This paper intends to describe examples of entrepreneurial growth and defensive strategies used by smaller firms against larger and aggressive competitors. It aims to focus specifically on the use of strategies of deception, which, for the purposes of this discussion, are defined as legal, but unexpected methods of pre‐empting or countering potentially harmful competitor actions.
These case examples of strategies of deception are drawn from two successful Australian firms, one from the horticultural industry, and the other from the petroleum retail industry. These cases are taken from a wider study of Australian entrepreneurs completed in 2009.
The two cases describe unique growth strategies that not only take market needs into consideration, but which are also designed to pre‐empt retaliatory strategies by competitors. One entrepreneur deploys a strategy designed to hide his success, giving the impression that his (very large firm) is only a very small family entity; the second entrepreneur takes this strategy further by completely hiding himself and his web of business interests from sight. This allows him to avoid aggressive competitive retaliatory behaviors. The strategies these entrepreneurs deploy are not unethical or illegal; rather, they offer a means of leveraging limited resourced firms against large, aggressive competitors.
These examples of strategies of deception are an extension from research originally reported in Pech. The case examples are valuable in their contribution to the study of entrepreneurial growth and defensive strategies, and provide insights into the means by which smaller firms can counter the presence of large and aggressive competitors.
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