Sun Tzu was a legendary Chinese military general who authored The Art of War, an ancient book on military strategy. His principles have been used by leaders for over 2,000 years, and today are used by business strategists to gain the competitive edge.
As a student using the MikesBikes Business Simulation you not only have the opportunity to run your own company, but your company will be competing against other student-run firms. This competitive element of MikesBikes mirrors the real-world where companies compete for customers and a dominant position in the market.
So how can you apply the philosophy of Sun Tzu to your MikesBikes Company? We have listed six key messages from The Art of War below to give you a competitive edge and lead you to victory!
1. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
Your first step as a management team must be to formulate your company’s strategy. A strategy sets out your vision, mission and strategic objectives. A well-founded strategy is necessary to win the battle for your customer’s attention, and win the war for market dominance.
Strategy is the foundation in which the tactics are born. Tactics are the specific actions used to fulfil your strategic objectives. Such as a change in Retail Price or the Launch of a New Product.
2. “All can see my tactics but none can see my strategy out of which victory is evolved”
Although your opponent may see your tactics, they must never know your strategy. It is by this which victory will be yours.
3. “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories”
Know your company: How has your company and product been performing? What are your strengths and weaknesses? This will help you to develop you to develop your own tactics.
Know your customers: What drives their desire to buy one bike over another? Where do they buy their bikes from? What media do they watch? This will help you to develop customer-centric tactics.
Know your competitors: What are their strengths and weakness? What tactics have they implemented? When you study your competitor you can identify their strategy, and therefore predict their next move before they make it. When you know your competition’s strategy you can beat them a thousand times.
4. “Victorious warriors win first and
then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” Plan, plan and then plan some more.
5. “In peace prepare for war”
Never get complacent. As the simulation progresses you should continue to review your company’s tactics, keep your eye on competitor’s actions and identify what their next move may be.
6. “You have to believe in yourself”
If you have done the work in building a knowledge base of your company, the market and your competitors, then go out there and execute your killer strategy with no remorse!
By Ian McPherson