Sun Tzu used two analogies to stress the importance of two aspects and they are momentum and timing. With momentum, even water that does not have a solid shape is able to push big boulders and with good timing, the eagle was able to break the body of the prey without much effort. As seen below, or Chapter Five of Sun Tzu Art of War.
When the gushing torrential water tosses stones pushing boulders, it is because of the force of its momentum. When the ferocious strike of an eagle, breaks the body of its prey, it is because of the timing of the strike. Thus the forces and momentum of the adept in warfare are so overwhelming and ferocious and his timing of engagement is precise and swift.
So where and how can we use momentum in business? One aspect where we can use momentum is advertising. When you are entering into a new market, the first most important thing you should do is to set up your marketing campaign correctly. Your marketing campaign must build up momentum, having constant and continuous exposure of your products and brand to the new consumers. Repetition help consumers to remember your brand and product better. Ways to make the consumers remember your products and brands are logos, jingles, slogans and many more. Many consumers have preferred senses to learn and absorb things. Logos would appeal to people who are more visual in learning, jingles and slogan would appeal more to people who are more auditory. That is reason why most of the marketing campaigns has both. For examples, NIKE, has “JUST DO IT”, HSBC has “The World’s Local Bank” and many more.
So repetition would create momentum for your advance into a new market. With this momentum, you are able to let yourself be noticed in the new market and consumers, who are currently disappointed with what is currently offered in the market, would be willing to try your products or services. Note here is that, you have to do some research on those competitors who are operating in the new markets you are advancing. You have to know whether you are providing any value proposition to the new market at all. If what you are selling is the same, be it the sales process and products, it is unlikely that you are able to maintain the market share that you initially snatch away from your competitors.
So what about timing? Is timing important in business? In an article found in the Business Times, Singapore (23 Feb 2005), many niche restaurants have to close down soon after they opened. This could partly be blamed on the bad timing of the opening of restaurants. They were mostly opened during the bad economics times. So you see, bad timing can kill but good timing can make one prospers. We have seen in investing, if we are able to time our purchase and selling of shares well, we would reap the maximum amount of profits, but this is difficult. In business, the timing of entering a new market is also important, for example, when you enter the new market when the consumers are starting to change taste or bad economics times, you may not be able to gain many sales to sustain your business.
But a note must be made here that, these is good and bad timing to execute business decisions. Bad economic times although results in lower sales, it also means lower costs of expansion as well. SEMBAWANG MUSIC, a listed company in Singapore expanded his branches during the financial crisis because it was only during that time when the six locations that they wanted were cheap and Singapore currency was stable, while regional currencies was tumbling, allowing them to import a lot of Music CDs at a low price. (The Sunday Times, 27 Mar 2005, Page 19). To put it in another perspective, for every time, there is the right thing and the wrong thing to do.
So how are we able to get the correct timing? There are two aspects, one is knowledge and the other is experience. Knowledge allows us to gauge a range of time when opportunities is about to happen as such we can make preparation to take the opportunity. Now, we can gain relevant knowledge on our own but to be able to grasp the timing correctly, it would greatly depend on experience and attitude. Because timing is like shooting an arrow, you can have knowledge of the wind direction, the bow’s strength, the angle to shoot at and many more, but when it comes to practical, which is releasing the arrow, it takes experience. As the common phrase said, “Practice makes perfect” it never says “Knowledge makes perfect”.