Is your competition giving you the weapons you need to prevail?

September 5, 2013

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Reading Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” became popular in business management circles in the 1990s. You still hear it referenced today, though certainly less often. The thinking at the time was that the 3,000-year-old treatise on the conduct of war had keen insights for competition in the business world. I can’t say I completely agreed but I have recently come to appreciate at least one of Tzu’s observations.

Among the book’s basic tenants was the principle that your enemy will provide you with the instrument by which you will defeat them. As you would expect, I have talked to a lot of NAID members throughout my career. Sometimes they’re calling to discuss their difficulties in attracting new business or getting the customer to take destruction seriously. As we briefly brainstorm solutions I’ll ask if they are writing articles in the local ARMA or ASIS chapter newsletters, advertising in those same publications, or serving on their boards. I’ll ask if they have tried setting a goal of speaking to at least one business group in their metro area every month. We discuss the depth of their industry-related network of associates in the moving business, office furniture, management consulting, or the dozens of other local professionals that can help them.

As you may have guessed, those members asking for help usually are not doing these things (or any of the other half a dozen simple network building activities they should be doing). I don’t say that directly but they get the point. I am very bullish about the opportunities in the secure destruction industry precisely because most service providers still seem unwilling to do the necessary networking activities. This leaves the door wide open for those who are willing to do it. The only question is, will you accept the weapon they are giving you?