Keys to apply Sun Tzu’s Art of War in Business

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By Mary Rae Floresca | |

The famous book of Sun Tzu was used as the “bible” for warfare strategies and it was the reference of our ancestors. However, it was kept and preserved for us today, not for “World War III”, but for our own businesses.

The Art of War is quite a hefty book to read, but we can pinpoint a few quotations of Sun Tzu and be applied in the workplace.

“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged war.”

Brands usually aim for the biggest spend of their marketing strategy, some are TV ads, billboard or magazine ads, but for most of them, the returns are negative. There may be other strategies to be done than spending more of what you have. Another example is keeping on the loop of connections in which the ROI is not mutual. Sometimes it is best to lose the relationship that jeopardize the money of your business.

“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril”

This is the most common way to stategize in business, finding out your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. This is even applied in any competition, take time to study as well as your own brand’s strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a tip: list down all your competitors, and categorize them accordingly, where are they in terms of price? Product excellence? And the like. Compare and know where to place your brand, then you know how to strike.

“Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where has taken no precautions.”

Once you formulated a great idea, execute right away but carefully. You have to be the first in the market when you came up on something that you know it will work. Keep up with the trends. For example, do you notice that ice cream brands whip up a new flavor especially for summer season? These brands even race to think of the best flavor to reinvent. You have to be fast and take advantage when your competitor didn’t “attack” yet.

“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.”

This is where good leadership steps in, your “army” should be able to look up to you as their “commander”. An excellent leader is firm on his rules but at the same time, empathetic. Your followers must trust in your strategies so they may be able to go to war with competence and confidence that you will “conquer”. Attitude check is a must.

“There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.”

Aside for innovations, you have to be creative on what you have. It’s learning to be resourceful. Sometimes, small businesses pile up their stocks in a room and forget they still have those that results to excessive spending habits. Sun Tzu reminds us that we give a second look on those in front of us that can of use, just like how warrior a can get anything and use it as a weapon.

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