Hard work, determination and passion are characteristics that shape a great entrepreneur. They also tell you a lot about a person, their values and what drives them. Unfortunately, these elements do not always lead to success. If we’re all in the same environment, with the same goals, with the same customers and the same idea, sure, your hard work and passion may be everything you need to expand.

The business, economic and entrepreneurial landscape changes on a daily basis. The environment in which we operate is not identical for each person. These changes influence how we market a product, our business models, our organizational structure and the ways in which we scale companies. If the environment we find ourselves in constantly changes and our competitors are not in the same exact position we are in, passion, determination and hard work alone is fruitless.

Jeffrey P. Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com, developed a strategy that revolutionized the entire retail spectrum. For instance, he chose not to worry about rent prices – a traditionally smart and beneficial investment for many companies. It was a unique model. His strategy allowed him to threaten an entire industry by offering lower prices and generating higher profits. He learned, adapted and created a strategy that exploited the changes (technology and consumer behaviour) that occurred within the industry. Strategy today is more important than it has ever been. It can shape an entire industry. Of course, Mr. Bezos worked hard, was determined and had a passion for creative business. However, those elements only created a foundation to build his strategy upon. If he assumed the same ideology as other businesses and opened stores across North America, he wouldn’t be where he is today. His strategy was exploitive and remarkably cutting-edge. Startups today have an incredible opportunity to change the course of an industry. Entrepreneurs need to look at their model, what their costs are (and if they are necessary), and the value proposition they currently hold for their audience and market. It isn’t enough to take a business model and think passion or extra care can shape a marketplace alone – you may be successful in you’re own right, but it won’t revolutionize it. Alternatively, developing a strategy that is founded on intent and disruptive methods can. Before you begin, take your idea and map out how it can exploit the current market landscape, how it can change entrenched norms and behaviours, and detail everything from concept to marketing to partnerships to growth stages. Moreover, remember that adaptation and calculated risk should be at the forefront of every strategic decision.

Image from Startup Canada