13. On serious ground, gather in plunder. In difficult ground, keep steadily on the march.

重地則掠圮地則行

Sun Tzu

On serious ground, which refers to enemy territory, Sun Tzu advises that you should focus on gathering plunder in order to weaken the enemy’s strength. This could involve seizing resources, such as food and supplies, or capturing enemy soldiers and equipment. By depriving the enemy of these resources, you can reduce their ability to fight and potentially gain an advantage in the conflict.

In difficult ground, which refers to terrain that is challenging to navigate or that provides a disadvantage for your forces, Sun Tzu advises that you should keep steadily on the march. This means that you should prioritize maintaining progress and momentum, rather than focusing on resource acquisition or other objectives. By keeping your forces moving forward and maintaining a strong posture, you can potentially overcome the difficulties posed by the terrain and achieve your objectives.

On serious ground, acquire assets. In difficult ground, prioritize consistent growth.

On serious ground, which is a new market that you have entered, it is important to acquire assets that can give you a competitive edge. These assets could include customers, intellectual property, or other resources that can help your company differentiate itself from its competitors and gain a foothold in the market. By acquiring these assets, you can potentially weaken the strength of your competitors and position yourself for success.

In difficult ground, which refers to a market or industry that presents significant challenges or barriers to entry, it is important to prioritize consistent growth. This means that you should focus on maintaining progress and momentum, rather than trying to immediately reap the benefits of your efforts. This might involve investing in marketing and sales efforts to build up your customer base, developing new products or services to differentiate yourself from competitors, or building up internal resources to support long-term growth. By prioritizing consistent growth, you can overcome the challenges posed by the market and position your company for success in the long term.