bringing in innovative ideas and strategies.