The Entrepreneurial Decoding of “The Art of War”
In the 21st Century, Business is no less than a war. Every day the entrepreneur faces a new challenge, be it a new competitor or Rapidly changing technology or a sudden climatic change. An entrepreneur has to deal with each and everything and that too single handily. The biggest comparison between a business and a field of battle is that both need rigorous planning. Starting from the stage when the business is just an idea popped incidentally into the potential entrepreneur’s mind, till his product or services reach to the customer, an acute planning, and its implementation is utmost required. Be it production, Finance, Marketing or Sales, Planning plays its role everywhere.
So As we now understand that Planning is crucial and a lot of time needs to be devoted whether you are trying to fetch up investment from the market or you are trying to look for raising money from banks, you won’t succeed if you don’t have an influencing plan. Let’s now decode what Sun Tzu has written about warfare and how it can be applied into Business.
The 5 crucial heads for Planning
1) Moral Law
Every organization has one very crucial moral law, which should be kept in mind that Nothing in the plan should be contradicting the interest of the owner or the person in the authority. When I say this, I’m not only concerned with profits. Profits are only one aspect of the business. Brand Value, Stake, Advertisements or any other thing in the plan should not be contradicting the interest of the Owner.
Godly factors, as we say, shouldn’t be ignored. Climatic conditions, Weather or sudden seasonal changes should be considered while making a plan. If you have a seasonal product, for example, Woolen clothes or Air Conditioner, you should have a proper plan for your off season too. In your plan, you should make sure that Seasonal or climatic changes work in favor of you instead of working against you. The things which can’t be changed can be your Greatest Strength or your biggest weakness, think about it.
Earth is used as a symbol to denote the distance. In another way, we can say that your plan must include that how you will be able to supply your product so that it reaches the end user effectively and efficiently. You should work on the most suitable and efficient channel of distribution.
While delegating the authority to your respected employees, you have to specify the role of the manager/ Supervisor/ Team Leader. In your plans, there must be clear and specified roles and responsibilities of the manager/supervisor/team leader mentioned. You must even work upon creating an environment where there is a good relationship between the team and the commander, without hampering the interest of the owner.
5) Method and Discipline
When you lay out a plan for your organization, some crucial things need to be taken care of. The first and foremost is the method of production. You must create a Standard Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) to avoid the errors in the whole process of production. No one should be working in a way which is not mentioned in the S.O.P.
Another thing which can be covered in this is, there should be a proper chain of authority. Everyone should have a specified role in the organization. He or She should know that to whom he should have report as well as to whom he can delegate his work.
According to Sun Tzu, one’s success and failure can be predicted by these elements of planning.
Your Strategy should be Unpredictable
When a product enters a competitive market, it needs a uniqueness to catch the buyer’s attention. The organizations are nowadays are adopting different marketing strategies to prove their potential customers that their product is better than their competitors. Our economy highly prices elastic, hence competitive brands try to lower their prices to penetrate and sustain the market.
But the major problem nowadays is high transparency. Your Competitor can predict that what could be your next move. So, he makes all the necessary preparations to make your strategy fail.
Sun Tzu here says that you should be smart enough to come up with unpredictable policy. You should have the capability to dodge your competitor to grow your market as well to sustain your existing market.
Aggressive Nature of Competitor
It is said that “if you are short tempered, you don’t need any enemy.” But the good news is, nothing could be better for you if your competitor gets agitated with your strategies. A successful businessman is not the one who sits at one place and work hard. A successful entrepreneur is the one who keeps an eye on his or her competitor, his reactions, his way of dealing with day to day things. If he gets agitated and angry with your strategies or he has a dominating or bossy nature towards his employees, congratulations! Half of your work is done. You can strike the metal when it is red hot, and it will break into pieces. You should be smart enough to understand the right time to attack.
Shift the Focus of Your Competitor
As it is specified that you must have a plan to dodge your competitors, it is advisable that you must plan to shift the focus of your competitors too. Let me give you an example. Suppose you have a restaurant. And your competitor is just opposite you. You both are in a situation of price war. You both are decreasing the prices of your meals to attract more and more customers. Your competitor is constantly focusing on price with the existing facilities like same service, same lethargic waiters, same furniture. What you can do is you can increase your internal facilities like service, Wi-fi facility, good music, hygienic food and overall a good environment. The result will be in favor of you because you have made your competitor focus on the price war and you worked on many aspects altogether.
Calculations is the Key
Business is a dish which needs everything in accurate proportion, else you will make a blunder. In other words, everything should be calculated. Risk should be calculated. Debt should be calculated, Credit should be calculated. A number of people employed should be according to the requirement and the list goes on.
Business is the game of calculations. If you can calculate the various aspects of your internal and external business environment, no one can beat you in the war of businesses.
So this ends the Entrepreneurial decoding of the first chapter of Sun Tzu’s epic – The Art Of War. Let’s try to decode the next chapter.
Love, Laughter and Peace
Himanshu R Nagpal