Are you thinking about writing yet another Business Plan with the intention to grow revenue? If you work like most organizations, you will look at best-practice, analytics, CRM reports and KPIs, possibly taking industry analyst views into account. The eye is firmly set on comparison with the closest competitors together with customer satisfaction or NPS scores.


The outcome is mostly the same, in fact you probably knew it before it was documented. Do more with less! Where can we cut cost to maintain margin? Where do we invest to maintain competitive? We must improve the customer experience! The topic of Innovation may come up, but retention of existing revenue sources and new business growth take priority. As long there is no crisis – why upset the applecart?

“As much as a traditional approach is common sense, it just doesn’t take the business forward. The contrary is the case. It keeps you in the “me-too” game – a holding pattern until crises hits. “

Looking at established KPIs and competition doesn’t challenge the status quo. The pursuit of “Best Practise” keeps us in the same old competitive playground and drives markets into commoditization. Listening to industry analysts just re-enforces what we know already and doesn’t take us outside the nine dots. Doing things a little bit better or faster for a little bit less keeps us in the hamster wheel, – or as Blue Ocean Strategy would call it – competing in a Red Ocean.

How would it be if you get into a different mindset ? How could you use a methodology such as Blue Ocean Strategy for Value Innovation in your existing business – or use Design Thinking tools to foster broader teaming ?

Why? You look at your business from fresh perspectives, you gain more clarity of your situation today, you identify opportunities for both – improving current business – and possibly identifying gold nuggets for innovation initiatives.

There is nothing like bringing it back to the basics: How you create value for your customer – better than your competitor AND bring home profit.  

1 Focus on the Big Picture – Going beyond analysis paralysis back to Value Proposition

Stepping back and allowing yourself to look at the big picture in your industry will challenge your assumptions, crystalize your position in the market and point to opportunities.

Here the BOS Strategy Canvas and Customer Experience Cycle brings lazersharp clarity into your current market position.

It forces your team to move from “We do this ….and We do that…” to what value it brings to the customer. Otherwise you stay locked in the me-too game.

If you have not reviewed your Value Proposition for more than 6-9 months – it’s probably time.

 2 Protecting Profit – Value up AND Cost down

Traditional strategy thinking forces a choice between expensive differentiation OR low-cost volume markets. Blue Ocean Strategy thinking pursues the opposite, the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation AND low cost. The hallmark of successful breakthrough strategies.

The Business Model Canvas is also a great tool to keep everything in the right context, encourage collaboration and think about what the impact of change.

3 Play to your strength – Powerful Differentiation

Finding your high ground to compete on and out-position the competition is essential for any business plan. Moving from feature-function-price comparison to focusing on customer value creation will free your thinking from incremental improvements to true differentiation.

Warning!!! Differentiation in itself is meaningless unless it is valuable enough for the customer to make the decision for you. The question stands: when was the last time your leadership evaluated what matters most to your customers AND how to stack-up against the competition?

4 From “Why me” to “Why not me” – Challenging unhealthy assumptions

Every planning session I have ever attended circles around the “why me” question.

Our customers force the question upon us when we go into sales mode. When you turn it around and ask “why not” – a whole new world opens up that not only identifies latent opportunities for value creation which will help you compete more effectively, but also often deliver “aha-moments” and fresh insights for innovative ideas.

 5 Built in Execution – How to get things done.

Hand on heart: how many plans have been written in your business that have never been executed? Translating strategy into an action plan is hard. Implementing it even harder. Managing change while running BAU is difficult.

Turning a Strategy into a Business Plan is challenging. Turning it all into an Action Plan that aligns everything from Strategy, through to the frontline is hard and complex. Execution capacity and scope MUST be part of strategy to bring it alive.

I have applied for over 10 years different aspects of Blue Ocean Strategy Methodology in many different companies, different industries and different situations. It has proven to be flexible, efficient and meaningful in every context. Design Thinking tools are powerful and highly complementary to bring the focus back to the customer.

It never replaces traditional business planning entirely, however it creates an energized environment and provides a structured, fast process to go beyond the mundane planning and create remarkable value for the future of your business.

If you would like to explore a fresh look at Business Planning, I would love to hear from you. Simply contact me on +61401 147 493 or

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