Blue Ocean Strategy Alternative: How to Find and Build Your Microniche

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Do those people still exist in a business world who has never heard about the Red and Blue oceans concept? Entrepreneurs greedily swallow tons of information on blue ocean strategyand study inspiring examples of companies that managed to create their market with the hope to find a hint or (and) a magic pill to be encouraged to repeat the success.

Though knowledge about what other businesses did can give you a bit of insight and a general understanding of the direction, needless to say, it won’t show you your path. And here is the main trick – to enter the blue ocean, you should change your mindset and see the opportunities that no one has seen before. You even can question the blue ocean idea itself and think – why not turn it into the Blue Sea instead?

Blue Sea concept

It can be a kind of alternative to the blue ocean strategy when, instead of searching for a new ocean, you can find your small space within the Blue sea, a far cry from the bloody waters of vicious competition. That safe place may become your business “nursery” and the creative laboratory where you will test your business idea and prepare necessary resources for future expansion.

How to find your Blue sea

To create a unique niche, you shouldn’t necessarily build a totally innovative product. Truth be told, nowadays it’s rather hard to invent something that new to disrupt the market. What if you don’t have a powerful R&D team and your second name is not Steve Jobs? However, by being persistent, attentive, and open-minded, you have all chances to succeed. At the end of the day, all companies that you know now as innovators in their niche started from a small try.

Here are some tips on finding your “blue sea” idea, which may eventually turn into a successful blue ocean strategy.

Analyze your industry

You should have an understanding of market volume, growth dynamics, and future trends. Investigate industry analysts’ forecasts and learn whether they predict market shrinking or growth. Check what your competitors are doing and what products they’re focusing on. You don’t need to blindly copy their steps (as copying is quite far from innovation, isn’t it?), but it wouldn’t hurt to be aware of what direction they’re looking at. Do this exercise not only for the industry you currently operate in but also for the realms you can potentially penetrate with your product.

Find out the underserved customers needs

Even though Uber, a ride-hailing company, didn’t invent a new product, they totally changed the way the transportation industry worked. The company eliminated the car booking inconveniences and significantly improved customer service by implementing in-app bookings and the possibility to rate drivers. Uber discovered the problems people have when using taxi services and offered a solution that put the beginning of a new era in the transport sector.

Where can you find what your potential customers may need? Customer review sites, forums, and communities – these are the bottomless sources of valuable information to get precious business insights. The main problem of many businesses is they don’t think as their potential customers do. They don’t fully realize customers’ issues, they don’t speak their customers’ language, and they can’t discern customers’ needs. Distill the pain your audience has, and think about how you can mitigate it.

Elaborate your product idea

To detach from competitors, you don’t necessarily need to add more features to your product and make it packed with rich functionality. Sometimes, less is better. For example, Canva, a digital tool for creating social media visual content, has much fewer features than Photoshop. However, this doesn’t make Canva’s service worse.

Canva satisfies its target audience’s needs and helps customers build social media visuals quickly and easily. This tool is welcomed by those who want to access hundreds of customizable ready-to-use templates rather than spend time designing their creatives for Instagram stories and posts.

Build your microniche

This point is crucial. It’s okay if you have ambitious plans to have millions of customers all over the world. However, to validate your new idea, you’d better start from the Minimum Viable Audience, who will bring you first sales and give precious feedback based on which you’ll keep growing your product.

There is one more critical thing to mention. The better you understand your audience, the more on-point solution to a selected customers’ problem you provide, the higher price you can put for your product in the future.

Curves, one of the worlds’ most franchised fitness centers, concentrated only on women who had limited time for their workout but wanted to lose weight or just keep fit and attend group fitness classes. Curves created a 30-minute training session for this target audience from low to high intensity with one-on-one counseling. Curves’ business model offered an alternative to a home workout accompanied by video lessons and got millions of adopters in more than 44 countries worldwide.

Create demand for your product or service

People tend to be careful or even opposite to everything new they haven’t experienced before. Introducing a brand new idea to the market, your goal is to gradually tame customers by demonstrating what benefits they will get using your product and how your offering may change their lives for the better. Netflix, a subscription-based video streaming service, became one of the blue ocean strategies early adopters. They made watching movies much more effortless and enjoyable. Netflix eliminated the necessity to go to the DVD store to get a new film. Just pay a monthly subscription fee and get access to a huge collection of movies available online without leaving your home. No wonder that Netflix gained world-wide popularity very quickly and inspired competitors to try implementing the same strategy.

As a conclusion

If you want to enter the blue ocean, start with finding your peaceful space in the blue sea first. Analyze your market and customers’ needs and find out what you can improve with your product. You may face an overnight success and wake up famous or you may be waiting for your idea to be accepted a couple of years or even decades. There is no “one fits all” recipe. Just do your best and what you think is meaningful.