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Judo Strategy: How Can Startups Compete With Big Companies?

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In this article, we will talk about applying the Judo strategy for startups to compete with big players and the hard competition in the market.

Unlike the generation of our fathers, many young people today are heading to the world of entrepreneurship and establishing their own “business”, as a large percentage of today’s youth reject the idea of ​​a job, but the market today has giants, in various fields, and it is not easy for young people at the beginning of their careers to find a job. startups compete with the whales of the market and the big players in it.

But fortunately, this path is not a dead end. There is a solution that many startups can resort to, which will help them succeed in any market despite the presence of big competitors, and this solution is the “Judo Strategy”.
Have you heard of it before?

What is the Judo Strategy?

Judo is a business strategy that derives its principles from the Japanese game of judo, a term coined by economists Judith Gilman and Steven Salop in the early 80’s, to describe the strategy that must be applied by start-ups starting in a sector dominated by a major competitor.

Just as a judoka uses the weight and strength of his opponent to his advantage, rather than directing a direct hit, companies use this strategy to beat their strong competitor.

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Judo strategy means a plan for managing a company using speed and agility to mitigate the impact of its competitors, as well as anticipating and exploiting changes in the market through new product offerings.

Judo strategy consists of three main principles:

1- Agility: where the startup takes advantage of its small size to move quickly to neutralize the advantages of the larger competitor, i.e. upset the balance of the opponents, and neutralize the advantage that they enjoyed at the beginning.

2- Balance: to accommodate and confront the competitor’s movements, and balance helps the emerging company in engaging with the opponent and surviving the attack.

3- Enhancing effectiveness: using the competitor’s competitive strengths and turning them against him.

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Five Ways to Apply the Judo Strategy in Your Startup

This may seem complicated to some or just theoretical to others, so let us now see how startups can apply this theory on the ground by reviewing the most important and most prominent mechanisms of the Judo strategy:

1- Focus on Your Core Business

Whoever implements the Judo strategy must have a great ability to maintain his focus, no matter how attractive external opportunities appear, where your focus should be on the core business and its development rather than the helpful ideas.

The “uniqueness of focus” is often a critical factor for success in a judo strategy, as judo strategy is as much the art of exclusion as it is the art of inclusion, or planning what you’re going to do.

As an example, the businessman Halsey Minor who nearly drowned his company “CNET” for not focusing on it, which is the core of his business, as he diverted his core resources to the “Snap” project.

2- Maintain the Offensive Position But Avoid Direct Attack

Prepare to attack, but avoid head-on and face the opponent head-on. As a startup that is still small or in its infancy, it would be foolish to attack a company much larger than you, just as attacking an army 10 times the size of your army is a suicidal mission.

This mechanism means to act like a judoka who seeks to break his opponent’s foot and convert any counterattacks the opponent might launch into a targeted blow to the opponent himself.

From a business perspective, a small business can use its flexibility and ability to change its points of attack to confuse a larger competitor that may have rigidly consolidated its operations in certain directions and is difficult to adapt to changing them.


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3- Planning, Planning & Planning

A common mistake is that many people think that successful companies we are talking about live only with their intelligence. All those who adopt a judo strategy plan two to three years in the future, and look beyond the pressures and problems of today to future challenges.

Executives at companies like Inktomi, eBay, and Palm stress that long-term planning is essential, and no matter how fast you move, you need to anticipate competitor movements and customer needs and make long-term investments that won’t necessarily pay off in a matter of weeks.

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However, during long-term planning, good judo strategists must also be prepared to “try it again”, or try again if their first plan doesn’t work out.

That is, “re-experimenting” from a judo perspective means using situational and spatial awareness to think about where and when to change offensive moves, allowing the company to take advantage of a new opportunity to attack. by adopting a new approach.

4- Convert Your Competitor’s Strengths Into Weaknesses

For the correct implementation of the Judo strategy, you must look for your opponent’s strengths and turn them into weaknesses, as this strategy derives its strength mainly from the opposite thinking.

Young startups have the ability to think outside the box and see the whole world differently, in which case even the top competitors will not be able to respond to that.

If you are a large company that wants to implement the strategy, you must constantly ask questions, learn new, and allow the flow of youthful thought into your organization.

5- Make Decisions Now, Not Tomorrow

Finally, many judo strategists start out in good faith but end up using their resources in losing battles, especially in the online competition realm.

Let’s take what David Pottruk did (the former CEO of Charles Schwab) as an example, where Pottruck and his team made the difficult decision to break up their successful brokerage business in favor of online trading, and the decision came to engage in online trading so as not to drain their money in a losing battle, affecting The end of it is on the company’s net profit.

The Conclusion

A lot of us dream of having his/her own business, looking for a job isn’t the dream of many of us anymore.

But you should consider the consequences of starting up a business in a competitive arena, and your behavior during the journey of growth, you have the power of agility and making fast decisions, if you are going to use it in the right way, you will gain a lot in a shorter time and save your baby startup from the early failure.

Being smart enough in applying successful strategies in managing your startup is really important to make it succeed and stand out of the crowd, applying the Judo Strategy would help you a lot in achieving what you are dreaming of, make sure that you are always in control and prepared for any emergent situations in the competition.

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Islam Ameenhttp://www.healthcarebusinessclub.com/
Islam Ameen is the founder of HBC and one of the main contributors in the community, he is a healthcare business professional working for 13 years in multiple sectors in the healthcare industry including pharmaceutical, medical imaging, laboratories, healthcare IT. working in multiple roles including sales, marketing, business development, business strategy, regulatory management.

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