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Why Do You Miss Opportunities?

 

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April 18, 2019

Why Do You Miss Opportunities?

Arguably, the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan his success to his failures — the 9000-plus  missed shots, 300 lost games, and over 24 clutch game losing shots.     

Fear of failure is no novel concept, one which we, in the start up world discuss ad nauseum.  We often talk about the impact of big failures — bankrupt ventures, whole market rejections of products, or catastrophic hiring decisions to name a few. 

Remember that connection with whom you failed to follow up, the grant you didn’t submit, or the funding you didn’t receive? More common and universal to the entrepreneurial experience are the small losses, the shortfalls and missed opportunities. 

Instead of accepting that maybe the opportunity missed wasn’t meant for me or my business, we pose natural questions of reflection such as: How can we improve ? Where and how did things go wrong?

However, consider adding to you post mortem inquiry: was the opportunity in a red or blue ocean?  If you missed it, the chances are the former.  If the latter, there’s still time for a pivot.

This may seem like a strange question if you’re not familiar with the famed Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by Kim and Mauborgne.  The reality is the decision to pursue a blue or red ocean strategy will affect outcomes just as much as, if not more, than process and execution.

The Road Less Travelled (or Not Travelled At All).    If you’ve ever navigated I-95 traffic during an accident, then you understand the value of the express lanes (even if the price jumps to a exorbitant $10 toll).  But, finding your blue ocean is less about staying ahead of the curve, or fast tracking to a common destination, then avoiding the highway all together.  From the Fort Model T, iTunes,  Southwest Airlines, and Cirque du Soleil, to our local Chewy.com or Magic Leap— these examples of blue ocean strategies demonstrate the power of differentiation.  Ultimately, its about creating demand rather than fighting others for it.  The key here is to be so different, the competition disappears.  If a customer compares your product to the likely competition as “apples to oranges,” then you’re probably operating in a blue ocean. 

The Sweetest Thing. The Food Network airs a program in which chefs and celebrities describe The Best Thing I Ever Ate. What’s fascinating to observe is the intense facial expressions and level of detail that accompany each explanation.  Have you ever discovered a restaurant that had the BEST dessert item?  Like the kind that would have you driving across town, in rush hour traffic, just to make sure you get your weekly fix? (at this moment, it’s a deliciously unique pistachio latte from Dose Cafe).  When consumer purchasing behavior in relation to your product straddles the line of “just a bit crazy,” you’re moving the right direction. 

What The Heart Wants. In discussing India’s meteoric rise over a relatively short period of time from a country with little competitiveness in core industries, or technology, to a world leader in information technology valued at approximately $225 BN, Padmaja Puparel, co-founder of Indian Angel Network observes that  “the IT industry rebuilt India’s self confidence.”  In our quest to create and capture new demand from consumers ought now avoid matters of the heart.   People are creatures driven by connection, emotion and values.  The motivation factors for brand loyalty are not always driven by logic.  By asking what really matters?  We are able to identify and solve problems that people may not realize they have.

Cheers,

Venture Cafe Miami

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