How Do Cheetahs relate to the Business Environment

Why did the lion always lose at poker? Because he was playing with cheetahs…

There are lots of interesting facts about cheetahs, for instance they are the fastest land animal being able to reach speeds of around 113kph and they can accelerate from a standstill to that speed in just a few seconds. However, they can only maintain that top speed for a few minutes before they are too tired to continue.

Additionally, they are among the smaller members of the big cat families, another interesting fact is that they are the only big cats that cannot roar, instead they predominantly purr. Unlike other members of the big cat family they hunt during the day and have amazing eyesight- being able to see prey up to 5km away. However unusually for a cat they have very poor night vision. They are unable to climb trees. Their blunt claws are poorly designed to protect themselves and will usually give up their catches to avoid a confrontation. Also, they only need to drink every three to four days.

You may well wonder why I’m sitting here writing out facts about big cats from the African continent and it’s not that I’ve been watching a big cat special on Discovery or anything. It’s more about being suited to your environment and circumstances. As a comparison a lion in short bursts can hit a top speed of 80kph and an adult male can weigh in at an impressive 190kg, more than double the weight of a cheetah.

Lions and cheetahs are each genetically built to be the best possible predator within their own environmental constraints. In our businesses where do we sit?

Do we try to straddle as many potential business areas and environments as we can be exposed to, or do we excel in one particular market or sector?

It’s always a delicate balancing act, between trying to reach as many potential customers as possible and being an acknowledged expert in one industry or field.

The adage, “You can be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond” was never more apt. Where do our products and our businesses sit? What model best suits our needs and gives us the maximum potential for success?

Are we better being like the cheetah, built for agility and speed, or a lion, built for power and strength? Your environment and purpose will tell you.

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