Cold-Blooded Business Lessons

small-business-snakesI had just walked into my garage when I caught something out of the corner of my eye, a glimpse of a tail disappearing under the car. Getting down on my hands and knees, I peeked under the car and confirmed what I thought I’d seen…

A snake!

I had the presence of mind to slowly back up before I started screaming. After all, I didn’t want to scare it. But as soon as I had the chance, I yelled to my four year old son to “come quick!”

I didn’t want him to miss this.

As we watched the snake explore the garage before heading off into the yard, I tried to teach him a few things about snakes (beyond what he knows from cartoons).

Who knows what stuck and what didn’t. I guess we’ll find out the next time a snake visits.

But as I was talking to him, I realized that I was basically writing a blog post. Snakes have some cool traits that have close parallels for small business. So without further ado, here’s the secrets of successsssss, serpent-style:

  1. Shed your skin. A couple times a year, snakes will slough off their outer layer of skin. Not only do they look sleek, but this process allows them to grow and gets rid of parasites. What could an image refresh do for you?
  2. Be vigilant. Snakes not only keep an eye out for danger, they’re built to be sensitive to vibration and their ever-flicking tongues are picking up all the smells on the wind. If something’s going on nearby, a snake probably knows about it. Are you just as attuned to what’s happening in your business environment?
  3. Be cold-blooded. Snakes don’t generate their own body heat, they soak up heat from the sun.  It makes for rough winters, but has an advantage. It takes a lot more food to maintain a constant body temperature like warm-blooded animals, so snakes and other cold-blooded animals make much more efficient use of their food resources. In other words, they’re low-overhead. Are you?

For all the bad press that snakes get (imagine if a cute fuzzy koala had handed Eve that apple), they’re remarkable animals that play a vital role in the ecosystem.  So the next time you see one, don’t run for the shovel. Just step back, watch, admire … and maybe pick up a business pointer or two.

*Photo credit HerpJournal

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