Almost everything has become such normal that nothing appears as a surprise anymore! Even when we hear about some novelty, we used to say ‘what’s next?’ without experiencing the joy of that ‘new thing’. This is just because of the intensity and frequency of change.

On the other hand, the world we live in, has literally become a realm of ‘and’s’. While adding innovations, protecting the current ones; while living in physical worlds, indulging in the virtual one as wel… all are now intertwined. Yet, each has its own addressee. Now people want to access any service at any time, as much as he/she wants, from anywhere, just like at All-Inclusive Holiday Resorts.

As a matter of fact, living with ‘options’, furthermore with ‘scenarios’ is somehow essential.

As any equation may collapse at any moment, it can be risky to address the local market only or to work exclusively internationally; to stay with a limited product portfolio or vendor, and else…

While it is important to establish structures to manage businesses in a controlled manner, generating new ideas, and developing new products and services that will differentiate from competitors, and instilling them into the structure, the way of doing business, as we as the mentality, is a requirement of sustainability.

We want to be efficient… So, we must draw a road map for business, whilst being flexible and agile; we must delegate responsibilities and give freedom to our employees, whilst maintaining a good grasp of business and developments. Let us assume our operation is efficient, however it woud be a ‘big’ no-no if we forget to add value to our customers. We must keep our eyes and ears open so that we are aware of  ‘what is going on in the market, what are the competitors doing, are we in the right position?, etc.’ While doing all these, we should still be profitable and growing… It means, we need to find a silver bullet…

In order to survive in a realm of ‘and’s’, it rather seems reasonable to pick and adopt the ones that are most suitable for businesses, than referring to the ones offered by ‘science of management’ only. I want to share a truly impressive model and example:

In 2005, ‘Blue Ocean’ strategy, a book by W.C. Kim and R. Mauborgne, brought valuable contributions to management and business world. The Blue Ocean aims to create new, undiscovered, untouched niche markets; thus, it advocates isolating competition from focus. Is it possible? The story of Cirque du Soleil, which also performed in Istanbul several times in the past, is quite impressive. Cirque du Soleil was created in 1984 by a group of street performers. Today, it is one of the largest cultural export brands of Canada. Guy Laliberté, who once played accordion, walked on a crooked footrest and ate fire, is now the CEO of the Group. The Group has reached over 50 million spectators in over a hundred cities around the world. In a period of 20 years, with a success that could not be achieved in 100 years, it has reached the revenue levels of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the world’s number one circus. On top of that, due to the development of different forms of entertainment and increased reaction to animal use in shows, it was then in a shrinking industry, and the market was in the hands of a few major people.

So, what have they done? They have combined all the fun and excitement that a circus has to offer with all the finesse and artistic richness of the theatre. Clowns, for example, have been hired, but now their jokes were more elegant. The performances of the acrobats have been decorated with more aesthetic and have become more of a product of intelligence. The circus tents have been made more comfortable and visual. In many productions, performances, artistic music, dance have begun to be presented together with storytelling. They became a group that can attract many people from different age ranges. Inspired by Broadway, the group appears with a lot of different shows and productions before the spectators all year round. Besides, they are highly sensitive to environment. Naturally, in return, they want to get their just rewards. The Group asks for a much higher price than the industry of circus, as much as its spectators can afford to pay for the theatre. I would suggest you, at least, take a look at their website: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/.

This is examplery of developing a new market by creating a different segment within the current industry. It expands its spectators and offers a qualified content. It makes a difference and adds value to its customers by satisfying them; at the end of the day, expects getting a just deserts… The Group certainly deserves it… They are evolving constantly, year after year.

It may not be appropriate for everyone to develop a ‘Blue Ocean’ strategy. Nevertheless, we can start by asking the right questions, expanding the perspective, questioning ‘what can we do different and valuable’, creating options, exploring the possibilities…

Release: SME-EFOR August 2011