Tagged: Stephen Michael Hourigan

Former CEO of Elevate Venture Stephen Hourigan Discusses the Most Common Problems Small Businesses Face in their First Year

It is common knowledge that starting a new business is a risky venture, but one that may prove incredibly rewarding both personally and financially. According to SBA estimates, more than 627,000 new businesses are started each year in the United States. Statistically, only 25% of these new businesses will make it past 15 years, with over 25% failing in the first two years. Stephen Hourigan, Elevate Ventures’ former CEO and current CEO of Drug-Free Therapeutics, has spent over 20 years helping build revenue and create long-lasting business strategies. Today, Stephen Hourigan of Elevate Ventures will discuss the most common problems small businesses face during their first 12 months and the best ways to solve these problems and build a thriving business. 

Successful Marketing Operations

Throughout his career, Steven Hourigan has often found that many new businesses rush into marketing campaigns without taking the time to create the foundation for successful marketing operations. This can easily be solved by businesses focusing their resources on finding their target audience and not wasting efforts on advertising to people outside this demographic. In order to optimize resources and increase the likelihood of a successful marketing campaign, new businesses must learn what’s important to their target customers. Once a business has obtained this information, it can save thousands of dollars and be able to more clearly create a strategy to connect with their customers in the future. 


Perhaps the most common problem for small businesses in the first 12 months of operation is revenue. Without an established customer base or client list, many new companies can struggle to make a profit. In order to more effectively build revenue, Stephen Hourigan recommends: 

Purchasing Leads: A common practice for many new businesses is to purchase leads. While this is an essential first step to build a client base, purchasing a list from a company that has not done its proper research could lead to a lost budget. For this reason, it is crucial to find a reputable company to supply leads. 

Online Presence: Creating a landing page may be an obvious first step, but it can help to funnel audiences to services or products and help establish clients within the first few weeks of operations. 

Stephen Hourigan Discusses Important Business Lessons Learned Through Golf

Throughout Stephen Hourigan’s tenure at Elevate Ventures and multiple stages of his business career, he has assisted companies with crucial functions such as accelerating revenue and streamlining their processes. In his free time, Stephen Michael Hourigan enjoys participating in sports such as golf for a variety of reasons. Not only is golf a great way to unwind and get engrossed in the competitive spirit with friends, but it teaches lessons that are applicable to endeavors such as business and improving upon one’s professional acumen as well. Here, Stephen Hourigan includes a few of the lessons that can be taken from golf and applied to business to further an individual’s personal and professional development.

One golf lesson that Stephen Hourigan, previously of Elevate Ventures, believes is applicable to the business realm is how much it pays to have a strategy in mind before acting. Steve Hourigan acknowledges that many novices that he plays with are surprised to learn that golf is generally not approached by trying to aim straight for the hole with every shot. This is facet of the sport is remarkably similar to business, where fledgling professionals are taken aback by the sheer amount of strategy that goes into business decisions and logistics prior to their implementation by the team. Stephen Michael Hourigan often teaches new golfers to consider how details such as hazards, slope, and distance will impact their game plan and to account for them to see the success that they want on the green. Business requires a similar adherence to strategy, and one is best off getting a clear idea of the details and intricacies of a possible action before acting. While this takes dedication and a fair amount of patience, it ensures that each step taken is truly for the best and is not likely to amount to a setback instead.

Steve Hourigan maintains that one of the reasons golf is such a great sport for individuals in business to play is because it properly emphasizes the importance of focusing on the long term. Golfing is not a sprint whereupon the winner is decided quickly and in a few short actions. Instead, golf values consistency and focus over the course of the game. Because of this, individuals that have a slow start but steadily improve or remain consistent can have better showings that those that start strong but slowly or quickly fall off as the game continues. This is not unlike business which can, at times, be a slow burn when it comes to growing and improving. Stephen Hourigan of Zionsville, Indiana notes that almost any businessperson can name several companies that started off incredibly strong but later began to flounder due to a lack of long-term focus. Do not discredit the merit of short-term success, but always be sure that it can be leveraged into a long-term strategy that puts you and your constituents in a good position later. A strong commitment to long term goals rather than short term gains will ensure that you are consistently conducting yourself in ways conducive to the success of your business.

During Stephen Hourigan’s tenure at Elevate Ventures, he internalized several lessons about golf when playing with his peers. One of the overarching themes was that, while golf appears as a simple sport, it can be deceptively difficult to learn. In fact, golf is consistently recognized as a sport where one’s game can be improved upon but never completely mastered. Stephen Michael Hourigan acknowledges that this quality of the game tethers it to business, which in and of itself appears easier at first glance than the moving parts behind the scenes would suggest. Some professionals fall into the trap of believing that they know much of what there is to know after years in the space, and many are in for a rude awakening when they are faced with an experience in which they are not fully in power. Both golfers and those in business should acknowledge that it is important to make steps towards improvement and growth as a participant, while simultaneously acknowledging that there will always be situations in which they are not certain. To Steve Hourigan, this is what keeps both spaces interesting. Those that recognize their limits as they work to improve will be the ones that come closest to achieving greatness.