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Are You a Tortoise or a Hare in Your Business?

Susan L Reid

I'm a tortoise. I admit it.

When it comes to new business ideas, I'm not generally a fast adopter. While other small business owners are quick to implement and incorporate ideas, I like to hang back and consider them.

In some ways, however, I'm more hare than tortoise. Yes, I like to be as thoughtful and careful as tortoise in my approach when making the big decisions about my business. Once those big decisions are made, though, I make ancillary decisions with the great speed and precision of hare.tortoise and hare

As the fabled main characters in Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare lined up for their race, each was favoring her strengths. The tortoise was focused on the end goal and knew she could go the distance. The hare knew she was fast. She counted on being able to catch up when she made the decision to stop for some food and a quick nap.

When it comes to adopting new ideas and making decisions for your business, are you more like the tortoise or the hare? Are you speedy out of the gate or slow and steady to the end?


The Tortoise Speaks

  • One of my most redeeming qualities is that, if I say I'm going to do something, I will.
  • I am steady and know how to pace myself.
  • I have an abundance of sustainable energy and have the courage and commitment to see things through.
  • I like looking at things from different angles and will often seek input before making a decision.
  • Having to make a quick decision makes me feel pressured.
  • More than once, I've waited too long to make my mind up about something and have found that the window of opportunity has passed me by.
  • I do things when they both “feel right" and “think right." Not before.
  • Hares bug me.

hareThe Hare Jumps In

  • One of my most redeeming qualities is that I am flexible and can maneuver nimbly in changing environments.
  • I am spontaneous, adventurous, and like lots of variety in my life.
  • I can easily think outside the box and am great at generating ideas.
  • I'm at my best when starting up something.
  • Having to stay focused on one thing makes me feel pressured.
  • More than once, I've found it difficult to complete a project, losing interest half way through.
  • I do things when they feel "right" to me and trust my gut instincts, implicitly.
  • Tortoises bore me.

In today's business environment, you can see evidence of both tortoise and hare decision-making processes. You notice some business owners who are jumping at anything and others who are slow to consider. Nevertheless, given our current economic conditions, it will take the winning characteristics of both the tortoise and the hare to get things done this year.

When it comes to making decisions about your business, you'll do best when you can find ways to combine the thoughtfulness, sustainability, and commitment of the tortoise with the adaptability, flexibility, and maneuverability of the hare.

The Moral of the Story

Slow and steady wins the race when flexibility sets the pace.

Copyright © 2009 by Susan L. Reid

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Copyright ©2009 by Susan L. Reid, DMA

Intuitive small business start-up expert Dr. Susan L. Reid is the award-winning author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success, and business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up home-based business for the very first time.

If you are feeling both excited and overwhelmed at the prospect of starting a business and haven’t a clue where to begin, help is a click away. Get your free PDF copy of “Doing What You Love: Multiple Streams of Passion” at

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