WAR clouds are gathering.
This time you won't face the swart gevaar or
the rooi gevaar. The threat comes from international business. Your
foes are offshore corporations that want to muscle in on your
And you're vulnerable.
South Africa's return to the world stage brought with it
wide-ranging social, political and economic repercussions.
And the seismic waves that accompanied it shook the
foundations of artificial barriers that isolated you from the
harsh realities of competitive international trade.
But, for the moment, the skies remain blue, lulling you
into a sense of false security. Which reminds me of an old
Chinese proverb that packs a lot of wisdom into only nine
'A wise man never sees a wholly cloudless day,'
Whether you choose to see them or not, the clouds are
gathering. And they're the clouds of war. Business is war.
And the conflict in which you're about to become embroiled
will leave many casualties.
At stake: market share.
This time you won't be fighting your traditional rivals,
the domestic companies that serve the same markets you do.
This time you'll be defending your territory against cross-
border invaders. Sophisticated foreign companies with access
to state-of-the-art production equipment. And they're located
in countries where high levels of productivity are taken for
You'll be fighting for your company's life against astute
business people who have imbued their employees with a culture
of customer service ... business people who'll waive short-
term profits in exchange for a healthy slice of your market.
You can win
Although you'll be on the defensive, you can stem the tide
of invasion. And you can win. You have to win.
As Sir Winston Churchill put it: 'Without victory there is
If you believe military strategists, winning requires the
application of boldness, bravery and aggression at just the
right time and just the right place.
To win, you must take quick, decisive action.
It was Napoleon Bonaparte who said: 'Hesitation and half-
measures lose all in war.'
But you can't take decisive action to force your
opponent's hand unless you know who he is ... where he is and
what strategy he'll use to force his way into your market.
And you won't win unless you have well-thought out, practical
Hence this book.
In Look Out. A survival guide on how to cope with the international business onslaught, I've compiled a survival
guide for South African businesses in the line of fire. And
that means any type of commercial and industrial endeavour
with a profit potential.
170 local companies
The information on which I base my observations and
conclusions has, for most part, been provided by 170 local
companies - large, small and in-between.
Look Out. A survival guide on how to cope with the international business
onslaught will show you how to determine
the degree to which your business is threatened.
I also explain what counter-measures other South African companies will
take, if any, to ward off the raiders, and measures you should adopt to keep
your market intact are suggested. There are three summary chapters, the last
of which has been designed for use as a checklist when you prepare your
The general election in April 1994 marked the end of an era during which
government-imposed trade barriers ensured that South African business never
had it so good.
But those halcyon days are over. And Look Out. A survival guide on how to
cope with the international business onslaught provides
a timely reminder that no one is ever safe from competition.