The One Thing Smart Entrepreneurs Who Grow Big Businesses Do Differently

The first step in starting a successful venture is identifying your business destiny, determining what specific business you – and only you – were born to create. The best idea for you will involve the perfect convergence of your skills, talents, and passions with the needs in the marketplace. It also takes breakthrough branding.

Transforming your idea into a brand, though, takes something more, what I call breakthrough branding. Smart entrepreneurs who build brands do things differently starting with the way they begin their businesses. In researching startups that grew big in various global markets for my book, Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea Into a Big Brand, one branding habit set them apart: They find a “small idea,” a business idea that’s focused and different, and they position it perfectly.

In branding, it all starts with an idea. Everyone talks of finding a big idea. But I say, “Forget the big idea, go for a small idea.” The reality is big ideas start out small – simple, focused and specific so that they can own a unique niche and dominate the category. That way, you’re building a business on something that’s different and small enough to own and create a brand identity around.

Sometimes you can find your “small idea” in unlikely places just by paying attention. On a business trip to Thailand, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz discovered a local drink called Krating Daeng that miraculously cured his jet lag and gave him a jolt of energy. Mateschitz kept the original Thai formula with one modification; he added carbonization. He named the drink Red Bull, a close translation of its Thai name (Daeng means “red” and Krating means “water buffalo” in Thai). His real genius was in positioning the brand spot on for teenage boys and young men not as a new carbonated beverage, but as an “energy drink,” an entirely new category at the time that appealed to virile young males.


Catherine Kaputa is a brand strategist, speaker, founder of SelfBrand and award-winning author. Her book, Breakthrough Branding won the Silver Medal, Book of the Year Awards, 2012. Her book, You Are a Brand! won the Ben Franklin Award for Best Career Book. Her latest book is Women Who Brand (2014). Contact

Go Deeper | Website

Want More?

New Graphic
Subscriber Counter