Sun Tzu and The Art of Startups


Sun Tzu and The Art of Startups


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Beginning a new business venture can be unsettling. Entrepreneurs have to possess courage and bravery to embark on a voyage filled with lack of certainty and unknowns that come with starting a new business.

The marketplace in today’s business world can feel similar to a battle that is dominated by strong incumbents whose objective is to maintain dominance and thwart any new entrants. New entrepreneurs must be crazy to go into battle against them.

How does a startup have a shot at success when entering a new market battling against the established competition?

For inspiration, entrepreneurs can seek confidence and wisdom from Sun Tzu’s Art of War.   This timeless book provides insight and tactical strategy used by successful entrepreneurs to outsmart their competitors.

Here are some points of wisdom from the book that can help the entrepreneur of today:

 “The highest realization of ware fare is to attack the enemy’s plans, and the lowest is to attack their fortified cities.”

Translation, entrepreneurs need to focus on the opportunities left unserved by the competition and no to compete in the areas where the existing incumbent is superior.

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him.“

A startup can score a big win on the battlefield by acquiring the small but growing niche client base. This breathes life into the budding business, while adhering to Sun Tzu’s tactics, irritating the larger competition and invoking a response from them.

 “If the enemy holds the high ground, do not ascend and do battle with him, but draw him off the high ground”

Agitating the larger competitor will cause them to make a move, while losing focus on their core competencies. Sun Tzu would call this drawing them off the high ground.

Sun Tzu’s Art of War is relevant for today’s entrepreneurs to study for inspiration on how to create their strategy, while thinking outside of the box to subdue their competition without fighting them head on.

Bryan ClaytonAbout The Guest Author: Bryan Clayton is a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits and co-founder of GreenPal.


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