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Strength or Weakness?

By Dr. Burt Smith August 23rd, 2009

cable.jpgGuy Kawasaki told an enlightening story about the old Woolworth’s Department Stores in How to Drive Your Competition Crazy: Creating Disruption for Fun and Profit.

When Woolworth’s moved into a market, the entrenched department store across the street launched a campaign to remind the market that they were there first, that the customers should entrust only an established retailer, and implied that Woolworth’s was an unproven start-up not worth gambling on. The older, established store put up a sign in their window that simply read, DOING BUSINESS IN THIS SAME SPOT FOR OVER 50 YEARS.

Woolworth’s countered with a sign of its own. It read, ESTABLISHED A WEEK AGO. NO OLD STOCK.

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu said, “In weakness, find strength, and in strength find weakness.” What may, at first, look like a serious strength of a competitor may actually be the exact thing we can exploit to our advantage. The thing THEY think is a weakness may be EXACTLY why we’re the better choice for the customer.

John Sluder said -

Sun Tzu is greatly overlooked, I think, by today managers. The Art of War has so many things that can be applied. If you can equate competing businesses with war, which it is, Sun Tzu may become a sort of thoughtful guidebook.
It’s interesting that when Wal Mart started moving into smaller towns many established mom and pop businesses did the same thing however, Wal Mart did not.

October 25, 2009 @ 10:13 am