• Victoria Rizzuto

Military Principles You Should Use in Your Business Strategy


The dictionary defines “strategy” as a plan of action to accomplish an overall goal. Depending on where “strategy” is applied, the meaning can be interpreted differently. In the military, strategy is used to plan and accomplish a mission that leads to complete victory. A business strategy is more of a “road map” to accomplish a set of goals and to create value. Even though business isn’t war, there is an ever-changing market along with competitors out there who are going to battle you for your customers. By thinking like a military strategist, you can be sure your business is armed and ready.

The U.S. Army Field Manual of Operations outlines principles for wartime strategy.


Here are several of those principals that can easily be applied to your business:

The Principle of Objectives

One of the primary strategic goals of a military planner is to first define the objective. The same is true for a business owner. The most successful businesses are the ones whose leaders are able to define a specific goal and to communicate that goal to every employee. It’s not until you have a definable goal that you are able to make a plan on how to effectively achieve it.

The Principle of Offense

History shows that battles aren’t won on the defensive. Whether your business is in retail, technology, hospitality, or services, the market can present challenges. In today’s economy, that is even truer than ever. To survive and thrive, you need to be able to face challenges head-on. Look for an opportunity to exploit your challenges and then go on the offensive to meet them.

The Principle of Mass

A military general will concentrate his forces and power to be used at a decisive place and point in time. In your business, this means you should reasonably conserve your resources until you can strategically apply them to achieve your desired market position. This can be especially helpful if your business is seasonal, which can require that massive amounts of resources need to be applied in a short period of time.

The Principle of Maneuver

An army needs to be able to maneuver or it can become outflanked. The same is true with your business. If a business becomes bloated and stagnant, it won’t have the flexibility to outmaneuver its competitors, or to stay current with changes in the market or product trends. Despite the odds, tweak your business strategy and keep moving forward. Look for simpler, faster and cheaper ways to serve your customers, increase sales and earn higher returns.

The Principle of Security

In addition to planning their offense, a military strategist also plans on how to defend their positions and vulnerabilities. In business, security is also a concern; not only the physical security of your property, but also your assets and resources. Be sure to establish internal controls to monitor your systems and prevent fraud.

The Principal of Simplicity

Everyone has heard of the K.I.S.S. method. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). In the military, it applies to operating methods and systems that don’t require complex training and practice to accomplish. It also applies to goals and objectives. In your business, be sure that you keep things simple; from goals and plans, to systems and directives which are easily understood from your leadership on down through the ranks.

By applying these military principles to your business strategy, you can be sure that you will be able to adapt to ever-changing markets, stay competitive, defend your position and defeat the challenges that will come your way.

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