Blue Ocean Strategy comes from a book of the same name. At its core, the approach is about not slugging it out in the industry niche you are currently in.
A Red Ocean is filled with sharks, competition and blood.
Instead looking to create a new market space with little or no competition (wide open Blue Ocean). You don’t worry about your competition since you seek to create something so innovative you have no competitors.
When I was growing up, circuses were still a “happening.” I recall the excitement as a kid seeing the “Big Top”: the clowns, the lions, the elephants. My kids? They never went. The circus industry seemed old and tired by the time my kids were old enough to be interested. I would look at the circus and conclude that it’s pretty much a lousy industry to be in. Dead.
Unless you are Cirque du Soleil. They took the concept of a circus, shifted who they marketed it to (adults instead of kids and families), added theater to it, subtracted the animals (what a crazy thought, no animals at a circus!) and in a move that P.T. Barnum would have been envious of, turned a dying industry on its head and created a $750 million dollar business.
Curves did the same thing in the fitness market. Fitness clubs that offer everything to everyone are everywhere. Curves went Blue Ocean and opened clubs only for women, and specifically women who struggled with regular gym membership. Bingo: $2 billion dollar company is born.
To ‘go Blue Ocean’ is value creation and re-invention of the highest order and I’m not suggesting that this is something you’ll likely come up with in an afternoon. But it’s worth the effort to stretch your brain and try. You may not completely re-invent your industry, but you could come up with just enough to tilt the game in your favor.
I’ll offer one small suggestion to help you think about your business in a Blue Ocean way: look at great businesses outside your industry and see what you might be able to steal.