How to Play Hardball

Stalk's decades of consulting experience have brought him to several strategies companies need to follow if they want to be hardball players.

Unleash Massive and Overwhelming Force. After Eagle Snacks grabbed a 6% share of the salty-snack business, Frito-Lay responded with an all-out war of quality improvements and price cuts. Eagle ultimately folded.

Threaten Your Competitor's Profit Sanctuaries. First, Japanese automakers attacked the U.S. car market, capturing more and more share while the Big Three gorged themselves on profits from SUVs. Now the Japanese are moving aggressively into that market.

Take It and Make It Your Own. In other words: borrow, mimic, copy. Microsoft does it, of course. But so does Ryanair, which has copied Southwest Airlines and transformed the airline industry in Europe.

Break Compromises. Don't go along to get along. If everybody in your business is closed on Sunday because, well, that's the custom, you should open your doors.

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