Entrepreneurs need enemies

entrepreneur friend-or-enemy

Life is too short to have enemies. If you don’t like a guy, ignore him. The world has enough space for all the Smarties in the Smartie-box.

But sometimes enemies are useful. Especially in business.

An enemy can foster team morale amongst your troops.

An enemy can give you something to chase.

An enemy can give you credibility.

These are the rules for dealing with enemies:

1. Never publicly acknowledge your competition. You’re validating them. You’re helping them. Ignore them.

2. If you must pick a public enemy, pick someone who can’t destroy you. You don’t want to irritate a giant monster.

3. Get personal. You don’t want 5,000 employees and their loved ones thinking you’re their enemy. Rather pick a single person in the organisation you want to identify as the enemy. Preferably someone without friends. Make it personal.

4. Notwithstanding point 2, pick an enemy way out of your league. If you’re going to give publicity to someone, give it to a giant company that is obviously far ahead of you. With luck some semi-literate spokesman will retaliate by repudiating your claims. Boom. You’ve just pulled a Jiu Jitsu move and leveraged your brand onto the same level as a giant.

5. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Sometimes telling the world the name of your enemy is a way to find allies. People can’t choose sides if they don’t which side of the fence you’re on.

6. Pursuant to points 3 and 5, try find an enemy that has lots of enemies.

7. Never publicly diss your enemy. That’s bad form.

At the end of the day remember its just a game. Play the game, have fun, don’t take it all too seriously.

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