This course gives me some new views toward “growth”, and is also to early start-ups. And this course also introduces some tools to analyse the growth rate to a business.
About the Course
Most entrepreneurship courses focus on how to start a business. Few focus on the next big entrepreneurial inflection point: how do you successfully grow an existing private business? This is the focus of this Course. It is based on the instructor’s research and thirty years of real-world experience advising private growth companies.
This Course will challenge how you think about growth; give you tools to help you plan for growth, assess the preconditions to grow, and manage the risks of growth. You will study stories of how five different private businesses faced their growth challenges.
Growth, if not properly managed, can overwhelm a business, destroying value and in many cases even causing the business to fail. However, the research shows that every growth business faces common challenges. You can learn from others’ experience—you do not have to “reinvent the wheel”.
The Course format is case based. Each case tells a compelling story. You will learn from Julie Allinson, Susan Fellers, Dave Lindsey, Parik Laxinarayan and Eric Barger. In addition, each week, we will discuss a different content theme. In Weeks and 2 and 5, you will engage in Workshops where you will be asked to use and apply the Course tools and concepts to create growth strategies for two different real-life businesses. You will have the opportunity to create a Course Community of fellow-students to learn from each other as the Course progresses.
You will learn about the: “3 Myths of Growth”; the “Truth About Growth”; why growth is like “Mother Nature”; the “Gas Pedal” approach to growth; the all important “4 Ps” of how to grow; and how to scale a business strategically.
Please see Syllabus
for further detail on weekly reading and assignments.
Week 1: The “Truth About Growth”:The common beliefs that all growth is good; bigger is always better; and businesses must “grow or die” are not true. Growth can be good and growth can be bad. There is no scientific basis for the axiom “grow or die”. It is a fiction. You will lean from Julie Allinson, the founder of Eyebobs, who has built a successful business selling stylish “reading glasses for the irreverent and slightly jaded.” Julie approached growth realistically and understood its value creation and destructive powers. You will learn how she faced manufacturing, sales, and people challenges while building a high growth business—a cool story.
Week 2: Workshop—“Are You Ready for Growth?”: Using the Growth Risks Assessment Tool from Week 1, you will meet and advise Susan Fellers, the founder of 3 Fellers Bakery. Susan started a business baking gluten-free products when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. Her start-up was successful, and she needs your help because she has had so many growth alternatives and she does not know which to pursue. You will be asked to create a growth plan for her.
Week 3: The 4 Ps of Growth—Planning, Prioritization, Processes and Pace:Using the Defender Direct story, we will learn to better manage the chaos of growth; find a business’s strategic focus; how to choose which daily “fires” to put out first; how to create replicable processes—“leave a fire extinguisher behind”; and how to pace growth letting “up on the growth gas pedal”. Dave Lindsey is our business builder this week, and you will trace his story from starting his business in his home to today being a national, privately owned home installation company generating well in excess of $300M (USD) in revenue with healthy profit numbers.
Week 4: The Four Ways To Grow a Business: This week you will learn about the different ways to grow—improvements, innovation, scaling, and strategic acquisitions—with a focus on growth boosters: how to get more customers and sell more products and/or services to existing customers more efficiently. Enchanting Travels, a travel company based in India, is our story this week. You will learn how they built the foundation of their business to scale their focused customer value proposition so they could grow geographically to Africa, South America, and Asia. The story presents a big decision for you: should they franchise their business?
Week 5: Workshop—“Creating a Growth Plan”: This week you will read about Eric Barger’s challenge: how to take a business that has had little growth selling a commodity product and turn it into a high growth business. You will be asked to create a growth plan for Eric. And after doing that you will learn what Eric did to quadruple his business in three years.