Have you ever wondered what business model is perfect for you? I mean the one whose products, services, delivery methods, and even customers match you perfectly? All you have to do is figure out your “hedgehog concept” and you will [eventually] be incredibly successful. The hedgehog is the intersection of your passion, your opportunity for leadership, and your bank account.
First you have to ask yourself what you are passionate about. This is the thing that wakes you up in the morning and keeps you up at night. Some people love a sport, or they love food, or others just love shoes. Ms. FrugalBeautiful clearly loves to look good without going broke in the process, and we clearly enjoy her work. Because businesses don’t make money every day so something has to keep you going on the slow days. The Barefoot Executive by Carrie Wilkerson has an excellent process for determining what you are good at, which can help.
The second thing you have to do is find your opportunity for leadership. Now it’s time to do some research. How can you be the best in your city, state, country, or even the world? If you can’t be the best at something, then you’re signing up to do something that has a ceiling. That means that after you become successful, you might remain unsatisfied with your work. Some people might be okay with this depending on their financial targets, but I don’t think you should be. You deserve to be a leader when you pour your passion into something.
The third thing you have to figure out is how the first two can put money in your bank account. You have to do the first two before this one, because money clouds our judgment. For example, some companies think of profit per customer visit, and others think of revenues per customer. Something you are passionate about and can be a leader in has to make money to qualify as a business. However, I need you to remember that this is the least important thing in the framework.
I was first introduced to this framework in the book “Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins. I highly recommend that you read it to get a better handle on the “hedgehog” concept (and find out why it’s called a hedgehog in the first place). You will learn that many of the greatest companies have used this to stay focused and profitable long-term. Please be patient with this, because it takes many people years to figure out. I figured out my hedgehog in no less than 13 years, but I assure you that it works. When you focus on a business with these three characteristics, you will be protected from mediocrity and can trust that when your business works, it will make you happy.
Albert Okagbue is a Certified Public Accountant with a passion for helping people make great financial decisions. He specializes in helping young adults manage college expenses, pay off student loans, and strategically increase long-term earning potential. Read his blog at www.studentloancpa.com or follow him on Twitter @Studentloancpa.
I love the hedgehog concept. I have often become frustrated by the all to often said “follow your passion” advice so widely distributed.
I don’t disagree with this advice it is just that I think it only represents part of the picture. I have to find creative ways to use my passion to create value so people are wiling to pay for a product.