Judo Business Strategy

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What is the judo business strategy?

A judo business strategy is a plan to run a business using its speed and agility to lessen the effect of its competitors. The strategy anticipates and exploits market changes through new product offerings. Judo’s business strategy has three components:

  • Movement (use the smallest size of a company to act quickly and neutralize the advantages of a larger competitor)
  • Balance (absorb and counter competitors’ movements)
  • Leverage (using competitors’ forces against them)

Small businesses can use their solid foundation with a commodity and its ability to challenge a larger competitor.

Understanding the judo business strategy

The strategy is taken from the principles of judo, a Japanese martial art, and was used as a metaphor in the book “Judo Strategy (2001) by David B. Yoffie and Mary Kwak. The origins could be traced back to” the economics of judo, “a term coined by economists Judith Gelman and Steven Salop to describe a strategy when starting a business in an industry dominated by a big competitor.

One of the major aspects of judo is to use the size of a larger opponent against himself. As a business strategy, it is designed to give small businesses an advantage by using their agility and ability to respond more quickly to changes in the market as a competitive advantage.

How the judo business strategy works

Startups and other small businesses could seek to implement this strategy in the face of larger competitors in their market. The principles and tactics of the strategy include a focus on the core business being developed rather than on ancillary ideas. This scenario is very similar to the practitioners of judo who compete and find a solid foundation at the start of a match.

Another principle is to stay on the offensive without being caught in a direct attack. This offensive is an effort to exhaust the opponent by quickly moving the attack points without allowing the opponent to lock in a solid defense or push back directly.

By modifying where and how the leverage is applied, a judo practitioner seeks to break his opponent’s foot and deflect any counterattack that the opponent may launch. From a business perspective, a small business could use its flexibility and ability to modify its attack points to confuse a larger competitor who may have rigidly solidified its operations in certain directions and who is struggling to s ‘adapt.

Quick fact

Southwest Airlines succeeded in gaining market share through its “no-bag” strategy, but the major airlines could not match the strategy as they rely on baggage fees as short-term income. However, in the long run, this has the effect of reducing consumer goodwill.

Preparing and planning to pivot into a judo perspective means using situational and spatial awareness to think about where and when to modify the offensive movements. This allows a company to take advantage of a new opportunity to attack. Start-ups, in particular, must remain aware of their position, their condition and their prospects for advancement by adopting new approaches.

Key points to remember

  • A judo business strategy uses the smallest size of a business as an advantage over its larger competitors.
  • Small businesses can generally respond more quickly and more nimbly to changes in the market, which can allow them to steal market share.
  • A commercial judo strategy anticipates and exploits market changes through new product offerings.

Sometimes the initial plan does not succeed as originally planned. By looking at the opportunities that have arisen, the company can better position itself with a new approach.

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