The shortest path to achieving your business goals may not be to aim directly at the destination.
“Always aim for the Moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
― W. Clement Stone
The meaning of this is that if you aim big, even if you miss you will still achieve great things.
But what if you actually want to hit the moon?
Chasing the Moon
Aiming your spaceship at the moon is not the shortest and fastest way to get to the moon. In fact, by the time you even see the moon that is where it was 1.3 seconds ago.
If you blast off from Earth at a reasonable clip and aim at the moon you will need to adjust course frequently because it is moving. The Earth is rotating. The moon is revolving around the Earth. Both are moving through space.
Eventually your course corrections would leave you chasing the moon.
Depending on how fast you are moving you could expend a lot of extra time and energy catching it. If you are going too slow you may never catch it.
Catching the Moon
Instead of aiming at the moon and correcting course, aim where the moon will be.
That is the shortest and fastest path to the moon.
Simple Versus Effective Strategy
If your target is static, aiming at it and moving towards it is a great strategy.
If it is moving, a more effective strategy is to try to anticipate where it will be.
I used to have one border collie that was an expert at predicting where the frisbee would be. The other one tries to go where it is. The first one had a much higher catch rate.
Many businesses try to see what their competitors are doing and catch them. Sometimes they will try to get a little ahead. But if you have lots of competitors and they are moving, catching them can take a lot of time and energy.
At best you are as good as them.
Instead focus on learning everything about your customers. Where are they going? What are their biggest concerns? What changes are coming up for them? Etc.
Then, let your competitors chase you. They will spend more energy than you and their costs will be higher.
That is the shortest path to catching customers.
Actually, if you do that right, they will chase and catch you.