14. On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate ground, fight.


Sun Tzu

Hemmed-in ground refers to a situation where the terrain is such that it limits the movement and options of the army, such as being trapped in a narrow gorge or forced to follow a winding, tortuous path. In such a situation, the army may be vulnerable to attack from a smaller force, and Sun Tzu advises resorting to stratagem, or clever and cunning tactics, in order to outmaneuver the enemy and find a way out of the confined space.

Desperate ground refers to a situation where the only way to avoid being overwhelmed or destroyed is to fight. This might be a situation where the army has no choice but to stand and fight, even if it is at a disadvantage. In such a situation, Sun Tzu advises fighting with all one’s strength and determination, in order to have the best chance of survival.

On hemmed-in ground, resort to clever tactics. On desperate ground, fight for marketshare.

Hemmed-in ground refers to a market that presents significant challenges due to its lack of growth potential, difficulty to exit, and low barriers to entry. In this situation, it is important to use strategic thinking and creativity in order to pursue opportunities in this market. This might involve coming up with innovative solutions to the challenges, or finding ways to work around the constraints in order to pursue new opportunities.

Desperate ground is a market that is particularly challenging for a business to operate in and offers few options for success. A business in a situation should fight aggressively for marketshare in order to overcome the challenges and emerge victorious. This might involve aggressive marketing and sales efforts, expanding into new markets, or taking other steps to increase the business’s market presence and competitiveness.