Parable of the hawk and the dove

In the world of nature everything is about opportunity.

This truth was apparent the one day when we heard a thump on the roof of our office. As I looked out of the window a red tailed hawk rolled off the roof with a mourning dove in his talons. They rolled around in the underbrush and then the hawk took flight to the cover of a low-growing live oak. There he perched to feast on his meal of opportunity; the mourning dove.

Many reading this will think the hawk cruel for devouring the dove and some might wish for the demise of the hawk. From where I sit, I think this is a lesson in seizing opportunity.

As a small business owner, how hungry are you?

If you are hungry, how do you find your next project? Do you do as the hawk and fly across your territory watching for the slightest twitch or negligence? The truth is that the dove only became hawk food because he was not placing his attention where it needed to be: on being aware of what was happening around him. It’s the same in business. If someone “eats our lunch” in business, it’s because we may have been negligent one too many times.

Be aware

Whether we are in a pandemic, an economic recession, depression or boom, being too satiated keeps us from being aware. Throughout nature, critters have a way to know when opportunity arrives. Spiders sense the filaments of their web twitching; fish feel the vibrations of the water moving as flies land on its surface. Animals have a territory that they diligently monitor, making it their business to know what happens in their territory. We many not need to act on all the intelligence we gain, but it is our responsibility to know. And we must be prepared to respond to our intuition and the cues we gather from our intelligence.

Here are a few tips to keep the business hawks out of our dovecote:

  1. Be vigilant to all opportunities.
  2. Follow up on all leads.
  3. Respond in a timely manner to inquiries.
  4. Even when you don’t think you need to, circulate.
  5. Remain powerful; not only physically, but mentally. Knowing you are capable is half the way to gaining the opportunity.
  6. Don’t judge until you have all the information needed to make a decision.

How do you find your business opportunities? Share your insights in the comments.

Photo Credit: Thanks to Flickr user USFWS Mountain-Prairie for the featured photo.


How are customers like E.F. Hutton?

How much does your brand stand out?

Does your brand’s marketing start a conversation or do you preach to your customers? Do you ask them what they think, what they want and what they like? Do you offer them a forum where they can share their thoughts with you? When they speak, do you listen? And conversely, when you speak to they pay attention?

Vintage commercial screen image from EF Hutton tv ad.

There’s a classic commercial campaign for EF Hutton that dramatically makes the point.  Two individuals are discussing investments. One asks the other what his broker advises and when the response is, “Well, my broker is EF Hutton…and EF Hutton says,” the entire room (or plane of passengers in this instance) stops, leans out to hear what it is that EF Hutton advises. The ad’s voice over pronounces,  “When E.F. Hutton talks…people listen.” All the surrounding people in each ad stop, turn, or come closer to hear what pearls of wisdom are about to be spilled. It ought to be the case for your firm as well. Our reputations ought to be so trusted, so well respected that when people speak the name of our business, people stop, turn and pay attention.

Why to do you want to be an authority?

Developing authority so you and your firm are considered sources for information is a critical component of your public relations and marketing activity. When you and your team are authorities on topics, you may serve as sources to help the news media and to position the brand in a manner that is distinctive. Every company has a niche. It is up to you to comprehend what makes your services or good better than your competitors. When setting your brand apart, these advantages must be constantly called out so that potential customers pay attention and recall them when they have a need for the services you provide. However, besides pointing out your differences and distinctiveness, you also need to listen to your customers.

Why do you want to listen to your customers?

Ignoring your customers’ point of view is to ignore the best source of marketing research you can have. In order to develop authority, one must listen to one’s customers. Paying attention to their needs, wants, objections and issues informs the way you provide services, develop products and solve issues. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re missing a key opportunity to understand what they expect.

Find out how to grow from listening to your customers.