Animal nutrition advice: Do not educate your competition

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

Animal nutrition advice: Do not educate your competition

Animal nutrition advice: Do not educate your competition

Sometimes, without it being our intention, we manage to educate our competition.

If Sun Tzu was a great general in the 5th century B.C., he would have been an even greater CEO of a major multinational firm today. In fact, there is a business book I read a long time ago showing how his fundamental axioms of war are equally applicable to business. I have to find that book again!

One of the great principles of Sun Tzu is to keep your operations secret, keep the enemy in the dark and let no one know your plans. The same applies to modern business. I recall a salesman who revealed the main ingredient of a successful product to our major client — and what do you know, the next month this client left us only to purchase the same ingredient elsewhere and mix it into their own products. Happily, this salesman did not end up like the head concubine of Sun Tzu’s well-known story about his meeting with the King of Wu. 

It should be an axiom within each company that anything we tell our sales force (and anyone who comes into contact with clients) will eventually be divulged, even in good nature, to our clients. These clients, in turn, will transfer everything to the competition, even if to check the validity of our claims. I have seen this happen to me when I was a field nutritionist, but I always refused to discuss competition claims, preferring to stick to my own guns.

So, unless you want to educate your competition, you need to draw a clear line of what leaves the room and what stays within the house. Otherwise, you may as well assume your competitors know everything you do.