Jeff Sloan

Jeff is a visionary entrepreneurial force with particular expertise in creating and developing early stage companies. Jeff currently spearheads Aria Ventures, LLC whose mission it is to “package” meritorious business opportunities and concepts into viable businesses. Specifically, Jeff and the Aria International team prepares the business plans, identifies the key team members, raises the seed financing, and provides ongoing strategic guidance throughout the development phase, the launch phase and the growth phase.

In addition to creating new ventures, Jeff is the co-founder of StartupNation® (, a multi-media company that provides education and inspiration to aspiring and existing business enthusiasts. StartupNation is now one of the leading brands in the world of entrepreneurship. The website is one of the most visited by aspiring entrepreneurs with over 2,000,000 people using the StartupNation “Ten Steps to Open for Business” startup process. In his role at StartupNation, Jeffrey co-hosted the award-winning nationally syndicated call-in StartupNation® Radio show, which aired in over 85 markets. Today, Jeffrey and co-founder/brother Rich Sloan appear on numerous cable news networks as entrepreneurial experts, including regular monthly appearances on the Fox Business News Network show “Your Money/Your Business”. In the first quarter 2010, the Sloan Brothers completed a nationally televised show on Public Television stations entitled “StartupNation – Open for Business” (StartupNation – Open for Business). In 2005, the Sloans first book, by the same name, was published by Doubleday. A follow up book, authored by Jeff, will be published in 2011.

This past weekend’s show focused on how entrepreneurs are figuring out a way to break out in highly competitive, firmly entrenched business sectors. We had the privilege of interviewing two such entrepreneurs who are breaking big with their startup businesses.

Jazon RaznickThe first was Jason Raznick of Benzinga. They provide financial information to, as Jason put it, “the average Joe.” What was he thinking trying to break into markets so deep with well-established companies who are scraping for market share every day and leaving no room for newcomers? What I learned was that Jason made a key move early on that helped catapult him to big success– and that is that he “hitched his wagon to a star,” as we call it at StartupNation. He created key partnerships with established companies and personalities that allowed him to get noticed, prove his unique value proposition, and then retain those customers by delivering on his promise to them.

Jason sought and secured key partnerships with big firms through licensing arrangements – that is, he provided them with content – and he created the level of awareness and credibility in return that every startup critically needs. Great move on his part. Frankly, the pivotal move as I see it. Without creating these partnerships, the story might be very different for Jason, but he had the right vision and strategic thinking that gave him and Benzinga the catalyst to grow early, and now he’s on a roll headed toward huge success.

Ari TechnerWe then interviewed, Ari Techner, from Scratch Golf. The key thing I learned from this interview is that Ari didn’t set out to build a huge company and to make lots of money. His initial focus was on building a great product. He produces a set of golf clubs that are uniquely tailored to each individual’s needs. He was passionate about his product and about helping golfers play a better game. And because his focus was on creating the best possible product (with success and money being a by-product of that over-arching objective), he did just that.

He broke out of the pack and carved out a unique niche for himself in this crowded field because of the passion and dedication with which he pursued the fundamental objective of simply producing the best possible product he could. Once he did that, as he put it, 300 customers came quickly, and he was off and running.

So, the bottom line is that if you want to break out against well-established competition, think of creative and clever ways to create important credibility and awareness that Jason did and focus on producing the best product as Ari did, and if you do, we’ll likely be featuring your story on a future edition of StartupNation Radio.