3. Thus the highest form of generalship is to baulk the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

故上兵伐謀其次伐交其次伐兵下政攻城

Sun Tzu

The best way for a general to defeat the enemy is to prevent them from carrying out their plans. This can be done through various tactics, such as disrupting their supply lines, dividing their forces, or attacking them in the field before they have a chance to unite. The worst option, according to Sun Tzu, is to besiege a city, as this can be a long and costly endeavor with no guarantee of success. In other words, Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of quick and decisive action in warfare, rather than slow and methodical tactics.

The best way for a company to outcompete its rivals is to prevent them from carrying out their plans.

The highest form of leadership is to thwart the competition’s plans; the next best is to prevent them from joining forces with other companies; the next in order is to attack their market share; and the worst policy of all is to engage in a prolonged marketing campaign without any clear plan for success. In other words, being proactive and decisive in business, rather than reactive and unsure.

Imagine that a new competitor has entered the market, and they have begun aggressively advertising their products and lowering their prices in order to gain market share. In response, your company could use various strategies to baulk the competitor’s plans. For example, you could launch a marketing campaign that highlights the unique features of your own products, or you could offer special promotions and discounts to customers in order to retain their loyalty. Additionally, your business could try to prevent the competitor from forming alliances with other companies in the industry, such as by offering more favorable terms to your suppliers or partnering with other businesses to offer joint promotions.

Alternatively, your company could choose to attack the competitor’s market share directly, such as by launching a new product that directly competes with the competitor’s offering, or by increasing your advertising budget to reach more potential customers. However, Sun Tzu warns that the worst option is to engage in a prolonged campaign without any clear plan for success. In this case, your company could end up spending a lot of time and money on advertising and promotions without making any significant gains in the market. Therefore, it is important for your business to carefully consider their strategies and choose the most effective tactics to outcompete your rivals.