Business Strategy Monday–Blue Ocean and Value Curves


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(1) Blue ocean: A strategy that results in little competition

It’s difficult to find a blue ocean in the banking industry.

(2) Value Curve: A list of things important in your industry and how your company feels about them.

Our value curve is the same as our competition, so it’s difficult to succeed.

(3) Competition: Business that wants the same revenue as you.

There’s not a lot of competition for Mexican restaurants in Korea.



1. What might be a blue ocean strategy?

a. Opening a restaurant in a crowded city?

b. Selling ice-cream in the summer

c. Selling ice-cream in the winter

2. What does a restaurant in the downtown area probably value?

a. Location and Taste

b. Price and Taste

c. Taste and Price

3. What does a restaurant with low prices probably value?

a. Location and Taste

b. Price and Taste

c. Taste and Price

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Today, I’ll introduce blue ocean strategy and value curves. You’ll learn some ideas about strategy that can help your business. In future weeks, I’ll introduce some new companies that have used blue ocean strategy very well.

First, let’s start by making sure we understand what blue ocean and value curve mean. Usually when people say blue ocean they just mean an area that doesn’t have lot of competition. That’s true, but blue ocean isn’t actually a place. It’s not like you can just go to a country where your business doesn’t exist and hope to succeed. No, a blue ocean is a value curve that other businesses aren’t using.

A value curve is a graph of all the things that are important to your business. For your curve, you say how important each thing is. Here’s a very simple example.

Business: Selling hot dogs

Things on the curve: Price, location, taste

Your value curve could look like this: Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 9.46.04 AM

Or like this: Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 9.46.46 AM

In the first example, price isn’t very important to you. The price of your hot dogs is quite high. But, you probably have to pay to get a good location and your hot dogs taste great, so you pay more for ingredients.

In the second example, price and taste are very important to you. You want to be better than your competitors in those areas. But you don’t really care about location.

Restaurants use variations of these strategies all the time. Some places have great food and low prices, but the location is bad. Others have great food and a good location, but the price is expensive. There are many options.

The secret of blue ocean strategy is finding a good value curve that other companies aren’t using.

But this is just a simple example. Next week, I’ll show you American Giant and explain why their blue ocean strategy is so great.

Want to study Business English? Check out the main site for our lessons.

Want to learn more about blue ocean strategy? Click here.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, B


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