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Why you Should Keep your Friends and Enemies Close in Business?

4637610Most business ideas are not original; someone somewhere has done it or something similar before.  It is important to be clear about the vision and values that you give to the business, but also recognise that the business is a separate entity. The business owner is the custodian of the vision and value but the business must have clear and separate business objectives with an exit or succession plan, if the business is to grow beyond the business owners personal limitations.

Given that your business is not original, it must function and prosper in the competitive environment. The stronger the vision and values the better the business is able to be distinguishable and prosper in a competitive market. To expect a business to grow without the challenge of competition might mean you have a unique product or that you are in a market which is too small to be profitable, or reflect that you are not sufficiently aware of the competitive environment and so cannot anticipate changes in the market.

I participated in a business networking discussion and a business owner relied their anger that a close friend had watched them plan and set up their business only to copy the entire business model and steal all the twitter connections nurtured by the original business owner.

Other participants empathised with this story and shared similar experiences using words like betrayal.  Although I understood the sentiment, my view was ‘at least their competitor showed their cards early and that there is no law against winning over twitter connections it is a legitimate business strategy.

The words strategy, objective, mission, strength and weakness are military terms formulated in the battlefield. These terms describe a planned approach in devising the options that your actions will create in the re-actions of others; whether opponents, customers, competitors or employees. The more dominant your vision and values in the market more influential your action has on the counter re-action.

The Chinese general & military strategist; Sun Tzu who wrote “The Art of War” famously said ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ I wondered if the anger felt by the aggrieved business owner was that the competition came from a close friend or that the business owner was caught unaware.  The advantage of the opponent being a close friend it that you know their strengths and weaknesses and can plan your action and anticipate their re-action and the fact you were caught short is a lesson learnt early.

A key aim in business is to gain competitive advantage and this may result in winning over potential customers who have expressed an interest in a similar product.  Customers are not owned they can be fickle and have choice. As an owner of a business you have an <strong “mso-bidi-font-weight:=”” normal”=””>Obligation to gain Competitive Advantage:

1.     Win customers but to keep winning them over. (Customer’s are not owned)

2.     Develop and continuously communicate a clear vision and Values. (Brand values)

3.     Constantly survey your competitive environment and market for changes. (Action)

4.     Adapt your business strategy to the constant change. (Re-Action)

Your business success is measured in your ability to anticipate, react, and adapt to change. Unless you are adjusting to constant change and so looking to gain competitive advantage, your business will not growing.

If you like this blog you may also like https://theproblem-solver.com/assets/influence-how-to-win-friends-in-business/

Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Speaker and Author. Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World will give you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers wants and needs.