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...

So we developed an idea. Rather than just take a shotgun approach and try to reach out to every hospital with a brochure or an ad, we created very unique boxes. These small boxes had iPod Shuffles in them, and we targeted ten hospitals.

On the top of the box it read, “When all you hear is that costs are rising and reimbursement is plummeting, we think hospitals are ready for a whole new tune.” On the inside it says, “We have a whole new mix of proven strategies that work in concert with you to help reduce your therapy costs, increase outpatient therapy revenue, and dramatically simplify your life. Give us 30 minutes and we’ll give you something to sing about.” It had an iPod Shuffle inside that said, “Whether you choose to do business with us or not, keep this iPod as our gift to you.”

As a result our client had a 100% response rate… of that, 60% set up a meeting, and they closed three. So for a spin for them of less than $10,000 total, we both did millions of dollars in business and contracts for them. So that was a huge win, and really, the lesson to take from that is this: develop a different idea that breaks through the clutter and gets the attention of the decision-maker. That’s what we were able to do, and shout at the same time, “Wow, we are a really different company, and we do things differently.”

Biggest Startup Challenge:

The biggest challenge for every startup is trust and authenticity. It’s the challenge that people face getting out of college. Nobody wants to hire someone without experience, but how do you get experience without a job? It’s the same challenge for a startup business.

First, everyone wants to know, what are you selling? Second, they want to know how much is it? What’s in it for me? What’s my benefit? But the critical decision comes down to, why should I believe what you’re telling me? Trust is critical for startups.

What you have to do as a new startup is, if you don’t have existing customers (which you probably don’t), you need to rely heavily on your associates to talk about you. You need to rely heavily on the market, or the media to talk about you. You need to find ways that you can build trust, because no one wants to be the first one into the pool. They want to know that someone else has dived in first to check the temperature of the water.

#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs:

“Love what you do.” If you can differentiate between work and play, you’re not an entrepreneur. You will not be successful trying to work 9 to 5… To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to live and breathe your business. It has to be your passion. It has to be your life mission. 

As you know, so many people leave their jobs; they come home; they put their feet up on the couch and they unplug. They don’t want to hear business. They don’t want to talk about their business. If that’s you, you’re not an entrepreneur. The gauge to determine whether you can be a successful entrepreneur would be, if you can differentiate between work and play, you’re not an entrepreneur. It must be play for you. It’s got to be play.

Connect with Steve on Twitter.

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Photo: Steve Brazell


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