May 14, 2013
A note before I start, this is the first article I’m writing “by popular demand”. The title came to me, I posted it on http://helpmewrite.co/ and 5 people voted for it, so here goes.
I’m not ex-military, let alone an ex-military strategist but I do have a passing interest and I have spent the last 4 years working in early (and very early) stage businesses. Lots of things I’ve seen people do (and done myself) can, especially in retrospect, but likened to a lot of military techniques.
Whilst writing this I’ve realised most of these are defensive/offensive strategies which lend themselves to battling competition. I think there’s a lot more businesses can learn for military thinking over and above tackling competition, maybe another post will follow.
How to hold your own in hostile territory Start with a very tiny base and a very heavy wall. Slowly move that wall outward, always maintaining the wall. If you can maintain a number of these base camps, and expand them, eventually they start to join up. I believe this is how Facebook broke new markets, one university at a time. In their case it’s subtly different to classic ink spot theory, because they didn’t join the dots up, but they did hold them and use these points of strength to bring reluctant universities on board (jealously of their own students)
“To draw attention to another point of the battle where little or nothing is going on”. You’re new, you’re growing, but you’ve got competition and they know about you. Why not leave them to fight for the less profitable scraps whilst you coin it with your most profitable area of your business.
Establishing multiple revenue streams is an excellent idea, and if your competition is going to keep an eye on you why not show them something you don’t care if they clone? One well known business never shouts about its major source of income, the interest on the funds they hold for others in escrow.
If you can see in the dark, and your competition can’t (because you have insight into an industry) then move on it, and move fast. The night does not last for ever.
When you think there might be somebody lurking, but you can’t tell, try sticking a few bullets in to likely areas and see if anybody shoots back. For example, you suspect that somebody might be developing a new feature that’s similar to something you do - ring their sales team and ask (though not too obviously).comments powered by Disqus