Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Get Tough

No more Mr. Nice Guy. If you want to stay competitive, you've got to play hardball.

By
This story appears in the January 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Nice guys finish last, according to George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer. In Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win? (HBS Press, $25), the two management consultants describe how to gain and maintain extreme competitive advantage by enticing competitors into retreat, changing fields of play, using shock-and-awe and other "hardball strategies."

One of the most interesting and applicable strategies deals with finding and exploiting anomalies-unusual but persistent phenomena, such as markets where your products sell much better than elsewhere. Don't write these off as coincidences, the authors urge, outlining a systematic way of identifying, analyzing and then coming up with ideas about the strategic opportunities such anomalies may contain. Overall, it's an unusually deep, fine-grained and useful piece of business analysis. One caveat: The authors repeatedly urge readers not to break laws against predatory pricing and other anti-competitive practices. You can, it seems, play too hard.

Continue reading this article -- and everything on Entrepreneur!

Become a member to get unlimited access and support the voices you want to hear more from. Get full access to Entrepreneur for just $5!

3 months free with code ZENDESK

Presented by zendesk

3 months free with code ZENDESK