What’s Your Hedgehog?

One of the most important components of the sales process is differentiation. Establishing what makes you different in the eyes of a potential client can go a long way in shortening the time it takes for you to land a prospective client.

I can’t even estimate the number of times I’ve heard designers respond to the question, “What is your design specialty?” with a variation of “Everything! I just love designing anything.” When we try to be everything to everybody, we effectively become nothing memorable to anybody.

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the importance of finding one’s “hedgehog.” In short, finding your hedgehog means discovering what you do well that no one else does. In time it begins to make you a competition of one.

The three parts of the hedgehog process are:

• Your economic engine – This is your target market and it must be large enough to carry your business.

• Your passion – What you’d choose to do even if you weren’t getting paid for it.

• Your “Best in the World” ability – How you determine what your ‘‘world” includes is up to you, but this is the value you deliver, the experience you leave your client with.

Once you overlap these three circles, the triangle in the middle should represent your unique offering – your hedgehog.

When potential clients come to understand what distinguishes you from everybody else, you not only become memorable to them, they also get to refer anyone who needs your specialty to you — the only person who does what you do. That makes the process of making sales a lot less aggravating for everybody concerned. When you know who the primary buyers of what you offer are, you can more easily channel your energy into serving those specific people rather than burning calories trying to churn up business.

Charles Gupton 


Charles Gupton photographs real people, really well. He loves listening to others’ stories and relishes the challenge of telling those stories visually.







By Charles Gupton
Published August 25, 2011