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The Red Queen Hypothesis

red-queen.jpgWhen the economy is booming and cash is easy to come by, anyone can throw up a shingle and find some success. But it's times like these that truly weed out the underperformers. At the end of this recession, only those with the best plans, backup plans and survival strategies will be left standing. Those lucky few can take a lesson from nature.

In honor of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday anniversary, we remember that both in business and in evolutionary biology, it's all about the survival of the fittest and adapting to the ever-changing economy.

The Red Queen Hypothesis in evolutionary biology states that to survive an evolving system, one must co-evolve with the best traits to survive that system. Taken from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, the Red Queen tells Alice as they run a race against each other, "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

As the economy declines and evolves, your role as the entrepreneur is to develop survival skills to keep your business in the running. That means you must do double the work your competitors are doing and take more initiative to keep yourself on top. Whether this means revamping your marketing, getting a business coach or scaling back your budget, what you do in these times is a test to your true viability. Remember, you're competing with a lot of other companies to fill those consumer niches. When people's jobs and money are at stake, you're likely to see more sabotage and selfishness for people and companies vying for the top spot.

For you as the entrepreneur, stay quick and adaptable--as circumstances change, you must change, and your business must change. Don't let the recession drag you down. It's time to run the race and evolve as an entrepreneur.

--Jessica Chen

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