Know Your Hedgehog

Jim Collins in his amazing book “Good to Great“, talks about the Hedgehog concept, which is the core of your business. If you understand your hedgehog concept, and stick to it with devotion, your company can become great.

Collins uses the parable of the clever devious fox and the simple hedgehog. The fox keeps coming up with new ideas to eat the hedgehog, but the hedgehog beats him by employing his one simple trick.

Rolling up into an inedible ball of thorns.

You simply have to answer three questions.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What can you be the best at?
  • What can you actually make a living at?

If you answer those three questions, you figure out what the core of your business is.

One of the biggest problems with the companies I’ve started is that the founders are all talented individuals who have had some success with our individual competencies. It’s the dilemma of choice that’s actually quite paralyzing.

I am quite good at video stuff, and I could create a video company in an instant. The programmers I worked with are ridiculous programmers, and would be perfectly happy building perfect systems. The business guys I worked with were awesome business guys, who could sneeze genius business plans and business improvements. Some people are passionate about good code, and they want time to make things awesome. Others are obsessed with playing around with marketing and getting revenue quickly.

The one thing we all agree on is that we love creating value quickly. We can do cool video stuff, can write genius code, work on business and marketing plans, and together we can all focus on making sure that we are creating an elegant, beautifully designed product that provides a valuable service.

My hedgehog concept is that I can show small business how to leverage the internet to punch above their weight. I can transform an offline business to make more money, get more customers, and have fun along the way.

My business mantra is:

  • I believe in doing work that is meaningful.
  • I believe that small business is important.
  • I believe that all businesses can be equal online
  • I believe that running a business can be fun.

My hedgehog concept is even simpler:

Beat the big guys. With a good online presence, you can meet bigger companies on a level playing field and beat them by having better products and services than they can offer because you can move faster.

 

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