The Hedgehog Concept & Why It's Crucial in Marketing & Business

As part of my MBA, I studied a great book titled ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins.
The book explores the foundations of some of the biggest and longest lasting companies that have impacted human society in recent history, and I’d like to give you the essence of it today.

Me with a Hedgehog in Bali!

One of the major concepts in the book was the Hedgehog Concept:

When a hedgehog gets into trouble, it rolls into a ball, sticks its spines out, and it does that one thing really well.

A fox will try to eat the hedgehog when it’s hungry and it will try lots of things; it will try to bite it, burrow into its holes, or try to pick up sticks and hit the hedgehog. The fox has a diversified approach. The Hedgehog does its task so well that the fox will never be able to penetrate its spikes. The hedgehog has one strategy and does it unbelievably well. It never tries to do anything else!

I think if you take that mindset, for you as a hedgehog now – ask yourself: what are the things that you do well? What are the things that you can now outsource and allow the people who can do that really well, which is their hedgehog, do for you?

I don’t think that cost will be an issue for you when you get on to these sites. If you’re willing to invest $500 as a startup, just put that aside and I think you’ll make that back pretty quickly, if you’re smart with your marketing strategies.

Tying it all together, you need to look back and think, “Am I hedgehog or am I fox?” or “Is what I’m doing now making me a hedgehog or a fox?” I dare say, most people are foxes, breeding a team of foxes.

The Hedgehog Concept can be explained in this diagram. Just google it for a more detailed explanation of each area!

That mindset will help to keep you on track, because when you get into the daily grind of doing things, you sit down and you read and consume more courses and all of a sudden there’s five more things you need to add on to your list, it’s very easy to get caught up in, “Do I have to do this now? I have to get this done!”

It’s not what you’re busy doing, but are you busy doing what? Because I think everybody’s busy. I’ll finish with a quote that I heard from Jim Rohn and that is, “Never confuse activity with achievement.”

That’s a powerful quote, because people are always active. They’re always moving and they’re always busy, but they’re not always achieving, and there’s a big difference.

Most people study blog articles or buy courses and training programs and learn all of this and are told these things over and over, but most people will never actually go and implement!

That creates a sense of momentum, and I think momentum is really important here because you need to have a celebration of small achievements. And in order for a small achievement to occur, you have to at least have taken some sort of action.

Simply put, if you’re feeling a sense of, “I can’t do this, it’s too technical” – you’re a fox – and it’s time to be a hedgehog! And it’s one very common blockage that people fall for early on. Hopefully not you after reading this!

3 Responses to “The Hedgehog Concept & Why It's Crucial in Marketing & Business”

  • Roger:

    Thanks for sharing West. Great book isn’t it? As part of the matrix you have above, I found a really powerful question to compliment what I can be the best in the world at was: “What can I ACTUALLY be the best in the world at” Not what I hope to be the best at, not what I aim to be the best at, but what CAN I actually be the best at. Regarding economic drive, my understanding is its based on the 80:20 rule i.e If you could increase one ratio above all other ratios at Profit/x, what one x would give you the highest rate of return over time? Some excellent reminders.

  • West,

    This is a useful article and I love the picture of you with the hedgehog! Thanks for the diagram. It’s something I’m going to post so I can see it everyday. Like Tony Robbins says, “take massive action!”


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