Entrepreneurs are hungry. But it’s not just because they’re living on ramen and adrenaline while they pour their all into their business. Peter Cohan has found it’s something deeper: a hunger to create the kind of world they want to work in. To leave a legacy, they build carefully with limited resources and maintain control of the venture’s direction.
For years, students have told Cohan that the seminal business strategy guide, Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy, was too big-company focused. So Cohan—who once worked with Porter—has written the first business strategy book to address start-ups’ very different challenges.
Cohan focuses on six key start-up choices—setting goals, picking markets, raising capital, building teams, gaining market share, and adapting to change—explaining the unique rules start-ups must follow. For example, when setting goals, large corporations try to maximize their long-term return on equity, but resource-poor start-ups have to plan by setting a series of short-term goals—and how they do this will mean the difference between blazing a trail or flaming out. When entering a new market, well-fed companies can invest substantial time and capital before ever launching a product, but hungry start-ups must get an adequate prototype in front of customers fast, get feedback, and quickly develop a viable business model or they’ll starve to death.
For each of these six areas, Cohan provides a decision-making approach and lively case studies of what actual entrepreneurs have done. He extracts hard-hitting lessons not only for start-ups but also for investors and even established companies. Hungry Start-up Strategy offers a full menu of vital information for anyone seeking to cook up a thriving business from scratch.