Paving the Way for Smart Growth and Assessing its Impact on Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Grow to Greatness

Darden Professor Ed Hess Authors a Series of 2012 Publications, Two of Which are Digital Firsts for Darden Business Publishing and Stanford University Press

March, 2012

With so much attention focused on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and their critical importance to the revitalization of the economy, Professor Ed Hess has set out to debunk the myths of business growth and to set forth a research-based approach to SMB growth: growth can create value but if it is not properly managed it can destroy value. And in some cases, too much growth too fast can destroy a SMB business.

Hess, a driving force behind the concept of “smart growth”—an approach that advocates stepping back from unsupported assumptions about the imperatives of corporate growth and focusing instead on building enduring businesses—has authored three new publications, including two firsts in the eBook space and a new book that tackles the challenges of growth from an entrepreneurial perspective.

Hess’s new book, Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses, has been developed for practitioners and entrepreneurs who have successfully survived the startup phase and the shakeups that go along with building a new company. The publication delves into the "gas pedal approach to growth" and outlines the ten major growth challenges for young companies and how entrepreneurs have tackled them. Twelve different company stories are also shared, as well as CEO insights, workshops and key tools used in managing the early stages of business planning. Grow to Greatness will be released by Stanford University Press in late March.

Hess’s DNA of Growth, the first eBook to be issued by Darden Business Publishing, is based on his widely acclaimed book Smart Growth: Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth. In the new eBook, Hess describes the essence of smart growth, considers what we already know about this kind of growth from different industries, and examines why everything we think we know about growth could be wrong. The book notes that, surprisingly, the process of business growth in many cases is modeled better by biology and complexity theory than by economics or finance.

Rounding out Hess’s projects is the first eBook to be released by Stanford University Press, co-authored with Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka. The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, Systems and Processes is a full-length eBook that sets forth a new formula for growth that attacks the natural tendencies of individuals and organizations to be anti-growth. The Physics of Business Growth is different than the management theories that dominate many business organizations. It examines what it takes to win at growth from both a leadership and an organizational system perspective. The processes that create growth differ substantially from the processes that drive standardization, predictability, and low variance command and control top-down business management structures. Simply put, The Physics of Business Growth is different than the physics of stability.  The expected release date is mid-May.

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