BusinessEntrepreneurship

RENDERING COMPETITION IRRELEVANT: BLUE OCEANS IN AFRICA

Does industry matter more than the right kind of skills and expertise? There are two school of thoughts, one that settles for a notion that an industry is the paramount determinant of an organisations performance and the other that supports the concept of firms being the main hinges of organisational performance, as the likes of Porter, McGahan and Rumelt battle it out to show whose lemonade tastes better with regards to which concept is factual, a third arrow shoots into the scene with empirical evidence that suggests neither the two ensures profitable growth. It’s an undeniable fact that the variance in profitability is rather due to a strategic move, one that ensures sustainable high performance and profitability. An organization’s core competencies and threshold capabilities and an industries lucrativeness aren’t enough to spearhead organizational growth and performance. But a set of appropriately designed managerial actions and decisions akin to creating a major market business offering is rather what defaces competition whiles guaranteeing organizational performance.

Value creation and delivery is a determining factor of organisational success and profitability, identifying things that customers want and finding ways to satisfy them is a strategic move which stipulates that organisational performance is dictated by a firm’s ability to draw cards and effectively strategize to create an uncontested market rather than meeting competition head on to gain majority holdings in a market with limited resources. But again how do businesses especially start-ups compete in a turbulent competitive industry and still survive or even outgrow its competitors?

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Blue Ocean Strategy by W, Chan Kim, and Renee Mauborgne highlights how to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant. How do I succeed in a hyper-competitive market? Most start-ups are bedeviled with a plague that sends them early parking as soon as they unpack. There is a correlation between Blue Ocean and strategic gaps. Before a Blue Ocean strategy could be effectively implemented, a company must first identify and assess the strategic gaps that lie within the industry and how appropriately it could be used to establish temporal monopolies and uncontested market space.
DIYlaw and DabaDoc are examples of Blue Oceans on the African continent. DIYlaw a successful legal online service provider based in Nigeria is run by a trio of classy young female lawyers. DIYlaw reinvents the legal service stage with an online based platform that seeks to slay the bureaucracy that sterns from the documentation and registration of companies in Nigeria. Providing of legal services via an online portal is nothing new in the developed world but in Africa, it’s currently new oil fields yet to be tapped. DIYlaw has literally created a new uncontested market space. Regardless of the numerous law firms, it’s been able to carve a niche by specifically targeting start-ups seeking to register their companies with less stress. With outstretched internet access in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, DIYlaw can conveniently reach more customers, whiles enjoying a monopoly over time. Well if the industry becomes lucrative it’s certain that more companies will join the bus but first movers always stay ahead of the competition. Economies of scale and an experience curve would be an utmost competitive edge even when the industry becomes saturated with other law firms migrating onto to an online platform or providing substitutable services. DIYlaw’s ability to identify strategic gaps within the legal service has totally sprouted a uniquely different industry which is uncontested.

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DabaDoc is currently the largest medical online booking platform on the African continent that links patients to qualified vetted doctors in Morocco. With just a click a patient can book a doctor’s appointment. Patients are allowed to choose doctors based on their preference by a making available detailed insights and photos of doctors in their locale, patients are practically in charge of the services DabaDoc provide. DabaDoc identified challenges and loopholes within the health sector in Morocco and designed a user-friendly system that helps to bridge the patient doctor relationship. Apparently, it enjoys monopoly within this sector, it’s one of a kind on the continent. Thus DabaDoc’s uncontested fields will eventually win out when other intruders identify this newly created industry as attractive. By then DabaDoc would have exploited the market and gained economies of scale made available by intensive market research and development.

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We are told in school that competition is a good tool to ensure creativity and innovation but the truth is, it’s the arrow shooting down most companies. Carving a niche and staying off competition is most appropriately the strategic move that ensures success. Create value by identifying specifically what customers want and find inventive ways to provide them at a price they would be willing to pay. But most importantly identify strategic gaps within your industry and go for it, it’s the only way you can render competition irrelevant and ensure organizational success.

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