Are you ready to dive into a blue ocean?
A red ocean, in the business world, is rife with sharks. The crimson colour is the bloodshed of competition and the hurt of companies sunk from an inability to hold their customer back from those with bigger teeth and wider nets. A red ocean is where the business masters look to dominate. They believe that if they can survive in a red ocean, they are King.
A Troublemaker doesn’t show any interest in bloodbaths. Instead a Troublemaker looks for blue oceans. This is the place where names are made. This is a place of new markets, innovation and branding. Blue oceans are hard work. They take genuine creativity, guts and a mindset of excellence. This is the true place of achievement. This is where the magic happens.
Let’s analyse Peter Thiel’s 7 Questions and see if you have what it takes to find a blue ocean.
The Engineering Question: Can you create breakthrough technology (vs. incremental improvement)?
A blue ocean starts by delivering something that doesn’t exist. Not just something better, something entirely new. A blue ocean involves finding the gap, that pocket of customers that the red ocean is ignoring and building a product or detailing a service, that is exclusively for them.
It takes a keen eye, a great knowledge of the market and innovation. It’s the Troublemakers ability to look at things from a whole new perspective, and think outside the box to find a solution to a problem that no one else is talking about.
The Timing Question: Is now the right time to start this particular business?
Every idea is a good idea, but is the timing right? Being ahead of your time is not necessarily a good thing if no one is willing to invest in what you have. You need to be in sync with your market.
Innovators (and Troublemakers) do ask that you stretch the mark a little, to expand awareness, knowledge and ability, and be willing to go outside your comfort zone.
The trick is in the measure of taking that step but not too far. You need to be going at a pace your market can keep up with.
Test your new product, get feedback, see if there is a thirst for what you have. Usually, when you are tapped into the energy of an innovative product you will find that you have the perfect product for the perfect timing. If it’s off, step back from your work and look again. It might be that you are trying too hard. Sometimes a little tweak or adjustment is required, or you might need to find a new audience, maybe the product is right but for the wrong avatar.
Other times you might just need to put it on a back burner and measure the water temperature to see the best time to launch. Don’t spend your time just waiting around though, create something new!
The Monopoly Question: Are you starting with a big share of a small market?
Your avatar is everything. So many times people want to sell to too many people. They lose the boutique feel, that uniqueness and quality of service.
When you try to be all things to all people, your message gets watered down and even the greatest product or service can lose impact and flavour. Make your blue ocean pinpoint fine.
Niche your niche and be proud of it!
It’s being able to cater to that one person that will allow your ocean to be sparkling clear. In this niche you can offer something no one else can. You provide something that is out of this world new.
What that gives your customer is an incredible experience. It’s above and beyond what they expected and it will be the blast that you need to gain momentum and get your product and brand known. By saying, ‘it’s only for a few people’ you create a demand and hunger that will catch on!
The People Question: Do you have the right team?
The right team will ensure your business grows. Employing people who are passionate, fearless and willing to break the rules will ensure you stay innovative, work around problems and maintain rapid growth.
A team that is built of people less than their leader will launch a product effectively into blue water but not be able to maintain it. Your customers will keep growing, you need to stay relevant.
Without a team, as an innovator you will experience burn out, high stress and the feeling of just keeping your head above water. You need to stay on your toes. You need to keep that water blue by adding, responding and making your work available to people who can help you.
Having a team to challenge you, bounce ideas off and stretch your own ability is the key to keeping your product favourable, flexible and edgy.
The Distribution Question: Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?
Are you playing to win? It might seem obvious – of course you are playing to win, what other way is there? The opposite of playing to win is playing not to lose. When you are playing your hand defensively in business, aiming not to lose, you’re comparing yourself with others and matching or ‘beating’ them at what they do by racing to the bottom.
That means more for less, quantity over quality; it’s creating what you can for the lowest dollar (bang for your buck) and delivery of your product or service suffers.
An aggressive player, a Troublemaker, is playing a hand that is so unique you can do what you like with it. You can charge what you feel it is worth, you can create a limited-edition product or service. The power stays with you and what you have designed it for. You do not need to match prices, match quality or beat anyone out there. You offer what you have and allow those who need it to come and get it. It’s trusting in yourself and your product or service with certainty, and standing by it.
The Durability Question: Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?
You are building a database through awareness, connection and authority.
When you launch your product, you need to have someone to launch it to. You already know who they are, where they hang out and what they will respond to. You have reached out to say, I’m here, I exist, get to know me because I’m one of you. You have added an extra layer to that that says, I know what I’m talking about. In doing this you establish a known market that you can work with for decades.
Cold sales are always a tough call, so rally your avatars, warm them up, get them informed and excited, then unleash. Great marketing strategies include, Q&A, blogs, freebies, face to face contact (i.e. related social events and network gatherings) and prompt, helpful response to enquires.
The Secret Question: Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?
This is hinted above with team, however, it’s important to know just how vital flexibility is. Nothing will age faster than your business plan. It’s a glorified paperweight that will become irrelevant as soon as you launch your business.
You being in the market changes everything, so make sure you have identified a need that nobody else has seen yet. Customers respond, competitors respond, and at the same time everything else is in constant motion, finances, trends, local and international influences, health data, budgets, environmental data.
Be flexible enough to roll with the punches, stay in touch with your customers and potential new customers, learn from troublemaking professionals. The worst thing you can do is launch and say, “I am successful.” You will continue to be challenged, you will continue to move if you want to grow. You will constantly learn and invest that learning back into your business. This is a lifelong endeavour. So be sure you and your business are ready to go the distance.
Finding Your Peter Thiel Blue Ocean
The Blue Ocean is about seeking that gap, the customers who are being ignored, the piece of the puzzle that is sitting bare. While the sharks scrap for the remainder of the big market, you are fishing in a small haven of quiet and calm, where your customers will show gratitude, respect and willingness simply because you bothered to pay them attention.
At The Disruption Tour, we teach you how to use your passion to find a blue ocean, uncover a niche, design a product for a need and have a huge amount of fun in the process.
See you there!