In his book “The Art of Business,” Sun Tzu lays out six principles everyone should know: 1) Capture your market without destroying it, 2) Avoid your competitor’s strengths and attack their weaknesses, 3) Use foreknowledge and deception to maximize the power of business intelligence, 4) Use speed and preparation to swiftly overcome the competition, 5) Use alliances and strategic control points in the industry to “shape” your opponents and make them conform to your will, and, 6) Develop your character as a leader to maximize the potential of your employees.
Those principles were written two millennia ago, but little has changed. As a business major here at Community College of Philadelphia, I plan to explore the intersection of business and art in this column throughout the semester. This column will attempt to figure out what’s behind the local and national business decisions we see in our everyday lives.
Here are some principles I’ll be using in my exploration of the art of business:
Are you a sidekick or are you the loud mouth? Are you the tough guy or are you the thinker? Who are you? Understand that you must function where you have a function. You can’t be head of security when you’re a chump. You cannot be strategist if you can’t solve a problem. Most importantly you can’t be the leader if you have no voice. Who are you? Understand where you stand.
How far can your team take you? Who is your team? What limits do you and your family have? Make it clear to yourself that if you’re the smartest person in your crew, then your crew is whack. Understand that you can’t take someone somewhere they’re not ready to be. If you’re on 10 but your partner is on 5, get that there’s a difference and there’s a problem. In history, slave and master normally don’t eat at the same table. So get people on your level and above. Get the best and be the best.
Are you ready for the world? Are you ready for the comments, backlash, and the hate? Can you stand alone? Are you ready for the war? The world, the industry, is endless and heartless. People come and try to take your place but you have to fight for it. You must stand strong stand firm without budging. Fight to save and protect your rising empire, but understand people will always say it’s not worth it.
Are you flexible? Can you change with the times? Are you willing? The only constant in this universe is change, those who adapt will preserve; those who don’t, will merely fade away. Be humbled enough that sometimes a simple tweak to your plan maybe harmless but never forget about who you are.
Can you make it to your top? Be honest, be creative, and be yourself. People will love you, hate you, disrespect you, all on your way to your top, but always be you. Your goal is your goal. Don’t sell yourself short. The more you push, the more you reach you will get there.
Make sure you have all the answers to these questions so your business can rise, because if you don’t your business dies.