One of my favorite business books, alongside Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and Steve Jobs by Walt Isaacson, is Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne and part of Harvard Business Review Press. A blue ocean strategy enables a company to create uncontested market space. In a “red ocean,” or a sea of competitors, what is the one thing you offer to the market that no one else can offer? All businesses must have at least one thing that makes them the only, rather than the best. This is something I relentlessly work on with my clients. If all other things are equal between you and a competitor, what is the one thing that will tilt the scale in your favor?
So many business owners focus on what they do, rather than why they do it, and why a customer should work with them. Your experience is the one thing no one can ever minimize. The years of learning on the job, the perspectives you’ve gained in your successes and failures, and the best practices that you alone have cultivated all create your own unique Blue Ocean.
Clients work with me specifically because of my 20 years of hands-on business building, not because of a coaching certification. And while the successes are nice, it’s really the challenges and failures I’ve overcome that make me truly valuable. Experience is always our best teacher, and no low-cost strategy can ever trump this value proposition.
The trick is to make you comfortable with this strategy. How comfortable are you sharing your own value? Others will never value us more than we value ourselves
. They meet us at the standards we set for ourselves. If you diminish your own journey, you can not expect others to value it.
I’ll share three great client success stories, who are all swimming in their Blue Ocean.
Deborah Ginsburg, Founder and CEO of Strategia Design.
Strategia Design provides innovative design solutions through concept-to-shelf product consulting, branding, package design and collateral for the food service industry. Every time you pick up a consumer item, lots of thought has gone into its packaging and labeling. Deb brings more than a decade of amazing design & branding experience to every Strategia engagement. However, her blue ocean
is her decade of experience on the retail side. Deb has been her customer. She knows every detail of the pain-staking process that ultimately yields a finished consumer product. In her industry, things are about to get interesting. The FDA has mandated changes to nutritional labeling, and this is going to wreak havoc in all aspects of those affected. Deb’s experiences with these processes make her uniquely qualified
to lead these companies through the branding change. We are going to ensure Strategia is well-positioned to capitalize on the coming opportunities.
Jodi Sleeper-Tripplett, Founder and CEO of JST Coaching & Training.
JST is the leading coaching provider for children and young adults with ADHD, and the leading training provider for ADHD coaches around the world. More than 800 coaches have been JST-certified. The ADHD coaching industry is very hot right now. “Experts” are everywhere, and they are trying to cash in on the ADHD epidemic in our country. Jodi has been working with the youth population for more than 35 years. She has conducted landmark studies, and is internationally known. Her blue ocean
is that she is founder of the ADHD youth coaching movement. There is Jodi, and then there is everyone else.
Bonnie Low-Kramen, Founder and CEO of Ultimate Assistant, and author of Be The Ultimate Assistant. Bonnie was the personal assistant to Olympia Dukakis for more than 25 years. She is now the #1 expert in Executive-EA relationships, and travels globally to help Fortune 500 organizations maximize this critical connection. Bonnie’s blue ocean is her entire career. There are other “experts” that promote similar services, hold webinars & trainings, and write blogs, but no one brings the depth of experience that Bonnie has. She is the one that all others follow.
It’s so easy to lose sight of our own value as we try to move our goals forward. Everything that we’ve accomplished and endured has led us to exactly where we are right now. In the business world, our journeys are important competitive differentiators.
How well are you defining your own blue ocean?
I’d love to hear how you use your experiences to differentiate yourself. Remember that you alone set the standard for how the world will value you.
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About Successful Culture
We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.
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Connect with me on Instragram, Facebook, and Twitter. Engage with me during my morning Periscope sessions as well (@marissalevin).
Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
– In my latest Inc, article, I share The Essential Guide to Avoiding Workplace Text, Email, & Social Media Disasters.
– Learn about the 9 Leadership Behaviors that Lose Employee Trust & Respect here.
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”