War. War never changes. History has taught us the cruelties and atrocities of war, and how we can never live together without spilling bloodshed. I am just one of many individuals who respect every person that wears a uniform and fight for freedom; the sacrifices that these men and women show on a daily basis is more than the average person can comprehend. However, for people in the retail industry, battles and wars are also never-ending, just on a different scale, which brings me to this:
How many of you think that military and business strategy are the same?
Now, as many would agree, war IS business; it’s a good business, and safe to say profits are always out there should you have the commitment for it. Everyone wants to win the battle for industry leadership, to successfully defended a market position, or to make a killing in a deal. Sun Tzu’s strategy for ancient warfare “The Art of War”, can be related to business operations, which led to the culmination of six strategic principles, all completely dead on in making the biggest impact in your industry. Take a look at these quotes:
3. “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril”
Use foreknowledge & deception to maximize the power of business intelligence
4. “To rely on rustics and not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand is the greatest of virtues”
Use speed and preparation to swiftly overcome the competition
5. “Those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him”
Use alliances and strategic control points in the industry to “shape” your opponents and make them conform to your will
6. “When one treats people with benevolence, justice and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders”
Develop your character as a leader to maximize the potential of your employees
The six “Art of Business” strategies, can be summarized to this; if your business is to survive and prosper, you must capture your market. Do it in a way so your market doesn't go down, use subtle low-key approaches and don’t indulge in PRICE-WARS. Doing so will result in aggressive responses and in the long run, leaving the market drained of profits. Which links me towards attrition battles, some of which have to be fought, but should be avoided at all cost. Focus on weaknesses, maximize your gains while minimizing the use of resources. Result? Increased profits. That alone, requires you to find and exploit your competitor’s weakness, while knowing your army’s own strengths and weaknesses. Know the current industry trends, and your competition, so you understand the terrain and conditions before starting the fight. To make the first crucial move in any battle, you need speed and preparation, Reduce the time in critical decisions, such as product development and customer needs, with knowledge of how your competition will counter attack. Make alliances, set-up mutually beneficial relationships; the larger your network, the less moves your competitors can make before you achieve checkmate. A leader is only a leader if they have troops willing to follow him, committed to winning the battle. It takes a leader with a vision and the ability to lead to win a war.
Businesses are a competition for survival, always have been, always will be. It’s not as damning as physical survival, but commercial survival? Preparation for battles happen behind closed doors of boardrooms, attacks from your competitors are a constant threat, with their end goals being to crush your company should you make mistakes. Will your current idea succeed? Will it return a profit? Or will it fail, and become just another statistic, one of many in this never ending war? Will you become victorious, known for your achievements, or will you fall, divided?
War never changes. We are just battling on a different scale, fighting for a different survival.
Tapp is ready for battle. Are you?
1. “The best policy is to take a state intact: to ruin it is inferior to this…to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”
Capture your market without destroying it
2. “An army may be likened to water, flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness”
Avoid your competitor’s strength, and attack their weakness