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Strategy for Handling Competition

This article explores the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World.

The days of monopoly are over. Competition is in. No more can Public Sector Units (PSUs) relax nor can traders and middle men think their huge profit margins will continue for long. With the world becoming a global village and technology reaching the remotest corners of each country, competition has opened up like never before.

Therefore - as new projects are started, bigger brands are launched and new markets are explored - a strategy to meet the challenges from the existing players or future competitors are needed. Hence, a carefully researched, planned and calculated move is necessary in every field today. Kautilya helps us in building up a strategy to handle these competitions.

“After ascertaining the relative strength or weakness of powers, place, time, revolts in rear, losses, expenses, gains and troubles, of himself and of the enemy, the conqueror should march” (9.1.1)

Let us look at each of the aspects in the strategy. One needs to look at each of the following before making our moves in the market place. Both, from his own view point as also from that of the competitors.


Power comes in various forms - they are knowledge, money and also enthusiasm. Some of the most successful projects are the ones that are deeply studies and well researched. Remember, the foundations are important for the structure to last.


The right place is very important. The place should be conducive for the product to sell. The right market should be considered even to carry out the experimental process. One cannot launch an agricultural-based product in an urban shopping mall. The right place for it is the rural segment.


Every product has a season – Just hit it at the right time ! The cold drink companies will have its marketing strategy build around the summer time. While, the paint industry will advertise just before the festival season.


Unknown to us there are possibilities of being stabbed behind our backs! Our distributors, retailers in the market as well as our very own staff can be targeted by our competitors in order to capture the market share.


One should be aware of the losses that can happen in the process. It could not be just financial but also of time, material and efforts.


A budget should be worked out before the whole project is started. In most cases the budgets shoot up as the process starts. A buffer for extra and miscellaneous expenses should be considered.


How much is one finally going to get at the end of the whole exercise? A few projects could be one time giving immediate gains, while others could reap their fruits in long term.


A lot of troubles will come in the way. The best way to avoid or reduce troubles is to be aware of the maximum possible problems that can arise and keep a backup plan for each.

Only after taking all these into account should one march to conquer the market.

Contributed by  - Radhakrishnan Pillai

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