Sun Tzu and The Art of Small Business

“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.” — Sun Tzu

As small business owners it can be easy to get stuck in a groove and routine and operate our business off the cuff. Many times we focus on working hard and beating our competition by winning customers with sheer blood, sweat, and tears. The challenge is in today’s economic environment, business owners must begin to think strategically to compete in an climate of tighter budgets, increased operating costs, and more fierce competition.

For centuries military generals have gleaned wisdom and council from Sun Tzu’s ancient text The Art of War for effective warfare strategy. Today the same manuscript is leveraged by CEO’s of the world’s largest corporations for timeless insights on competitive stagey. Sun Tzu’s thesis is the deployment of military sciences by intense planning, research, and cunning execution to outsmart and defeat ones adversaries without direct fighting.

In today’s small business world, Sun Tzu’s philosophies are impactful and relevant when adapted and properly applied. Fundamentals such as planning, focusing on natural advantages, servitude based leadership, and self-confidence are common themes in Sun Tzu’s teachings.

Sun Tzu says, “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” When Sun Tzu’s philosophies are applied to entrepreneurship, business leaders can focus on filling the needs in their marketplace, rather than engaging their competition in head to head conflict.

Business fail for various reasons and some fail at the hands of their competition. The most cunning business leaders win without engaging in profitless bloody warfare, moreover, by deploying the Sun Tzu’s timeless teaching as outlined in the following illustration.

Sun Tzu Small Business Inforgraphic

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