This morning I saw a hare (big rabbit) duck under our fence with a coyote hot on his heels. The hare stopped and went motionless. The coyote could not fit through and stood 20 feet away, staring at the hare, trying to figure out how he could salvage his breakfast.

Who is trying harder?

The predator or the prey? The obvious answer is the prey. However, if the predator doesn’t eat on a regular basis they will eventually become too weak to catch food.

If your business is struggling, it may feel like you are the prey and the market is out to get you. In order to survive you have to try harder and do the right things; continuously.

If your business is doing well, you make the mistake of thinking you can coast. Hey, you have it made and are a business genius. But just like the coyote, eventually complacency leads to weakness. At that point you become unwilling or unable to adapt quickly to the market. Even a previously struggling competitor can unseat the current champion if they are not fully engaged.

Who can least afford to make a mistake?

The prey can only make a major mistake once; and then become dinner.

The same is true for a struggling business. You must always be on your game. But unlike the Hare, you need to take more risks; you are risking the venture not your life. I am talking calculated risks here not gambling risks.

If your business is doing well you have two luxuries: time and money. You can afford to take some risks because you have a cushion. The mistake you can’t afford to make is taking your customers for granted or being complacent. Still, sometimes one mistake can do in even the greatest companies; it just takes a bigger mistake.

Who does the audience empathize with more?

It depends who you are and your perspective. Some people admire the predator and some cheer on the prey. If you are a gardener or farmer, a large population of herbivores such as the hare can destroy your crops. Coyotes are smart and very adaptable; yet they get more fear and hatred than respect.

I think people admire (and fear) the aggressive predator, yet cheer on the underdog (the prey) in many cases.

The trick in business is to be smart, adaptable and competitive while keeping the respect and empathy of your customers.