Business Strategy Book on Amazon


Entrepreneurs and business owners alike constantly seek advantage over the competition. For most, "winning" means gaining market dominance, product superiority or increased sales. The stated goal is often to land "the 800-pound gorilla," the implication being that such a coup would alter the company's future. But is a gorilla the right target? Maybe not.


A gorilla provides power but has no “X factor” to accelerate market dominance. Instead, consider pursuing a “sumo,” who is always focused on beating the competition and who leverages his enormous weight and muscle to force competitors out of the ring. The gorilla is raw muscle and can exert enormous strength but is not at all strategic. It is instinctive and lacks self-awareness, imagination, and independent will. The sumo, on the other hand, is interested in out positioning, outsmarting and even out psyching the competition, using all means available.

The Sumo Advantage provides the strategies and tactics to help you find and partner with sumos. If you are unaware of the distinctions between sales and BD, then your sales-only focus may be what is holding you back. Once you understand and really believe that sales and business development are very different functions, the sky’s the limit on growth.

Advanced Praise

I’m amazed at Bernie’s ability to establish strategic partnerships and more importantly, get them to work. He’s redefined the term Business Development and raised the bar for what an executive should contribute to a company’s growth trajectory. In terms of creatively combining business strategy and deal making, nobody is better than Bernie Brenner.

Chip Perry

Founder & CEO (retired),

I’ve seen these business development principals in action. They work! At CARFAX, Bernie and his business development team made a substantial strategic impact on the company and its successful growth in a very short period of time.

Richard Raines

President, CARFAX, Inc.

Successful entrepreneurs figure out how to hack the world to create seemingly “unfair” advantages that propel their companies to greatness; as an entrepreneur and investor I’m constantly working with my teams towards this goal. The Sumo Advantage is the unfair advantage we look for, outlined by one of the true masters of BD – thank you Bernie for sharing this with us.

Joe Lonsdale

Founder, Palantir and Addepar, Partner, Formation 8

One of the most important ways a startup can get momentum, can breakout, and can thrive is through superior business development. Applied correctly, it is a strategic weapon that greatly increases the odds of success in startup. Great startups borrow credibility in the market from more established players, and this is done through top notch biz dev. In my view, every venture-backed start-up should have Bernie come in and mentor their executives. Follow his lessons and you’ll double your valuation within 12 months.

Jim Armstrong

General Partner, Clearstone Ventures

I’ve worked with hundreds of advisors as an entrepreneur and as an investor, and Bernie was easily the most valuable. He passionately evangelized the product and lined up key partnerships that we had thought were impossible. Bernie is the best at what he does.

Naval Ravikant

CEO, AngelList, Founding CEO, Epinions, Inc., Co-author, Venture Hacks

Business Development is an art. It creates a vision of how the partners can effectively work together and then commits that vision to the canvas of successful implementation and enduring partnership. In my experience there is no better and no more prolific artist than Bernie.

Victor Doolan


One does not know it while it’s happening but if Bernie ever comes knocking on your door to do a deal, you can privately thank your lucky stars it happened.

Tom Ferries

Chief Marketing Officer, Chase Auto Finance

Most executives I encounter think that sales growth is driven most effectively by marketing and or advertising. Wrong! Business Development is the key to long term value creation. Brenner lays out the principles, techniques, and processes of Business Development far better than any book I’ve ever seen. It’s simply a must read for any leader.

Michael Meyer

CEO, Route 66 Ventures

The Sumo Advantage is an innovative and powerful approach to business development that can propel a company to greatness. For early stage tech companies Bernie’s philosophy on strategic relationships can pave the way for incredible success. This book is at the top of the recommended reading list for all of our portfolio companies.

Simon Rakoff, Ph.D.

General Partner, Fortify Ventures

In my experience, I’ve not seen another person intuitively live BD the way Bernie does.

John Price


Bernie runs business development in a way I haven’t seen before. I’ve rarely in all my time out in corporate America as both an executive and a journalist met someone with as much vision and talent.

Sue Callaway

Contributing Editor, Fortune Magazine Former GM, Jaguar N.A. Author, What Would Jackie Do?

True business development professionals know how to “connect the dots” in order to get things accomplished. Bernie on the other hand, has the unbelievable ability to line up “the BD dots” so everything points towards a mutually beneficial and successful outcome!

Tony Rimas

Managing Partner, FMC and McCombs Partners

After spending almost 20 years in the automotive industry, I have not met an individual that understands the true art of business development better than Bernie. He has proven that business development is a process, not focused on the deal but on the relationship and commitment to common goals. His process and techniques have built some of the strongest partnerships and relationships in the automotive online marketplace.

Mike Romano

Regional President, Shift Digital, Inc.

Bernie brings together the art and the science of being one of the most effective Business Development people in the automotive space. Business Development is about creating benefits for all parties in a manner that is consistent with each organizations strategy. Bernie is able to develop and articulate mutual opportunities analytically while focusing on building strong relationships.

Brian Reed

CEO, Finance Express

You may think you understand business development, but won’t truly appreciate how to approach partnerships until you’ve spent some time with Bernie. Every time we meet, he blows us away with new insights on how to pitch an opportunity, negotiate a deal, or unlock more value in a partnership.

John Durrett

EVP of Business Development,

Intimidated by how to close those initial, foundational strategic partnerships? Feeling too small to close the big guys? I’ve seen Bernie do it repeatedly, building companies on the backs of these early strategic partnerships that everyone thought were impossible to get.

Rob Taylor

General Manager, BlackLocus, A Home Depot Innovation Lab

The Sumo Advantage is an invaluable insider’s guide to structuring and executing partner relationships that can create substantial enterprise value for the long term. It is a must read for every entrepreneur in the 21st century.

Marty Korman

Partner, Wilson Sonsini

I’ve seen the business development strategies in The Sumo Advantage turn a start-up into an industry leader—this program can put any company on a path to hypergrowth.

Greg Brogger

Chairman and Founder, Sharespost, Inc.

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