10 Lessons from Sun Tzu That Every Entrepreneur Should Learn
The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a book about military strategy. It was written around 2,500 years ago. You’re probably wondering how such a book can help you, as an entrepreneur today.
The truth is, the lessons in Sun Tzu’s book are still relevant today for many reasons, and can be applied to many areas of everyday life. The strategies in this manuscript deal with fundamental human nature, so they can be applied to a wide variety of modern situations – not only business, but politics, sport, and even science.
Let’s take a look at 10 lessons from The Art of War that could change the way you do business forever.
1- “He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.”
Lesson: Your team are more powerful together. Teams who works well together will achieve more than if they were working as individuals.
2- “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”
Lesson: Realize that you can’t do everything. The most successful entrepreneurs know how to prioritize important tasks, and also when to delegate. They also understand which battles to fight and which to leave. Often, your energy is much better spent moving on, rather than fighting ego-battles for little reward. Successful people are able to leave ego and emotion out of the equation, and focus their energy only on the high-reward tasks.
3- “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”
Lesson: Always have a plan for your everything you do. And a back-up plan.
4- “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
Lesson: Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and those of your competitors. Don’t attack your competitor’s strong points; analyze where they are weakest, and how you can take advantage of that to further strengthen your own business.
5- “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
Lesson: As you take advantage of opportunities, more will naturally arise. Success encourages further success! As you take advantage of opportunities that come your way, you’re building your expertise, therefore encouraging further business.
6- “Sometimes we need to lose the small battles in order to win the war.”
Lesson: A successful leader and entrepreneur knows which battles are worth fighting. Accept when when something isn’t working, and don’t allow small battles to take up all your time and attention. It’s a much better use of your time and money to plan the next stage of your campaign.
7- “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”
Lesson: The people who work for you are integral to your business success; treat them as such. Staff loyalty is essential.
8- “The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.”
As well as having a sound plan and carefully considering every stage of your strategy, the timing is also important. You must know when to execute each part of it for maximum impact.
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9- “The natural formation of the country is the soldier’s best ally”
Lesson: Successful entrepreneurs know their industry inside out, and are aware of any changes that could potentially affect their business, whether positively or negatively.
10- “A clever General…avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the art of studying moods. Disciplined and calm, he awaits the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy:–this is the art of retaining self-possession.”
Lesson: Don’t act without thinking first. Successful leaders possess the self-control to formulate a plan before acting.
Sun Tzu’s principles of warfare can be used to improve many areas of your entrepreneurial, business and leadership skills. What are you waiting for? Start TODAY.