We share fairy tales with children as a method of imparting sound advice in a way they can easily remember. It seems that the one about Three Little Pigs building houses is particularly well-suited for business.

In case you forgot:
One pig builds out of straw, another out of wood. These two enjoy the benefits of both a shelter, basic as it might be, and plenty of relaxation time while the third invests considerably more effort in building with brick. Life seems to be jolly until a big bad wolf comes to town. He huffs, and puffs the first two down while the house of brick sturdily protects all three pigs.

3_Little_Pigs___Houses_by_mcapplbeeMany business owners, founders, and CEOs are tempted by fast-tracked mergers, acquisitions, IPO’s and the like. They follow trends with insatiable appetites for ‘market share’. And provide media sources with countless stories of compensation structures that reward them for making numbers even when it is through temporary tactics of slashing workforce.

These sound like great examples of building businesses out of straw or wood.

Some, realized the tenets of the third pig and cleverly adapt another architectural method of constructing elaborate façades (definition: an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or credible reality). From the surface; it appears to be made with care, detail, and longevity in mind; yet the story drastically changes once you walk through the doorway.


In the case of this Louisville, KY landmark known as Heigold House. At one time there was a mansion attached that housed a prominent stone cutter and German immigrant. Notably, the façade was one of the few structures in the neighborhood to survive a major flood (referenced in this previous post).

Today it serves as a symbolic gateway into a reviving neighborhood close to its original location.

Business fundamentals from the story of Three Little Pigs:
1) It will take longer to build
2) It will require larger up-front investment
Doing this will ensure that your business will stand the test of time, competition, and a variety of big, bad wolves.

Is there more to your brand than just the façade?