If the prime aim of businesses were to beat competitors, the word strategy and its concept would have been very appropriate. But is it? Is a business declared prime goal to beat competitors or is it to win customers?

Strategy comes from the Greek word ‘strategos’ who was the army commander in battles against enemies. The Greeks in the Salamis naval battle against the Persians employed a strategy to win and destroy the enemy’s forces. They tricked the Persians into conducting the fight in the narrow straits of Salamis making it impossible for the Persians to deploy their full strength thus neutralizing their supremacy in the much greater number of ships. At the same time, this choice of position favored the Greeks to exploit and magnify their own advantage that came from their flexible and nimble ships against the enemy’s bigger, unwieldy ships. The strategy rendered victory to the Greeks with the Persian fleet defeated and largely destroyed.

From the above example of strategy three conceptual limitations come out when we think of strategy in business:

Strategy must have as its aim to defeat an opponent
It is a two-party game
It is not a continuous process but is confined in applicability to one or more separate episodes

In business, the concern to beat competitors is largely applicable to the bigger companies (most belong to the corporate level) which have to strategize and make choices; which products to carry, which markets to enter, where to establish divisions, which type of venture to employ for entering selected markets, where to be first comers or when to work against competitors to maintain market control.

Most companies, however, have no concerns of that kind. The vast majority (over 98% in some countries) [...]