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3 Things Your Small Business Can Learn From Cats


There’s no shortage of self-proclaimed business gurus around to offer you business advice, but there’s one problem: they’re all human. We suggest something a bit more innovative. You should actually take your cues from cats when starting a small business. Yes, we said cats. Here are three things your small business can learn from the average cat.

1. Have a Strong Online Presence

The Internet was seemingly made for felines, as you can’t scroll through any social media site without hitting some kind of cat content. It could be something funny, like a video of a cat getting startled by a toaster, or something heartwarming, like a photo of two cats embracing each other while they sleep. But if there are cats involved, it tends to get views, clicks, and likes.

This doesn’t mean you should post a video of employees being startled by a toaster. But it does mean you should work to ensure you have a strong online presence, and one that represents your brand accurately. Your business website is a big part of your business identity, but so are smaller things like the business email address you use when responding to customers’ queries.

You can start building your identity before your company is even open for business. For example, you could create a social media account and take people on a behind-the-scenes tour of how your business is preparing to open. Once you’ve gotten your followers invested, invite them to a grand opening event.

2. Adapt to Non-Traditional Working Hours

Cats are crepuscular, which means they tend to have the most energy at dawn and dusk. That’s why in the summer, your cat might wake you up at 5 AM demanding breakfast, even though your regular alarm clock doesn’t wake you up until 7 AM.

A 2005 Gallup poll found that 62% of small business owners reported working more than 50 hours a week. That kind of schedule doesn’t leave much time for cat naps. When you’re a small business owner, something can require your attention at just about anytime of day. Unlike cats, you won’t be getting up at 5 AM to hunt mice, but you might have to get up at 5 AM to get your shop ready to open at 9 AM. If you don’t have a storefront and work from home, you might have to get up before sunrise to start preparing packages for shipment.

Eventually, your business may become so successful that it runs like a well-oiled machine with or without you around. But it takes a long time to get there, and some businesses never reach that point. Be prepared to work outside the usual 9-5, but take cues from cats by disconnecting when appropriate. Even if you don’t get to nap, maybe you can find some sunshine and relax for a bit.

3. Be Selective About the Company You Keep

Cats are choosy about who they hang out with. If you live with a roommate and the cat doesn’t want to hang out with the roommate, they’ll simply leave the room (or in some cases, stare at said roommate until the roommate becomes uncomfortable and declares they’re going for a walk).

You can adapt this method in your business life. If you’re looking for business partners, only partner with people you admire and know well. Don’t invite someone to join your LLC based purely on a flattering Instagram message they send you, for instance. Vet potential business partners.

To perform such vetting, consider attending professional networking events. Your local chamber of commerce may host these, and they’re a great opportunity to get to know fellow small business owners. Look for local business workshops as well. And if you live in an area without a lot of in-person business events, look online for podcasts, workshops, and even business message boards.

If you collaborate with an unreliable partner the first time, you may not get a second chance to do so. Cats may have nine lives, but your business may have more difficulty landing on its feet.

This entry was posted in Opinion.