Sun Tzu’s The Art of War was one of the greatest books ever written. Originally, this book consisting of 13 chapters focused on ancient Chinese military strategies and tactics. As time went on, the philosophies became important strategies, not only for warfare, but in the business world as well.
“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be put at risk even in a hundred battles. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.

If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.”
With that said, our natural tendency is to leap out and start painting a picture of our competitors, watching their patterns and try to anticipate their next move. We look at their marketing strategies, their content, and their branding efforts. We see their social media presence, response theme and their professionalism. We also look at their profit gains and try to splice into their vision for five years in the future. All these aspects and more allows us to obtain a better understanding of our enemy and places us on the warpath to stay one step ahead of them, intercepting their delivery and to surpass their presentation and ultimately profits.
We feel good as penetrated the inner-soul of our enemy. We are now on point for Sun Tzu’s most basic principal. We now know our enemy and of course we know ourselves. Of course? Not so fast. Notice that Sun Tzu put equal importance to both knowing our enemy and knowing ourselves. Again, it is human nature to first look at our intruders, but that can be a vital mistake. If we do not know ourselves thoroughly, we become our own worst enemy. An impending implosion becomes inevitable. The truth is, we will never be able to surpass our competitors if in fact we do not know ourselves from within.
You must look at your infrastructure. Your foundation. Is it weak? If so, your foundation will crumble in your first battle with your competitor.
First, your technology better be up to par. Substandard workstations and digital organization must be cutting edge and equal or better than your competitor. Your staff should be streamlined, precise and prepared. Your employees are your army and it must be a strong force with very limited weak points. Your upper management are your generals and it is imperative that they bring the very best out of your staff and are managing them in the most efficient fashion.
To win the war, you must be prepared to win every battle on every front.
Ultimately, in order for you to truly know yourself, you must know your existing customer base. Do you know them? Do you even have their updated contact information, or have you let them become disconnected with your company? This is an epidemic in the business world and companies in every industry are failing because they do not know their customers, therefore, they do not know themselves. The only way to know your customers and retain them is to make sure your data is accurate. If your data is outdated and inaccurate, you must regain your connection with them by updating your data. Try some free trial software that specializes in this such as DataLatter out of Suffield CT.
Start waging war on your competitors by first knowing yourself, identifying your weaknesses, and making adjustments to strengthen your front line, your foundation, infrastructure and your chain of command. Then, once you truly know yourself, it’s time to infiltrate your enemy and attack accordingly.