Stealth has been popular in recent years in part because it was acceptable to Internet-crazed investors who were willing and even eager to accept ill-defined business models as viable investment opportunities. "You evade rational analysis of pluses and minuses with this," explains Jones. "It's a Wizard of Oz kind of thing. It keeps them from looking at the man behind the curtain."
In a more sober business environment, stealth may retreat to the shadows of business strategy. Or its recent successes may lead more businesses to employ it as a proven tool for getting underway without divulging the goal.
Sommer figures stealth mode made the difference between flying high and fizzling out for him. As proof, he says, several would-be rivals found themselves so far behind IQ4Hire that they signed up as partners and abandoned plans to bring their own offerings to the field. "We absolutely got more than a six-month jump on competitors," Sommer says. "It was a perfect end result."
Mark Henricks is an Austin, Texas, writer who specializes in business topics and has written for Entrepreneur for 11 years.