“SURVIVING IN TODAY’S business climate
requires a battlefield mentality,” says Costco
member Corrine Sandler, founder and CEO
of Fresh Intelligence Research Corp., a
global market research company. In
Wake Up or Die (Advantage
Media Group, 2013;
not available at
leaders how to use
strategies from Sun
Tzu’s The Art of
War. Here are a few
Sun Tzu, the ancient
Chinese military general, strategist and
philosopher, and how to
draw from them.
; “[Be] a little ahead of your opponent …
either in numerical superiority or the nicest calculations in regard to what they call commissary
[the military term for food supplies]. Starving
soldiers cannot think, let alone fight.”
Think of intelligence as being your “com-
missary.” Not knowing your competition is
tantamount to starving your army and effec-
tively forcing your own surrender.
To formulate an effective corporate competitive strategy,
it is essential to understand the answers to
three basic questions: What is your
What are your competitors doing? What is the
; “It is merely an
equation of dividing up
their numbers and knowing how to manage, to
control and to deploy at
the right time.”
Managing and directing employees
involves great understanding and the applica-
tion of emotional intelligence, which leaders,
wise generals and CEOs too often simply
ignore or don’t understand. As a leader deploy-
ing your troops, engage them in your vision,
connect with them and ensure cohesiveness
among all employees.
Also, consider applying behavioral changes
and control your responses, which will
undoubtedly make you a more effective
resource to your soldiers (employees).
; “Being prepared for all circumstances is
what ensures certain victory.”
According to Sun Tzu there are 10 factors
needed to succeed in battle, which can be
translated into 10 actions you need to take to
succeed in business:
1. Fight with foreknowledge.
2. Be invincible.
3. Attain strategic superiority.
4. Build a cohesive team.
5. Coordinate momentum and timing for
6. Ensure a solid military/organizational
7. Plan by surprise.
8. Be flexible.
9. Seek knowledge constantly.
10. Develop effective internal communication.
For more information, or to buy Sandler’s
book, go to
FOR MANY SMALL businesses, marketing for new
customers can be easier and less costly than in the
past. This surprising development is due to the
growing number of people who use smartphones,
tablets and computers to find local businesses.
Three out of four people who own smartphones—most of us—use them to locate products
and services. Of greater significance is that four out
of five searches for a product or service results in a
sale. Is it surprising, then, that local search has
exploded in popularity and effectiveness?
We recently attended a webinar sponsored by
the Small Business Administration in which Jay
Sofer described how he created a half-million-dollar-a-year locksmithing business, primarily relying
on positive reviews he receives on Yelp and, to a
lesser extent, Angie’s List. Yelp is used as a search
engine to find local businesses as often as for
posting reviews of businesses. You can list your
business on Yelp free, and Yelp is only one of more
than 100 websites dedicated to local search; for
most, basic listings are free.
Some local search sites allow more information
PAUL AND SARAH EDWARDS: LIFESTYLES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
are the authors
of 17 business
IF YOU’RE looking to relocate, or
to target customers
by a variety of
demographic information, the Census
Bureau offers a free
mobile app to help you
find the data you need.
Dwellr, for iPhone and
Android, lets you:
; Create a list of top 25
places with information about
; Use the GPS feature in
your phone to provide statistics for your current location
; Find statistics from the
American Community Survey,
which provides information on
more than 40 topics for every
neighborhood in the nation,
ranging from education to
Dwellr is available on the
U.S. Census website at www.
Business lessons from The Art of War
Obviously, some local search sites are not as
important as others. Here are the major ones:
Angie’s List; Bing Local; Brownbook.net; Google
Places and Google Local (which are now integrat-
ed); Super-Pages.com; TripAdvisor (useful for hotels
and restaurants); White Pages; Yahoo Localworks;
Yellow Pages (Any Who.com); and Yelp.com.
You will also want to make sure your business
can be found through LinkedIn and Facebook (basic
listings are free for both) and determine if your
business would be helped by being on Pinterest.
Some small-business owners have concerns
about getting listed on sites where people can post
reviews. But the fact is that Yelp reports that the
average—based on all of a business’s reviews—is
three out of five stars. When they get a negative
review, smart business owners take advantage of
the opportunity to discuss and provide top
customer service, responding quickly and demonstrating their commitment to customer service.
To find out whether you already have local
listings, check with GetListed.org.
In several hours, you can make your business
findable by the increasing number of people who
are using local search engines to decide how they
spend their money. C