If you are a small business owner looking for ways to increase your customer base, you’re behind the 8 ball if you haven’t read Blue Ocean Strategy. If you haven’t read it, there’s a good chance you’re too busy to ready it. So, we’ll save you some time. Here’s a summary with the 5 key takeaways for small businesses like yours.
Think Differently: When it comes to strategizing, be it choosing your target audience or pricing products, the book urges you to think differently from your competition. After all, if you are doing the same thing they are doing, how will your results be any better? The authors talk about ‘value innovation’ which essentially means you need to identify how you can benefit currently unserved markets and customer groups, and offer them greater value. For example, if your competitors are focusing on cutting costs by not managing all customer support in-house, you could think differently and utilize affordable, outsourced call center services, thus creating a lasting positive impression for your callers. Blue ocean strategy is all about being able to capture new markets by ignoring the artificial boundaries defined by your competitors.
Test Your Ideas: The book offers a Strategy Canvas tool to stress test your ideas. Many times, small business owners who are passionate about an idea, invest time and resources into developing products that already exist or serve similar needs. So, it is essential that your strategy is tested and tweaked adequately to ensure that you are serving a need that is not being effectively addressed by your competitors. An ideal strategy should have focus, divergence and a compelling tagline.
Overcome Hurdles with Strong Leadership: Once you have developed a profitable model to increase your customer base by addressing newer and underserved market segments, your next challenge is execution. Most small businesses have great ideas but stumble when it comes to successful implementation. The book talks about the four hurdles of execution, of which ‘limited resources’ seems to be the most pressing concern. Tipping point leadership is the answer to overcoming these challenges. This means making decisions that will give you the most bang for your buck, and focusing on points of disproportionate positive influence. When it comes to customer service, it’s crucial to ensure that customers’ calls are answered promptly, and their questions answered correctly the first time around. The right customer service model can give you a leg up in that department.
As small business competition continues to expand, Blue Ocean Strategy is essential for customer growth and increased profitability.