Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses

Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses

Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses

Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses


Simply put, most entrepreneurial start-ups fail. Those fortunate enough to succeed then face a second, major challenge: how to grow. This book focuses on the key questions an entrepreneur must answer in order to grow a business. Based on extensive research of more than fifty successful growth companies, Grow to Greatness discusses the top ten growth challenges and how to overcome them.

Author Edward D. Hess dispels the myth that businesses must grow or die. Growth can create value. But, too much growth too fast outstrips effective processes, controls, or management capacity. Viewing growth as "recurring change," Grow to Greatness lays out a framework for how to approach business development- and how to manage its risks and pace.

The book then takes readers through chapters that explore whether the time is right to grow, how to do it, and how to manage the vital reality that growth requires the right leadership, culture, and people. Uniquely, this book aims to prepare readers for the day-to-day reality of growth, offering up the lived experiences of eleven entrepreneurs. Six workshops to assess where readers stand now and a suite of templates that will prove to be useful over time help bring the book's teachings to life. After reading this book, entrepreneurs will have a real understanding of their readiness to grow and place in the growth cycle, as well as a concrete action plan for where to take their businesses next.

Many books address how to start a business, but this is a unique, go-to resource for readers who want to learn how to thrive beyond the start-up phase.


Hello, I am Ed Hess. I am a professor of business administration and the Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. I have spent the last ten years studying how public and private companies successfully grow. Before becoming a professor, I worked with growth companies first as a lawyer and then for over twenty years as a strategy consultant and investment banker. Along the way, I built four small businesses of my own.


The content of this book was derived from my business and consulting experience and from research that I conducted called the Darden Private Growth Company Research Project (DPGC) that studied fifty-four high growth private companies looking at the challenges of managing growth. That research became the foundation of a course that I have taught at Darden for years called Managing Small Enterprises. That research also led to the creation of over thirty formal business school case studies about the challenges of growing a private business—all of which were the basis for a business school text/casebook that was published in early 2011 by Stanford University Press entitled Growing An Entrepreneurial Business: Concepts & Cases.

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