Improve Your Business Using The
Principles Of War
Copyright © 2005 Hirini Reedy
The art and science of war has been studied and developed since the dawn
of mankind. Many business principles and terminology have military
origins. For example the word entrepreneur was originally a French term
used to describe a person who undertook a military mission. In Asia
today , many business leaders still study Sun Tzu's ancient text "Art of
War" written 2500 years ago. It contains timeless wisdom that is still
applicable today. It is based on principles of nature that can be
applied to more than just warfare. It allows for the understanding of
flow and force, the yin and yang of every situation.
In a world that is becoming more global and uncertain, business success
will be achieved by utilizing both hard and soft strategies. The yin and
yang of business can be likened to the push and pull style of combat.
Each one flows into the other like night follows day.
So, how can one apply the Art of War to marketing and business?
A possible answer is to understand the principles of war rather than the
specific skills of combat. How you apply the principles will vary
according to your specific situation and desired outcomes. Here are some
principles of war that can be used to improve your marketing and
1. Selection and Maintenance of The Aim.
Every successful military operation has a clear aim. Generally the aim
is connected to the desired outcome. In business, it is important to
define your aim and intended outcome. Maybe your aim is to create a
successful business that you sell for $2 million dollars within 3 years
Or establish a group of successful internet mini-sites that generates
collectively $20,000 per month. Your aim is broken down into phases.
Each phase has its own objectives, tasks and timelines. For example you
could use a 90day Marketing Phase. Your marketing objectives could be
broken down into key tasks.
Task1. Write an article every week for submission.
Task2. Send offers to 10 potential joint venture partners.
Task3. Build opt-in list by 200 subscribers each week.
Task4. Test and measure website performance each week.
2. Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy, Know Your Terrain.
A military commander uses a process called a tactical appreciation or
estimation to prepare his or her battle plan. Basically this is about
asking brutally honest questions. What are your strengths and
weaknesses? Are you lazy or impatient? Sometimes the biggest enemy is
yourself. We all have our own limiting beliefs and bad habits that can
jeopardise our success. We must eliminate these internal threats
efficiently and systematically. The terrain in war is like the market
place in business. The more intelligence you have around market trends,
customer needs and consumer choice the better your ability to plan your
business strategy. So be like a forward reconnaissance troop and start
gathering your market intelligence. Whenever you get market
intelligence, always ask the question, so what? This forces you to look
beyond the obvious to the hidden possibilities within your information.
As you read this article, ask yourself " yeah, so what"?
3. Concentrate Your Forces At The Appropriate Point
Your force can be diluted and weakened if you apply it over too wide a
front. It is better to concentrate your force at the appropriate point
where you can have most impact. In marketing this is likened to focusing
on a a niche. A niche is a small crack which can be opened for maximum
advantage. Right now there is so much competition among internet
marketers that it maybe better for a new marketer to focus on marketing
to particular niches. So concentrate your marketing effort on niche
areas. Maybe consider marketing to gardeners, first time mothers, poodle
owners or personal trainers. Start with identifying a crack or niche in
the market place then do your recon to find out as much information as
possible. Make sure you have all the key information to properly plan
and phase your business strategy. Then act.
4. Taking Bold, Offensive Action
Business, like war, involves taking action. It may mean bold, offensive
action that has risks involved. However if you have planned your
business strategy with sufficient rigor then the chances of defeat and
failure are lessened. In my opinion, anyone who starts their own
business deserves a commendation for courage and risk-taking. It takes
courage to leave the security of a job and start your own business.
Failure is always a possibility. No business is failure-proof. Like a
modern day battlefield, markets and technologies are changing a lot
quicker now. A business may have only a life-cycle of three to six
months before the market or technology changes. So a business owner must
be thinking two-battles ahead so that (s)he can maneuver and position to
meet changes in the market.
5. Economy of Effort, Time And Resource
The best military formations and units have Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs) that standardize and systemize repetitive functions
and activities. SOPs save lives, resources and reduce confusion during
war conditions. For the single business owner, plan to systemize and
standardize your repetitive functions. Organise your repetitive
activities such that you minimize time wastage. Use the 20/80 rule. 20
percent of your activities produce 80 percent of your results. So in an
8 hour working day, roughly 2 hours should be spent on high value
activities. So make sure that you automate your repetitive functions
using software if possible. Use templates, scripts and checklists.
Systemize your business so that you can spend quality time on high value
Apply some of these principles of war to your business and marketing
today. Become the commander of your own success rather than another
casualty on the business battlefield. May you enjoy the sweet fruits of
Hirini Reedy is a native author, poet, civil engineer, retired military
officer, martial arts founder, NLP master and internet entrepreneur. He
shows people how to integrate ancient wisdom with modern success
principles using SIMPLE TEACHINGS. Learn more at