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Former Bush Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld was once quoted at saying, “You don’t go to war with the Army you want; you go to war with the Army you have.”

Regardless of your feelings about Mr. Rumsfeld, his words ring very true when it comes to the success of your small business.

When you are waging economic war with your competitors, you don’t go to war with the business you’d like to have; you go to war with the business you have.

That’s not to say that at some point you might have the business you want, but until that day arrives you must do battle with the inventory, staff, facilities, cash flow and management you have.

Defend Your Ground

The question then becomes, “Can you defend your ground (the business), until reinforcements (more customers), arrive?” Here are a few ways to hold off the opposition and make the most of the forces you have at your immediate command.

Ever since David and Goliath, and throughout military history, small bands of combatants have overcome much larger forces to gain victory.

The business world has also produced many companies that have taken on the big box powerhouses and have managed, to not only coexist, but to also turn a nice profit in the process.

We have two local businesses that have been in operation for over 100 years. Owenhouse Ace Hardware and Kenyon-Noble. Their main competitors are Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Pretty formidable opponents in the world of home improvement and construction.

Both have been able to not only survive but also thrive by opening larger locations or second locations.

Come Out Swinging

One of my local business heroes is Jeff Riggs, former point guard for the MSU basketball team. Jeff is the owner of three “Clark’s Fork” restaurants.

In order to make that dream happen Jeff had to overcome 11 banks turning down his business plan. That’s not a typo. Eleven Banks!!!

But the 12th said yes.

What kind of tenacity does it take to overcome that kind of rejection? Wouldn’t most of us decide to do something else after the third or fourth rejection. Maybe the 5th, but 12??

Some Final Thoughts

All we have to succeed in this world is us. Our gray matter and some elbow grease. Thomas A. Edison found over 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.

Henry Ford failed multiple times to start a car company. There are no guarantees in business.

I seriously doubt that Paul Allen and Bill Gates thought Microsoft would make them billionaires sitting in their garage staring at that blinking C: on the screen.

I’m sure they thought it would be successful but to be the richest man in the world??

That’s a stretch sitting on the bumper of your parent’s car.

How many people have had a similar dream but never acted on it? What about you?

Comments below.

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