Interview: Every Business Needs a Hitman; Meet Steve Brazell, an Architect of “Competition Removal”

Learn how Steve Brazell became an architect of competition removal, known as "The Hitman," then leveraged his marketing and branding expertise to build Limelight and why you must...

Could your small business benefit from “Competition Removal?” Should CEO’s aim to beat the competition through innovation and real differentiation rather than trying to compete head-to-head? Steve Brazell, affectionately known as “The Hitman,” believes so.

As the founder of Hitman Inc. Competition Removal and Limelight—the world’s first patent-pending online Branding Course for startups, entrepreneurs, and aspiring individuals, Brazell is not only an ideator but he has been equipping companies around the globe with an arsenal of marketing and branding expertise to help them create winning brands and remove the competition.

Learn how Brazell became an architect of competition removal and why you must love what you do.

Company: Hitman Inc. and Limelight
Founder(s): Steve Brazell
Location: New York, NY
Industry: Business Services (Marketing and Branding)
Startup Year(s): 1996 and 2012
Startup Costs: Less than $10,000

How I Got Started:

I launched an advertising agency years ago in Las Vegas.  We grew that to a mid-sized agency.  I sold that.  Took a little bit of time off to determine what was next. Then I decided to launch Hitman Inc. with a different business model.

One thing that I found challenging with the traditional hire-grow model is that you’re stuck with whomever you hire.  Sometimes that can be a benefit, and sometimes not, for a small business.  What I found that works better for my small business is bringing in outside expertise; it dramatically speeds up cash flow and I can hire the very best when working with a client that requires specific expertise.  That’s made a real difference for us.  It’s been a very successful model for 17 years now.

[I realize that] today’s hyper-competitive market is saturated with choice – and not just choice, but good choice – and the biggest problem that businesses, products, and individuals face is truly differentiating themselves so they become the first and obvious choice with their customers.  Hitman Inc. helps our clients discover and develop perceived and real differences that set them apart in the market, and make them the first choice of their customer.

[As the next logical step, I created] Limelight, to walk startups, entrepreneurs, and individuals step-by-step through the critical process of category development, brand positioning, differentiation, and brand messaging. The result is a simple and powerful brand strategy that helps companies and individuals stand-out, get noticed, and become the first choice for investors and customers.

Best Success Story:

A hundred percent of our business today is referral-based. Our best success story is inclusive of not only our clients’ success stories, but really our own. For 17 years, we’ve been successful. We are highly referred, of course, by all of our clients, which means our clients are very happy. The bottom line is we make money for our clients.

One of our success stories is probably America’s largest privately-held therapy management company. It’s not a very sexy category. Their target is hospital CEO’s; they go into hospitals and manage their therapy departments. Not very sexy, but it’s really hard to get a meeting with a hospital CEO.


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