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Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It takes a very determined and open-minded personality to take that jump off the proverbial cliff into starting their own business. Once you take that dive, things can get pretty thick, pretty quickly. Most businesses fail before they even get started. So how do you choose the most effective plan of action to get your head above water and build that traction needed to go from failure to success?

Looking for a key to success is not always easy to find.  The strategy for success is not a one-step, no-brainer type of scenario.  In fact, a majority of successful entrepreneurs will tell you that the best idea is to create your plan, then use that plan of attack, instead of making the moves up as you go. If we had to choose those ideas that make a business work from the ground up, where do you begin? What does that success look like and what steps can you take as a business owner to get there?

To find out the answers, we tread water while examining what the experts have to say. Peter S. Cohan, the author of “Hungry Start-up Strategy,” believes that there are specific key strategic decisions that entrepreneurs should make to create success.

Cohan interviewed over 150 entrepreneurs in his research and found these specific characteristics in each of their start-up strategies.

Finding Key People

Attracting valuable people for your business is absolutely necessary when launching a successful start-up. Talent is still by and far a difficult thing to attract, especially when competing against larger, more notable companies within your industry.

Cohan wrote in Forbes: “ … The right mission can inspire terrific talent. And if a startup commits to an IPO or acquisition, this could help convince an investor that the firm will make him or her richer.”

Marketing Your Success

When putting together your business plan, a large chunk of your thought process should go into which market you are looking to break into and why.

In Cohan opinion: “ … An entrepreneur should pick a market about which he or she feels a deep passion and that is big enough to help the firm become a $100 million company even if the founder only receives 10 percent of it.”


Funding your business can become a tricky situation.  While it may be necessary to begin business at a much lower rate then you intend to charge later, there is still the obligation to pay for daily operations.  The need to get your business profitable as quickly as possible is always a goal that start-up business owners have to keep in the forefront.

To this Cohan writes: “ … To keep control, a company can borrow on its credit card or crowdfund until it has proved that customers will pay for its product. Then the entrepreneur can sell a stake to a venture capitalist to cover the last mile before an IPO.”

Claiming Your Stake in the Market

Getting your name out there without being seen as “the new guy” is tough. Attracting clients is not necessarily easy for a start-up because most prospects don’t want to engage in business with a company that has no reputation. So, how do you capture market share?

Cohan’s take: “To overcome this problem and gain market share, the startup should do two things: Find a customer who has pain that has no cure and deliver the cure at a price that makes the product irresistible—what I call a quantum value leap.”

Product Evolution

So in the next step, let’s say your idea takes off, you have jumped both feet into the pond and made a huge splash.  The phones are ringing off the hook, customers are singing your name, products are flying off the shelves. But you, as the business owner, need to be thinking 5 steps ahead.  Your next big question is, how will my product evolve to continually meet my customer’s needs?
Cohan surmises “Once customers buy the product in droves, the entrepreneur should be kicked upstairs to monitor changing customer needs, new technologies, and upstart competitors to figure out additional products to build and fresh markets to conquer.”


It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of starting a business, but before you put your snorkel on and dive in head first, remember some key elements to making your business a success instead of your ideas swimming with the fishes. If you can stay focused on your goals and continue to implement your strategic decisions from the start, as well as follow the above as a helpful guide when it comes to ideas for your start-up, you will be well on your way to starting success. Here at Varsity 5 Agency, we are thinking up innovative ways to assist new business owners in creating the success they envision and purse.

Looking to get your online business up and running? Varsity 5 has solutions. Reach out to learn how we can help. Visit us at or email [email protected].
Tammy G.

Tammy G.

Vice President of Finance, Contributor

Tammy has worked in the accounting field for years with large companies like WholeFoods. Tammy has also worked for years in the Internet marketing industry. She previously managed an international educational platform, a fulfillment processes for an Internet marketing company as well as an international team of mentors for an online education facility.

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