Clearly strategy is important for all businesses and is not just reserved for big business corporations. As a team, strategy was one of our first conversations together. We all knew the importance of strategy and have been revising it and coming back to it in each of our meetings. But the reading of Magretta (2002) showed me that business models are not only different from strategy but are also just as important as a business strategy. Now that I am clear of the difference between the two, I am concerned at our lack of a business model. Although we all are on the same page and our business has been smooth flowing in the direction we have envisioned, this may have been luck instead of good decisions or planning on our part. When I reflect back onto the Magretta (2002) reading, it should not have revealed anything new to me as now I feel that it is just common sense that even if a business had the most amazing strategy but the business model is really terrible, it will not be successful. The same would happen in reverse. So as much as I believe in our (informal and implicit) business model, the one problem I would say that we made is not spending as much time planning our business model than our strategy. This is one thing that I would do differently if I were to start again.
Through learning about different types of strategies, I would say that our strategy definitely falls within trying to be different and entering in a blue ocean that Kim and Mauborgne (2004) describes. Through the practise rollovers, we learnt that the key for us to be successful is for us to try to be different. It is a risk in this game as we have no clue if others will be doing the same thing and our attempt at being different will actually end up being the common strategy. It is clear from reading Kim and Maubrogne (2004) that blue oceans are the most attractive place to be while leaving all other competitors in the red ocean. However I feel that in Mikes Bikes, it is difficult to be innovative with what bikes you create but nonetheless my team¿s strategy discussions have primarily been based around just this. The biggest difficulty we face it that it is hard to be innovative without knowing what other teams will do. As even if we thought our strategy was innovative and new, it could actually be a red ocean in disguise. Kim and Maubrogne (2004) was also interesting as it explained that although you may enter a blue ocean, that does not mean that it will stay that way such as automobiles and music recording. Getting yourself into that blue ocean is only half the effort, keeping it that way and always being ahead of your competitors is where the rest of your efforts must go. My goal is for us to not get lost in just focusing on the competition and how to battle for market share like Kim and Maubrogne (2002) advise against and instead to always try to differentiate ourselves and aim for a blue ocean.
After this week of readings and lectures I am definitely getting the feeling that business is like a game of chess. In Kim and Maubrogne (2002) they talk about the importance of focusing on your business and your competition from the perspective of the big picture. You must know the progress of your company and that of your competition and continually adjust yourself to accommodate changes in the environment to be successful. This to me sounds exactly like chess. To just focus on your business or just on competitors would be a mistake and I am glad that my team knew this from the beginning. I can understand how easy it would be to just focus on your own business or just on competitors within just that roll over but I try to always look at all the components. One of the best decisions we made was to plan long term enabling us to be able to know every decision we made was to reach that end goal but keeping it flexible to respond to competitors.
Let's hope I'm good at playing chess.
Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2002). Charting your company's future. Harvard Business Review, 80(6), 76--83
Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue ocean strategy. Harvard Business Review, 82(10), 75--84
Magretta, J. (2002). Why business models matter. Harvard Business Review, 80(5), 86--92