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Judo Business Strategy: Definition, Process & Benefits

Updated: November 25, 2022

There’s a number of different strategies that you can make use of to run your business successfully.

Of course, there are a large number of variables. What suits you as a business owner? What type of business do you run? What industry is your business in? It’s all dependent. 

One type of strategy that is often employed by business owners is known as the judo business strategy.

But what exactly is the judo business model? And how can it help you?

Read on as we take a deeper look at this strategy. We lay out exactly what it is, how it works, and what the different steps are to applying it so that your business can succeed.

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    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • A judo business strategy takes advantage of the company’s modest stature to outperform its larger rivals.
    • Small companies are frequently more agile and quick to adapt to market changes. This can provide them an advantage over big competitors.
    • A judo business strategy anticipates market changes. It then takes advantage of them by introducing new products.

    What Is a Judo Business Strategy?

    A judo business strategy is a strategy for running a business that makes use of its speed and agility to lessen the impact of its rivals. Through new product offers, the strategy anticipates market shifts and takes advantage of them.

    When competing with larger rivals in their market, startups and other small enterprises may try to use this tactic. The strategy’s guiding principles and strategies include emphasizing the core business being created over auxiliary concepts. This situation is similar to how judo practitioners square off and establish their footing before a match.

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    How Does the Judo Business Strategy Work?

    The strategy was described as a metaphor in the book Judo Strategy. This book was written by David B. Yoffie and Mary Kwak in 2001. It is based on the principles of judo, a Japanese martial art. The phrase judo economics, which was coined by economists Judith Gelman and Steven Salop. It was used to describe a strategy when launching a business in a market controlled by a powerful rival, which may have had a more significant influence.

    The use of a greater opponent’s size against oneself is a key component in judo. It is intended to provide smaller businesses an advantage. This is by utilizing their flexibility and capacity to react to market changes as a competitive advantage.

    What Are the Steps of a Judo Business Strategy?

    There are 3 steps to a judo business strategy: 

    1. Movement

    For the first step, a smaller business must keep a low profile. This is to protect themselves from attacks from established competitors. This is while the new company is still expanding. The business can use its key strengths at the same time. 

    Once the market for competition has been identified, the business must move quickly. It must capitalize on its strengths and gain a significant advantage over its competitors.

    2. Balance

    After making the appropriate movements, the business must balance itself against the enemy’s attack. This equilibrium cannot be attained by engaging in a head-to-head battle with your direct rivals. 

    Instead, it must be gripped with the aid of several strategies. Such as making an agreement with your rival or with their partner or organizing your strategy in such a way that you may capitalize on their moves.

    3. Leverage

    Leverage the final step, which follows mobility and balance. The most crucial phase of developing your attack is this one, where you specifically use the strength of a strong opponent.

    What Are the Ways to Apply the Judo Business Strategy?

    There are 5 main ways to apply the judo business strategy: 

    1. Concentrate on Your Main Business

    Whoever implements the Judo approach must have a strong ability to focus on the core business and its growth. This is no matter how alluring external opportunities may seem. This is rather than focusing on helpful suggestions.

    Judo strategy is as much the art of exclusion as it is the art of inclusion. Or arranging what you’re going to accomplish. This means that the “uniqueness of emphasis” is frequently a crucial component for success.

    2. Keep up your offense, but refrain from attacking directly

    Although you should avoid doing so, get ready to face your opponent head-on. It would be considered foolish for a startup that is still young or in its infancy to take on a business that is much bigger.

    Small businesses can exploit their adaptability and capacity to switch up their angles of attack. This can help to confound larger competitors. These competitors may have firmly consolidated their activities in specific directions. And therefore may find it challenging to modify them.

    3. Plan, plan, and plan some more

    No matter how quickly you move, you must plan for the long term, anticipate rival moves and client demands, and make investments that won’t always pay off in a couple of weeks.

    Good judo strategists must, however, be ready to “try it again” if their initial strategy doesn’t pan out when engaging in long-term planning.

    That instance, from a judo perspective, “re-experimenting” entails employing situational and spatial awareness to consider where and when to modify offensive movements, enabling the team to seize a fresh opportunity to attack by using a fresh strategy.

    4. Convert the advantages of your rivals into disadvantages

    Because the Judo approach relies heavily on the opposing viewpoint, it is important to identify your opponent’s strengths and exploit them in order to execute them properly.

    Even the top competitors won’t be able to respond to young companies’ ability to think creatively and differently about the entire globe.

    A huge corporation that wishes to implement the strategy must constantly learn new things, ask questions, and allow the infusion of fresh ideas.

    5. Make decisions as soon as possible

    In spite of their best efforts, many judo strategists wind up investing their resources in futile confrontations. 

    This can be avoided by making quick, decisive decisions. By being quick, you can fully commit to an idea instead of dancing around an idea and not committing to it. 

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    What Are the Benefits of a Judo Business Strategy?

    There are a number of benefits that you can derive from applying a judo business strategy in the competitive arena. 

    When competing with larger rivals in their market, startups and other small enterprises may try to use this tactic. The strategy’s guiding principles and strategies include emphasizing the core business being created over auxiliary concepts. This situation is similar to how judo practitioners square off and establish their footing before a match.

    Another rule is to avoid getting sucked into a single direct attack and to always be on the attack. This assault aims to exhaust the opponent by rapidly changing the locations of attack while preventing the opponent from locking into a strong defensive or pushing back.

    A smaller company may be able to confuse a larger competitor who may have rigorously entrenched its operations in particular directions and finds it difficult to adjust and react by using its flexibility and capacity to modify its points of attack through swift decision-making.

    From a judo standpoint, preparing and planning to pivot entails employing situational and spatial awareness to consider where and when to shift offensive moves. This enables a business to seize a fresh opening for attack. In order to progress by implementing new strategies, startups in particular must always be aware of their position, condition, and prospects.

    Sometimes the first strategy may not produce the success that was anticipated. The business can better position itself with a fresh strategy by taking a look at the opportunities that have emerged. Because of this, the term pivoting is frequently used in startup circles with a favorable connotation.

    Judo Business Strategy Examples

    Let’s use a real-life example of tech companies Netscape and Microsoft.

    Microsoft began taking active action against Netscape in late 1995. Netscape’s market share was continuously under attack, and this soon led to an unstoppable collapse. By the end of the decade, Microsoft had taken control of the browser market, and Netscape had managed to hang on only as an AOL subsidiary.

    Summary

    The term judo was used to refer to a corporate strategy that draws its concepts from the Japanese sport of judo.

    When adopting this strategy, it is important to remember that you have the power of agility and to make quick decisions. If used in the right way, you will gain a lot in a shorter amount of time and prevent your startup from failing early. Take into account the effects of starting a business in a competitive environment and your behavior during the journey of growth.

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    FAQS on Judo Business Strategy

    What are some common mistakes that businesses make when developing a judo business strategy?

    Some common mistakes that businesses make when developing a judo business strategy include not properly researching their audience, not clearly defining their goals, and not creating a strategy that is easy to implement.

    What are the benefits of a judo business strategy?

    There are many benefits of a judo business strategy. Judo can help you to improve your business skills, learn new techniques, and gain a competitive edge. It can also help you to build relationships with other businesses, and to expand your network.

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