In my opinion, one of the top ten business books of all time is Jim Collins’ Good to Great. In the book, Collins investigates why certain companies outstrip their competition. One reason, he believes, is the Hedgehog Concept.
The Hedgehog Concept is based on the old parable, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”. Foxes can try to attack hedgehogs in many ways. They are crafty, and approach problems from different angles. However, hedgehogs only have one mission as their focus — defending themselves — so they slowly, carefully roll up tightly into a ball. Time and time again, they win out over the cunning fox.
There are many “fox” companies in the world: Like FedEx, which does shipments, but also office services. Time Warner was once a “fox” company, owning AOL, Warner Music Group and more.
However, there are some hedgehog companies that really get it right. Krispy Kreme is an example of a hedgehog company. Krispy Kreme has excelled at one thing since its founding — doughnuts — and they’ve never tried to market themselves as anything else. Another company that gets it right is Wyzowl; they make only animated explainer videos, and companies from across the world seek them out as partners.
In business, companies that try to conquer too many things at once won’t necessarily succeed. Instead, companies should be focused on one big thing, like the hedgehog, then devote all their energy, time and efforts to it.