The hedgehog concept, articulated by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, is often the crux of successful business building for an entrepreneur. As a coach, I’ve worked with several clients to help them articulate their hedgehog as a cornerstone of a new business. While it’s a great activity to do with a coach, an energetic entrepreneur can work on discovering and implementing their hedgehog with the help of some accountability partners.
This is the first part of a five part series on the entrepreneur’s hedgehog. For an initial understanding of the Hedgehog concept, we wholeheartedly recommend that you read Chapter Five of Good to Great. For audio learners, Jim Collins provides several videos and audios on his website. While we rely on Jim Collins for the initial idea, the extensions of his concept to small business owners has developed over a number of years. This part will focus on the hedgehog concept as a whole and three decisive benefits that come with the activity.
For Jim Collins, the hedgehog concept “requires a deep understanding of three intersecting circles translated into a simple, crystalline concept (the Hedgehog concept).” The three circles make a traditional Venn diagram.
On its face, the concept is easily graspable. Find out what you are passionate about, can be the best at, and make money. The next three pieces in this series will explore the three circles. For right now, we want to explore three reasons why you want to find your hedgehog.
First, your hedgehog is your one thing. Just imagine—no matter what else goes on in your world, you have this thing that you can do in a world class manner, you love doing it, and it makes you money. Circle it, star it, underline it, and tape it to your refrigerator. There is absolutely nothing else than can do all three things.
Second, your hedgehog is the core of your marketing. We will talk more about this in part 4 on making money with your hedgehog. Think of your hedgehog as being your brand—the core that creates evangelists. It becomes an almost no-fail path to sales and marketing.
Third, your hedgehog lasts as long as you do. It’s who you are. It’s built into your DNA as what you can do as best in the world. You can do other things, but few of them will feel as natural and as comfortable as being a hedgehog.