Do you have the Hedgehog working for your business?

Ok, so I’ve had a tough month. Business-wise.

Well, actually, life-wise. As in life has been happening, bringing a confluence of intense challenges. And in tending to the needs of the moment, my business has practically ground to a halt.

I actually started wondering if this was some kind of ‘divine sign’ that I should give it up altogether…

Thankfully, I got another ‘divine sign’ that suggested something else entirely…

I’m a member of The Business Oasis… It’s an online community of business owners who want to make a difference and need to make a profit. And it’s open to anyone who’s read Mark Silver’s book Unveiling the Heart of Your Business (you can get it on his website, or ask me… I have a few copies here in Australia too.)

So I was browsing the community forum at The Oasis, when I came across a question from my friend Bevi (a Reiki practitioner in Geelong). She’d read a blog about the Hedgehog principle and wanted to know what on earth it was referring too.

Mark wrote back that it comes from Jim Collins‘ book Good to Great. He explained it like this:

A hedgehog stays focused on one thing. If something bothers him, he balls himself (or herself) up, and stays put until the threat disappears, and then continues along the same path. Nothing distracts this ‘hog.

The Hedgehog Principle, as a business term, refers to keeping that same focus in your business, and not getting distracted by the latest fad, by chasing yet ANOTHER target market, by trying lots of different things.

It consists of three parts:

– what you could be the absolute best at in your field/area- not just you, but in comparison to everyone around.
– what you are passionate about
– what drives your economic engine

So, for instance, you could be the best at pogo-ing, but you’re not passionate about it, and it’s not really a very profitable venture, so it’s not a good Hedgehog.

On the other hand, you could be decently good at building websites and you make good money at it, but you don’t have passion for it, so it’s not a good Hedgehog.

Or you could love teaching piano and you could make okay money at it, but when you look at yourself honestly, you realize you just aren’t that good at it, and that you’ve reached the limit of your talent. Not a good Hedgehog.

So, you want to see the intersection of those three points.

Passion. Best-at. Profitable.

It often takes some keen insight to truly get it. I highly recommend reading the chapter in Jim Collins’ book- it will make it abundantly clear.

Mark has a way of making things pretty clear. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, yeah, I had a tough month. And, fair enough, I balled up like a hedgehog… At least in respect to my business.

But now I’m unballing and moving forward…. Because, among other things that Soul Business has going for it, I’m passionate, I’m bloody good at what I do (I don’t mind saying… you can ask my clients if you don’t believe me), and the business can make a profit. (I say can because – especially after the last month – it’s the next thing I need to get back on track after unballing and moving forward.)

So, how about you?

  • Does the Hedgehog principle make sense for you and your business?
  • Do those three factors line up for you – passion, performance and profitability? (And if they don’t, what kind of adjustment would you need to make so they do?)
  • Would it help if you had permission to ‘ball up’ at passing threats? And encouragement to unball and keep going forward after?

I’m looking forward to your comments.

And if you’re after some more in-depth support, just ask.



4 Responses

  1. Tiara says:

    Ha! My passions are never going to be profitable (at least in the large scale of things) – the creative arts doesn’t tend to pay a lot! For me money in itself doesn’t really matter – as long as my needs are met, however they’re met, I’m good 🙂

    And I’d like a copy of Mark Silver’s book if that’s OK – I’m in Brisbane 🙂

  2. Wes says:

    Want my opinion? You are an awesome communicator!
    All my love, Wes

  3. yollana says:

    Hi Tiara,

    Yikes! Cringe… “My passions are never going to be profitable”. Who told you that?

    It’s definitely good to have a dose of realism about this stuff… And, um, never say never?

    My little inner “this could be a limiting belief” alarm bell just went off. I’ll have to write another post about it… It’s a big one.

    BUt thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad to hear from you agian because I’ve been meaning to get back in touch. Nothing like a comment on my own website for a nudge! I’ll email you 🙂

  4. yollana says:

    Awww… Thanks Wes 🙂

    You’re an awesome web developer, and business man, dad, and lots of other things!