Cheryl offers: My friend Bob Morris recently loaned me the book Women Want More by Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre, two consultants who are making a mint being experts on what women want and how/where they are willing to spend their money. Did you know the female economy was larger than the estimated GDP of India and China combined over the next 5 years? Well, it is and by a large proportion. One quote seems to sum it up “The rise of the worldwide female economy will challenge assumptions about how companies do research, how they develop products, how they sell merchandise, and how they add services to their value proposition.”
It seems some homebuilders have followed their advice by designing and building “WOMEN-CENTRIC” homes. Kim Sliney, a 46-year-old interior designer in Rhode Island turned down 37 houses while looking for a new home; she almost gave up…until she drove past a development advertising WOMEN-CENTRIC homes. What does that mean you ask? Instead of the run of the mill jumble of rooms and space, she purchased a home with killer walk-in closets(sigh), spacious open living areas, and custom details like crown molding, granite countertops, and a gas fireplace – all at no extra cost. What else might it include? The other details a woman might want of course: security system, walk in pantries and “drop zones” for groceries, plus low maintenance. It seems there is a company in Omaha that has been teaching and certifying home builders to be WOMEN-CENTRIC for several years. (Really, in Omaha?) For a measly $10,000 a year, you can also use their logo in your marketing. Michael and Kate aren’t kidding when they stated the female economy will challenge assumptions. Obviously for anyone looking to expand their business into new markets, innovate, or challenge competition differently, this is one aspect worth looking into. And I want one!
It’s crowded out there. Everyone feels some form of competition breathing down their back. In the imagery made popular by the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy, we work in too many “red oceans,” with too many people trying to reach the same customers/clients.
The solution – a blue ocean strategy. Here are a few key quotes from the book:
Cirque du Soleil succeeded because it realized that to win in the future, companies must stop competing with each other. The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.
Blue oceans are defined by untapped market space, demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth.
In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set.
In increasing numbers of industries, supply exceeds demand. The business environment in which most strategy and management approaches of the twentieth century evolved is increasingly disappearing. As red oceans become increasingly bloody, management will need to be more concerned with blue oceans than the current cohort of managers is accustomed to.
Here’s the strategy – create new markets. Competing for old ones is a “yesterday” strategy. Create your own markets in brand new territory – this is the blue ocean strategy.
• Red Ocean vs. Blue Ocean Strategy
Red Ocean Strategy Blue Ocean Strategy Compete in existing market space Create uncontested market space Beat the competition Make the competition irrelevant Exploit existing demand Create and capture new demand Make the value-cost trade-off Break the value-cost trade-off Align the whole system of a firm’s activities with its strategic choice of differentiation or low cost Align the whole system of a firm’s activities in pursuit of differentiation and low cost
Seldom have I felt people as ready to put the past year/the past decade behind them. We long for a new start. A new start – a blue ocean – for a new year and a new decade. For the new year, I ask a simple question – what is your blue ocean strategy for 2010?
You can purchase my synopsis of Blue Ocean Strategy, with audio + handout, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.