1. Leverage your strengths

  2. Pinpoint your company's relative strengths--a hometown advantage, say--and use them to get a leg up on rivals.

  3. Keep rivals guessing

  4. A moving target is harder to attack, so innovate constantly. Then, throw up barriers to entry by obtaining patents and trademarks.

  5. Know when to retreat

  6. Some customers may not be worth defending. If an unprofitable market segment is under attack, consider focusing marketing resources elsewhere.

  7. Make customer satisfaction a priority

  8. Happy customers, of course, are less likely to jump ship. Solicit and analyze customer feedback regularly, and make any necessary changes.