Avoid Strengths, Attack Weaknesses

It is better to be first in the market and well established, than to enter a market in which a competitor is already well established. If you intend to compete with a competitor, those skilled in the art of business will cause their competitors to do it on their terms.

You can make a competitor come into your market by offering some advantage. You can prevent him from entering your market by causing him unexpected time and expense.

  • One way is by controlling the ways in which your competitors can sell their products. American semiconductor manufacturers have caused the major U.S. electronic part distributors not to carry Japanese semiconductors by threatening to move their business to other distributors.

Fundamental to being a successful competitor is your ability to identify the weak points of your competitors and exploit them, while preventing the strengths of your competitors from being used to your disadvantage.

Focus the impact of your company on the weak points of the competition. Impose your will on the competition, do not allow the competition to control you.

That you can make tremendous pentration into a market with little effort will be because you have no competition. Look for niches in the market where there is a need which is not being met, and provide a product for satisfying that need. Similarily, against a competitor, choose to compete where you are most unexpected, and bypass the products which he is most prepared to protect.

You will be certain of success when you compete in a market against a product that your competitor is not willing to protect. Similarily, you will be most able to protect a product in the market against your competitors if they will choose not to compete against it.

You can best protect a product if you can prevent your competition from realizing that it represents an area of opportunity for them. Similarily, if your competitor cannot determine what products they need to expend the most effort protecting, your efforts in competing with them in a choosen area will be enhanced.

By keeping a low profile and having little visibility, you can minimize what your competition can learn about your company. Remain mysterious and you will have control over your competitors. Moreover, by causing your competitors to perceive your strengths as weaknesses, and weakness as strengths; you can cause their strengths to become weaknesses as they apply them incorrectly against you.

Time is of the essence, both in bringing products to market, and responding to changes in the market. Speed will let you have the maximum impact when penetrating a market. Similarly, a fast response will maximize your chances of withdrawing from a market with minimum damage from a serious competive threat.

There are times when you will wish to force your competitor to respond to you head to head in the market. To cause this to happen, simply choose to compete in an area of the market that he has no choice but to respond to your intrusion into the market.

In some cases, you will be able to cause your competitor to not compete with you by pyschological techniques. Crucial to accomplishing this is to introduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt into his mind.

If you can obtain precise information as to what your competitors are doing in the market, while they remain ignorant of your own actions; then you will be able to focus your efforts in the areas where he is weakest. By having overwhelming superiority in an area where you choose to compete, you will be certain to succeed.

It is crucial that you insure that your competitors do not know your plans. If they do not know your plans, they will dilute their efforts by trying to anticipate every contingency. As such, they will become vulnerable in many different areas, instead of just a few.

Now if your resources are small in comparision to your competitors, you will have to anticipate their actions, and make preparations with this in mind. If however, your resources are much greater than your competitors, than your competitors will be forced to make preparations against you, instead of focusing on enhancing their current business.

If you can determine in what markets your competitors plan to compete with you, and when they plan to introduce their products, you can make effective plans to respond to them. Without this knowledge, your competitors will benefit for every day that it takes you to respond to them.

Even when your resources are inferior to your competiors, you can achieve success by preventing him from choosing to compete with you. The key to accomplishing this is to keep your situation unknown to him, and to cause him to occupy himself trying to anticipate various alternatives. In this manner, he will not have the resources to plan how to compete with you.

If your competition:

Complacent in market ­p; Introduce competitive product
Holds an advantage ­p; Cause to come near by offering bait
Inflict damage ­p; Look for a highly profitable product of your competitor that he will feel forced to defend in the market.
Old product line ­p; Introduce products with new features that make his product line uncompetitive.
Has lots of cash ­p; Make him spend his cash reserves. Encourage a raider. Cause him to spend his cash in unproductive ways.

On attacking:

Attack unexpectedly. The competition does not know where to expect a threat.

Attack quickly. Minimize the time your competition has to respond to your threat, by quickly establishing a presence in the market.

On defending:

Camouflage Let the operations of your company be as much of a mystery to your competition as possible. They will not know where to attack.

Force Your Competitors to be on the Defensive

The use of an odd and unaccountable action to confuse your competitors.

Move where your Competitors are Not

The concept here is to avoid conflict with your competitors until you chose to directly compete with them on your terms.

Attack When Unexpected

Keep your competition from knowing where and when you plan to introduce new products. In this way, you will maximize the impact of your introduction.

By keeping your competition guessing and unaware of your position in the market, you will prevent them from focusing its attention upon you. In this manner, you can survive.

Probe to Learn Competitor Plans

Force your competitor to reveal his plans by careful stimulus to cause him to mobilize his resources. In this manner you may determine his strengths and weaknesses.

Despite a competitor being larger in size, you may prevent him from competing with you by a careful evaluation of his plans and their potential for success.

Be Secret in Your Plans

Conceal your plans from the competition. The wisest competitor cannot take effective action against you if they do not know how you conduct your business.

The ultimate way of implementing a strategy is to have no apparent form or pattern to it. In this manner, it will be impossible for observers to determine your intentions, or for competitors to make plans against you.

Even though everyone can see the revenues and profits of your company, your objective should be that none understand how you were able to achieve this.

Never be predictable. Respond to circumstances in a variety of different ways.

Nothing is Constant – Be Prepared to Change

Market conditions are continually changing. The ability to modify a market plan against the competition as conditions change, and thus to succeed, is the true mark of a good businessman.

Nothing is constant. The favorable exchange rate does not last forever. Low interest rates will increase. The availability of low overhead in a country does not last forever.

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