Declaring WAR in Business

Declaring WAR in Business

As an Entrepreneur, have you ever heard the phrase, “Let’s go to war?” How about, “In the trenches?” Or, “Rally the troops?” The business world, like any other, is full of metaphors, analogies, clever phrases and motivational sound bites. Let’s take a moment to assess the practical application of this particular train of thought.

Rather than modern warfare, let’s paint a different picture. Let’s imagine a more glamourised historic battle in the Napoleonic era, with you, as Napoleon…

Sun Tzu, famed military strategist and author of The Art of War, said…

Battles are won in the Generals tent, long before the battle is joined.

Centuries later, President Dwight D Eisenhower, said…

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

With the above in mind. Imagine the generals tent; your war room. This is where the maps are laid and plans are made. As Sun Tzu said, battles are won in the Generals tent, long before the battle is joined, so let me ask you, ‘Who is on your advisory board?’ ‘Who are your team of experts; supporting, questioning, critiquing and working on both strategy and tactics in the Generals tent?’

Have you created your battle plan? And have you accounted for contingencies, the unexpected, and absolute chaos? As Eisenhower said, the act of planning is indispensable, but when you’re on the field of battle, it’s imperative that you’ve covered your bases; as plans, by-and-large, are useless.


You can’t be in all places at all times. If you’re Napoleon; you can’t be serving in the infantry, the cavalry, artillery, or support services. You are leading the war effort. You can’t be responsible for every faction. If your goal is to move from the self-employed Napoleon to the business-owner Napoleon, then your job is inspire vision, lead from the front, sit atop your white stallion and storm the bridge.


Your battles are won in the generals tent, long before the battle is joined, so who do you have by your side, in both the generals tent, and on the field of battle… Have they bought the vision and are they going to back you? Do they believe in the goal? Are they invested? Who are your power team? Are they liabilities or assets? Will they show up and stand by your side when the shit hits the fan?

Your power team, are your tax experts, your solicitors, your marketing team, your advisory board, your non-executive directors, your CFO, your CEO, your strategic partners, your admin team, your marketing team, your social media guru’s, your copywriters, your accountants… Everyone from the top to the bottom.

Are you carrying dead weight? Or are your team the NAVY SEALS? Are they walking you into a painful death? Or are they ELITE and ready to dominate?


If you’re at war, who are at war with? Who are you fighting? There are two parts to the answer. The first, is yourself. Every day you fight the war within. You battle with your mind, your limits on wealth, your personal capacity, your risk appetite, your willingness to step up on the social stage, your self-esteem, and so on.

The second part, doesn’t necessarily state that you’re at war with the competition, or the market, or anyone else for that matter, but that despite not facing down active enemies, you are constantly subject to fires needing fought, competitors gaining the advantage, slander, public opinion, market opinion, media hatchet-jobs, downturns, decreasing share values, underhanded dealings, and so on.

Let’s not be naive as to think the business-world is sweet and rosy. It can be a rough place with unsavoury characters. Your war is first fought within, and won or lost before the battles ever commence. Work every day on your mindset. Build and foster relationships with your power team. Hire talent, pay them well, foster loyalty and inspire vision. Be prepared in advance, and expect chaos in the trenches.

Finally, DOMINATE, DON’T COMPETE. With this in mind, you never have to fight an opponent to win, because your standards and benchmarks are above and beyond everyone and everything else. Lead the field, be the first, be the best, win the war.


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