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Lessons for entrepreneurs from ‘The Book of Five Rings’

In Japanese folklore, rōnin, the masterless samurai, were looked down upon with much disdain. A masterless samurai was one whose master had died on or off the battlefield, or one whose master had lost the favour and privilege of the emperor’s court. Some samurai warriors became farmers and tradesmen, while others chose to become mercenaries and bandits. Miyamoto Musashi was one such rōnin who, in spite of the loss of his title, became one of the foremost scholars on samurai and their code of life, Bushido.

While the feudal system and the samurai no longer exist except perhaps in history books, popular culture, and Hollywood movies, many of their scholarly works have a lot to teach even today. In our last blog, we explored how Musashi’s teachings can be beneficial for digital marketers, the samurai warriors of the modern world. In today’s post we’ll try to find out what startup entrepreneurs can learn from Master Musashi and The Book of Five Rings.

Know your competitors

Know your enemy, know his sword.

In battle, victory belongs to the warrior who studies his adversary’s every move before making his own. According to Master Musashi, thorough knowledge of the adversary is essential because it is only then that the hidden weaknesses become obvious, allowing one to strike a fatal blow at the enemy.

For startup entrepreneurs, knowing the competitors thoroughly is the first step towards success. Believing that one’s business model is absolutely unique and thinking one is impervious to competition can prove to be a grave mistake for any entrepreneur and eventually become their undoing. Competition in business is certain, and therefore, a thorough knowledge of competitors, their strategy, and successful moves is a must for entrepreneurial success.

Find your strengths