Business is war. I go out there, I want to kill the competitors. I want to make their lives miserable. I want to steal their market share. I want them to fear me and I want everyone on my team thinking we’re going to win.
Fresh entrepreneurs these days feel ambushed. This is because they are not aware of the underlying approach to business. Sun Tzu, author of ‘Art of War’, provides valuable lessons to entrepreneurs on how they should apply business tactics. Don’t be overwhelmed by big name company strategies trying to crush the potentially dangerous little fish (that’s you). Instead, put on your war paint, beacause business is war ladies and gentlemen and you should never back down.
Be the Commander in Chief
In order to succeed in business, you have to understand the art of entrepreneurship which appoints you to have the ability to command, train, and educate your employees. Simply put, you are the leader and your employees are your soldiers. Can you imagine winning a war with untrained soldiers? It would be completely impossible. Business is war and you need the undying support of your soldiers. That is the Sun Tzu business mindset.
Be the commander that your employees can look up to. Expect greatness but fathom human err. Lift up your employees in times of need. This will help you issue orders and they’ll be more than happy to follow in support of you and your business. Think of it as soldiers providing acts of bravery to accomplish the mission. Some may faulter honorably but the beauty of business is learning from failure.
Employees as Soldiers Work
Applying military tactics for business is proven to work. The Military requires training, tactics, communication, and execution. If you train your employees like soldiers, they will respond to your authority and you desperately need loyalty within your business. Think of the challenges that you face in business. The art of business is about your faithful employees helping you to overcome inevitable challenges and weaknesses.
Let’s say that you need to meet a month’s worth of quota in just two weeks. If you have full control of your employees and they see you as their righteous commander, they will follow orders just so you can meet that goal. It’s not quite like soldiers running up a hill under heavy gunfire because they’re ordered by their superior, but you get the idea.
How do you achieve this? We can take a look at how people have been following leaders since time immemorial:
- Being the leader, they’re “forced” to respect your position of authority so they’ll follow you.
- A lot of the most effective leaders have been charismatic, and people followed the leaders because they respect their wisdom and/or charismatic personality.
- People understand that they’ll benefit later on if they supported the leader.
These things can still apply today. After all, the art of business can be compared to the ability to run a country or leading a war.
You’re already the established leader as the owner of the business. You can use this authority to let your employees know who the boss is. It will help if you show your wisdom and charismatic personality. It will make following you easier. You can also make your employees understand that if they’re not going to help, they can get fired – which is not in their best interest. It’s just like how commanders in the ancient times had their soldiers executed for not following orders. Of course, you’re not going to literally have your employees executed. Firing them will serve as a good example of what will happen to the employees if they don’t follow your orders.
Of course, you can also tell them that your success is their success. Numbers matter and you can’t just keep on firing people. In addition to lowering the team’s morale, you need all the help that you can get to face the competition. Just like some of the best leaders of all time, you can also lead by serving as an inspiration. Show them what can happen if they follow you. That’s how you’re going to lead your team towards success.
The Sun Tzu Business Way
Sun Tzu’s Art of War is one of the most influential books of all time when it comes to business, so you can easily apply the teachings there to the art of business. Since business is war, a lot of entrepreneurs follow Sun Tzu’s teachings.
For example, Sun Tzu talked about the evils of complacency. In his story, Tu Hsiang led his troops to destroy three camps of P’an Hung and plundered their treasures. Tu Hsiang and his troops became complacent. They lost their eyes on the prize because they were already rich. Arrogance also made them complacent. Unfortunately for them, P’an Hung and his troops were hungry to fight and redeem what’s theirs. They encountered very little resistance as Tu Hsiang and his troops already lost their desire to fight.
Business is not just about the money. That’s the morale of the story. Business is war and earning as much money as you can is not the true measure of success. Don’t establish a culture of money being the main motivation. Sure, you can lead a team motivated with money to success easily, but as the Sun Tzu business lessons teach us, that would just mean destroying unity and egos clashing.
Be a good leader. You should be a mix of a democratic leader and an authoritarian one that has the business and its employees’ best interest at heart. Ultimately, this gives you the best chance of winning the war.