The element of surprise isn’t bound to the battlefield, nor is it only something to spring on one’s enemies. Think business and clients.

I learned a few years ago, essentially by accident, that pleasantly surprising your clients is a remarkably simple way to set yourself apart from competition in a commoditized market. And unless you are one of the lucky few monopolies left in the world, you have competitors — competitors who are smart, motivated and determined to take business away from you.

Read more on my Business Journal column