Do you follow your Hedgehog Concept?

Purpose.     Moneymaker.     Talent.

Three ingredients that keep you focused on building a successful business. It does seem like they are obvious but sometimes our enthusiasm or our desperation clouds our thinking. How do you keep them in mind when new opportunities, new resources, and new people cross your path? Good To Great: Why Some Businesses Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by Jim Collins has a simple three question formula to help you with that focus. This is a terrific book and  Collins presents several useful and provocative ideas throughout this book but the winner overall is the Hedgehog Concept.

What is the Hedgehog Concept? This three question formula is a way to focus yourself when you get a new idea or some other opportunity comes your way.

The three questions as Jim Collins poses them are:

1. What can you be the best in the world at?

2. What drives your economic engine?

3. What are you deeply passionate about?

The beauty of these questions is that they apply to novice entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, or entrepreneurial small business owners. They speak to your core values and the purpose of your small business. When innovation is an integral part of your business culture, planning and research are necessary tasks. Integrating the Hedgehog Concept into the early stage of planning supports motivation and momentum as well as saving money and time.

Take one of your new ideas or opportunities that has presented itself to you recently and evaluate it. How does it fit in your skill set? Does it fit in with your Unique Selling Proposition or how you differentiate yourself from your competitors? How is it similar to the services and products that already bring in revenue? Even if it is something you have never done before, does it seem to fit your “family” of products and services? On a rating scale of 0 (nothing) to 10 (absolutely ecstatic), how much does this idea or opportunity light your fire? By including these questions as your touchstone in the early stages, you know whether or not to go through the market research, product/service development, and the financial planning.

What if you can’t answer the questions? You are getting fabulous information from the process. Getting clarity about your business and yourself has an ROI too! There are times when we stray from what is most important to us or we feel we ought to follow through because we got advice from a mentor or advisor. Sometimes good ideas are not yours to pursue. Is it all right to give yourself permission to let something or someone go elsewhere?

How do you use the Hedgehog Concept?

Photo by GlobalP, iStockphoto

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