Editor’s note: Billy Warden and Greg Behr are co-founders of GBW Strategies, a Research Triangle-based communications firm that represents global brands as well as startups.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Rocks and slingshots are no longer the preferred way for Davids to go up against Goliaths, but, from the Old Testament to today’s new technology, two items remain essential: courage and aim. The enduring importance of both has been obvious recently as investors and founders strategized at the Raleigh Innovation Summit, CED’s Tech Venture and recent gatherings in the American Underground.

Courage is the first prerequisite because the odds, let’s face it, are with the giant to squash challengers. The mere sight of Goliath cowed opposing armies. He was too big. Seemingly invincible.

But whereas that giant achieved a legendary intimidation factor through sheer physical muscle mass, today’s corporate behemoths enter the battlefield even more well equipped. They bring an arsenal of lawyers, patents and capital.

Where the ancient David saw a foe who filled the sky, today’s entrepreneur looks at the established leaders of a particular field and sees an impregnable monolith.

Yet, the imperative to act remains as high for today’s entrepreneur as for David. The stakes are similar: freedom of choice, freedom to explore and change.

The horse-pulled carriage may now seem to have obviously been destined for obsolescence, but it took Henry Ford making a nervy bet on the mass production of the automobile to finally usher in the modern era.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs each took the field against a kind of Goliath — with legions of tech geeks cheering them. Gates challenged IBM to reimagine the market for can-do computers, taking them beyond ‘business machines.’ Jobs then challenged no less a giant than Gates in considering the wants and needs of the individual consumer — which became millions upon millions of consumers, eager for still more related products.

But courage — like good intention — isn’t enough. Strictly on its own, courage can merely be a reliable means of losing your head. Defeating Goliath also required keen aim — a skill that David didn’t simply stumble upon.

Often forgotten in the quick telling of the story is David’s lead up to his legendary battle. He labored as a lonely shepherd in dark fields, protecting sheep from lions and bears. In obscurity, when no one was around to applaud, he put in the time, confronted his fears and honed his skills.

Every entrepreneur can relate to those early days of hurling a rock at a lion, missing by a wide margin and then running for cover. If you’re lucky, both the pluck and pangs of that shaky shepherd never quite disappear. They keep you honest. They keep you connected to your roots. And they bond you to your fellow entrepreneurs — the young and the grisled.

Finally, in the battle that became known to generations through the ages, aim carried the day. So, too, today’s entrepreneurial Davids will succeed only by engaging the battle with well-calibrated ideas and finely honed business plans. What exactly is the mark you need to hit?

It wasn’t enough that Henry Ford had the courage to try to topple an existing industry with a risky investment of ingenuity and capital. Long term, he needed to sell all those Model Ts. So Ford took aim at dramatically increasing the working wage, a direct affront to businesses and pundits of all sorts. Ford’s gambit hit its mark; he raised paydays and, in turn, helped created the middle class market he (and other manufacturers) needed.

But as with the David of old, courage and keen aim only get you to the next set of challenges, from managing growth to devising the next breakthrough product. If you look at your battle with Goliath as part of a lifelong commitment to serve others — from your colleagues to your customers — you can channel that energy and conviction into an entire career.

But make no mistake, there is no escaping the metaphorical giant that stands between you — the entrepreneur — and all the promise you can imagine.

(C) GBW Strategies