Foxes often get a bad rep. Across literature, mythology and popular culture the fox is resoundingly seen as a cunning trickster; one who can outsmart the wolves, but who also isn’t afraid to eat some cute baby chicks along the way! 🦊
In Korean folklore, a Kumiho is a nine-tailed fox that is known not only for its shapeshifting ability, but its penchant for eating mens’ livers and hearts. 😨
Our disdain for foxes is even embedded in our language. The word shenanigan — defined as a secret or dishonest activity — is thought to come from the Irish expression sionnachuighim, which means “I play the fox”. Again the fox equals the bad guy.
However, foxes are more than just the cunning creatures they are portrayed to be. Their qualities are actually really admirable, and we can learn from them both as individuals and as professionals. 👔
In this article we’ll look at 5 lessons that foxes can teach us about growing a business. From their painstaking planning ability to their graceful guidance, Foxes are the business coach you never knew you needed.
As the old saying goes; “you fail to prepare and you prepare to fail”. A fox takes this mantra very seriously by articulating each move to ensure that it can catch its prey. If a fox smells food, it will slow down and listen to what it is around. Their senses help them find the best feeding spots and alert them to new food sources that become available. 🍴
Businesses should, similarly, use their growth strategy as a roadmap which guides their growth journey. A well-thought-out plan which anticipates all possible scenarios is the most effective way to be secure and grounded as your business grows. 📈
However, Foxes ability to plan (and execute) activities is just the tip of the iceberg. In the same way, a growth plan should initialise businesses’ future activity without being the only point of reference. Businesses should create a plan that is focused enough to drive your actions and record this data in a tool that is flexible enough to be updated as your growth journey develops.
To create a flexible plan that is nimble enough to respond to changes, your business needs tools that are flexible and can be scaled to match your needs. ⚡
Foxes are successful hunters not because of their physical strength but their ability to harness their own unique skills. They are devilishly attuned to these strengths such as their ability to use natural resources to their advantage.
For example, A 2011 study showed that Foxes use the earth’s magnetic field to hunt. As it sneaks toward its prey, the fox looks for that sweet spot where the angle of the sound hitting its ears matches the slope of the earth’s magnetic field. Hearing this sound tells the fox where its prey is located and enables the fox to calculate how far away to jump so that it lands right on this target. This synthesis of strategy and skill gives the fox a well-rounded personality; both strategic and intuitive, calculated and competitive. 🤝
Businesses looking to grow can learn from this combination. As you look to grow your business, think how you can draw on your existing strengths to create value for customers.
Through research, you will discover where you operate differently from your competitors and where you can naturally grow your operations. 🌰
Technology that can be customised allows you to play into these strengths with ease. Not your average off-the-shelf solution that is riddled with unnecessary features, but something that can be modified as required so that it guarantees your business’ competitive advantage
There are 12 ‘true’ types of fox, each needing to adapt to very different environments! Fennec foxes, for example, have developed many adaptations so that they can thrive in desert environments, including the ability to regulate their temperature by panting; their breathing rate can reach up to 690 breaths per minute! 💨
The Red Fox, too, is well known for its ability to adapt to humans and live in larger urban areas. So whether it’s Iceland or East London, Botswana or Bengal, one thing that remains consistent is a fox’s ability to adapt to their surroundings. 🌏
Can your business say the same? SMEs with a good chance of success are able to change directions quickly as the market changes. This point has only been emphasised by the pandemic, as nearly three out of five (58%) British businesses admit they could have done more to prepare, according to research from HSBC.
Adapting can also mean innovating. Growing your business often requires optimising existing processes if they’re slowing you down. If you are a marketing agency trying to expand your client roster, it will be difficult to succeed if you are still using spreadsheets to keep track of all the contacts.
So take a page from the foxes book and advance your adaptability. Seek solutions and tools that are flexible enough to support your business both today and in the future. 📑
Adaptable as they are, foxes still face numerous challenges. The arctic fox, for example, is faced with -50 degree temperatures and the threat of climate change. This has driven some foxes to extreme feats. Take the story of a young arctic fox which walked from Norway to Canada in 76 days! Faced with perilous weather conditions and dwindling food sources the fox ploughed on - covering over 2,000 miles on its travels. 🧳
Recounting this fox’s journey brings to mind the iconic motivational poster of “keep calm and carry on”, a slogan that businesses can lean on as they plough through their own challenges. Firms are heavily investing in technology to build this resilience, with research from our whitepaper showing that 89% of SMEs are already investing up to £10,000 in applications.
You build resilience into the solutions you use and maintain it in the culture you create for your business, both of which allow you to bounce back from challenges quickly. Armouring your operations with powerful technology solutions will give you the confidence to manage your data and face any challenges that may come up.
Young foxes are guided by their parents after they are born and sometimes fox mothers will go to great lengths to protect their pups. In 2009, for example, a fox pup that was caught in a wire trap for two weeks survived only because its mother brought food to it every day. 👩👦
Perhaps you have different levels of experience at your company. Think how you can leverage those more experienced players to mentor other individuals at your company, providing guidance and leading them to project success.
Finding the right tools is integral to this structure; it’s important to use solutions that ensure visibility throughout project activity and the ability to grant access to data where required. Enabling this workflow will help employees take ownership of objectives and ensure that they are aware of the role they play within your growth journey. 🏅
Gridfox is a work management tool that prides itself on its mammal namesake. We have built a platform that enables businesses to effectively manage their data without the time and resources required for a conventional bespoke software project. 💸
Gridfox allows companies of any kind to outfox the limitations of ill-fitting software products and risky spreadsheets - combining your exact requirements with the right software products.
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