Some businesses can be compared to the 100m dash. Very few variables, the course is completely predictable, and at the end of the day the strongest/fastest man wins.
This is rare.
Most businesses are more like yachts in a sailing race. Many variables, unpredictable conditions, and unlike the 100m dash, you can make strategic choices that affect the outcome of the race.
As the captain of the boat you can either chart your own course or copycat.
The copycat tactic turns the race into a straight test of strength and waiting for the other guy to make a mistake. That means winning is out of your hands.
Entrepreneurs play to win.
Don’t copycat. Chart your own course.
It is trickier. There are many variables, for example: wind speed & direction, ocean current speed & direction, position in relation to other boats.
Even more important for the skipper is to predict the future. “Will the wind turn? Will a storm arrive? For the first leg should I tack upwind and pray the wind holds for a downwind finish, or race downwind and back myself to build a big enough lead for the upwind tack?”
You must take a view of the future and back yourself.
If you’ve ever been in a boat race you’ll know this is easier said than done. It’s not comforting to watch the fleet racing off with a tail wind whilst you tack against the same wind so as to have a better angle to the finish line.
What use is having a better angle if the race is finished by the time you head for the line?
But you also know its pointless following the herd, because they’ll simply bludgeon you to death with sheer numbers.
The best skippers can read the weather, predict the future, and most importantly, have the balls to ignore the crowd.
Chart your own course.