11. On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile ground, halt not. On contentious ground, attack not.

是故散地則無以戰輕地則無止爭地則無攻

Sun Tzu

A military commander should be aware of the terrain on which a battle is being fought, and should adjust their tactics accordingly.

On dispersive ground, where your forces are spread across your home country and not focused at any point, do not fight. Instead, focus on consolidating your forces and establishing a strong position. This may involve bringing your forces together and focusing them at a strategic location, or finding a location that offers cover or protection. By establishing a strong position, you will be better able to defend your home country and maintain your advantage.

On facile ground, which is ground you have just penetrated but not to a great distance, do not halt. Instead, continue to advance and seize any strategic advantage you can find. This may involve finding a location that offers cover or protection, or a location that allows you to observe and assess the enemy’s movements. By continuing to advance and seize advantageous positions, you can maintain your momentum and potentially gain a decisive advantage in the battle.

On contentious ground, which is ground that when controlled or possessed offers a great advantage, do not attack unless you are confident that you can gain a decisive advantage. This may involve carefully assessing the risks and opportunities, and developing a well-planned and executed strategy that takes into account the enemy’s defenses and your own strengths. If you are not confident that you can gain a decisive advantage, consider using tactics such as pretending to flee, showing banners and sounding drums, raising dust and brushwood, and using ambushes to lure the enemy away from their position. These tactics are meant to confuse and disorient the enemy, allowing you to gain an advantage in the battle.

On dispersive ground, do not defend your market share. On facile ground, market aggressively. On contentious ground, do not go after your competitor.

On dispersive ground, do not try to defend your market share. Instead, focus on diversifying your product or service offerings and leveraging partnerships or alliances to gain an advantage. On facile ground, where you have limited presence, aggressively market your business and seize any strategic advantages you can find. On contentious ground, where control offers a strategic advantage, avoid attacking established competitors and instead consider using tactics such as diversifying your offerings, leveraging partnerships or alliances, and utilizing data and technology to gain insights into customer behavior. These tactics can help you gain an advantage in the market and differentiate your business from competitors.

On dispersive ground, where your company resources are distributed across your home market and not focused at any point, do not try to expand your business. Instead, focus on consolidating your resources and establishing a strong position. This may involve bringing your resources together and focusing them on a strategic location or product line, or finding a location or product line that offers a competitive advantage. By establishing a strong position, you will be better able to defend your home market and maintain your advantage.”

On facile ground, where you’re entering a market and have limited presence there, it is important not to halt your efforts to gain market share, but rather to continue to aggressively market your business and seize any strategic advantages that you can find. This may involve identifying locations or tactics that give you a competitive edge, such as offering unique products or services, or utilizing data and technology to gain insights into customer behavior. By continuing to advance and take advantage of opportunities, you can maintain your momentum and potentially gain a significant market share in this competitive market.

On contentious ground, where your competitor has the advantage, do not go after your competitor. It is often unwise to go after a competitor who is securely established on contentious ground, as this market or industry offers a strategic advantage to the business that controls it.

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