Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Hedgehog Concept

Chris LoCurto

By

April 10, 2013

How To Make Your Business Last

April 10, 2013 | By | 50 Comments">50 Comments

Here’s a guest post on making your business last by Joel Fortner. He specializes in helping entrepreneurs be better marketers, and is the author of the blog, Get Serve Keep. You can guest post as well. Read how to here. Oh, and there’s something very special only for ChrisLoCurto.com readers at the end of this post!

Chris LoCurto, Leadership, Business, Strategic Planning

Once a business is up and running and revenue is steadily coming in, the last thing you want to do is put it on cruise control.

Besides finding ways to optimize and grow it, you need to figure out your plan to make the business last.

This weekend I was doing a marketing audit with small business entrepreneur Bret Wortman of Somerset Penworks and long-time reader of Chris’s blog, and he told me a story you must hear!

The Story

Years ago, Bret used to frequent a bar in the Washington D.C. area that served very high-quality beer. He was a beer judge back then so he knew quality when he tasted it.

During a visit to the bar with some friends and fellow beer judges, they ordered a round of draft beer that had a bad flavor. They all immediately knew what the problem was – the keg lines hadn’t been flushed well when they were last cleaned.

They alerted the bar tender to the issue, and instead of thanking them, he told them they’re wrong and the lines are fine! Quite taken aback, they told the bartender they’re all beer judges, and they know what they’re talking about.

But the bartender wouldn’t have any of it. This situation came on the heels of several other major missteps during their visit.

Fast forward a few years, Bret said he popped into the bar and it had changed. They were now offering happy hour specials and food, put in dart boards, and other stereotypical bar offerings.

The owner was chatting with him and another customer. The owner asked what they thought about putting in a pool table.

The one customer said he thought it was a great idea, but not Bret, who told the owner that putting in a pool table would be the end of the bar.

And here’s the priceless lesson for you.

The Lesson You Must Remember

Bret basically told the owner that the bar had lost its identity. Years ago, it was the THE place for top quality beer and it appealed to those who sought it out. That was what distinguished it from competitors.

Over a few years, they lost their way and did what so many panicking entrepreneurs do. They broadened themselves thinking they’d appeal to more people, and over time they diluted the brand. They no longer stood for anything.

What the owner should have done was gone back to the basics of what made them popular in the beginning and hyper-focused on being the best at that one thing.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, gave this a name – the Hedgehog Concept.

In the book, he tells a story about a determined fox and the simple hedgehog. The fox keeps coming up with new ideas to eat the hedgehog, but the hedgehog easily defeats him by doing his one trick: rolling into a prickly ball.

If you want your business to last, be a hedgehog.

Question: Are you practicing the hedgehog concept well?

Only for ChrisLoCurto.com readers, click here to sign up for a FREE recorded videocast of Chris LoCurto on how to make your business last! If this isn’t enough, the first 25 people to sign up get an incredible gift!