Are you running an offensive or defensive business?

January 10, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

If you’re a business owner then you already know what you are up against competition wise. But the way you react to it will help determine what kind of business you are running. Does your business hold a strong position and maintain the lead? Or is your business flexible and changing in relation to your competition? Below are tips on figuring out if you are running an offensive or defensive business and what that could ultimately mean for your business.

The first step to understanding how to navigate your competitive landscape is to know where your company stands in comparison. Are you the trendsetter? Do you hold a strong position as market leader? Or are you a potential market follower? Knowing where your company stands is crucial. It will help you determine the steps you will need to take in order to stay offensive or become less defensive. Maybe you are constantly changing your prices to stay competitive or perhaps you have found a niche market where you are the go-to business. Either way, you need to know where you stand in order to make a plan that will help you get to where you want to be.

There are two crucial traits a business owner must embody in order for their business to be a leader within their respective market: agility and dominance. Having too much of one or the other can lead you to become too offensive or too defensive. Striking a balance between the two –knowing when to take a risk in order to maintain your position as market leader or become flexible in terms of new technology offerings – will not only make your business stronger but will improve your skills as a manager as well. The big question is, how do you achieve this beautiful balance? There is no perfect answer of course but I believe a big part of the solution lies in knowing one’s weaknesses and strengths. If your business is great at offering great quality and known for easy go-to solutions then stick to that. If your weakness is not knowing how to compete with larger companies, brainstorm ways in which you stand out and why customers would enjoy working with you more than with your completion. Keep honing your skills and practicing your offensive and defensive actions until they become a habit. But remember, agility is the skill that will save most businesses in 2014.

 Ideally, you will soon be able to shift between offensive and defensive modes naturally.  In order to do this, it is important that you think about your business not only in the present but also in larger context. Where do I want my business to be in 5 years? 10 years? And, how can I make sure to dominate the market by then? By encompassing these tools -understanding where you stand in the market, knowing your strengthens and improving your offensive and defensive skills- will not only help your business grow but will empower you as a business owner as well.