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 business.

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 activities.

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 victory.


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