Small Business Growth

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor

The Business Thinker. LLC Internet magazine and Founder and Managing Director of JP-Management Center, LLC.

A Lecture Given at Hillsdale College

some long time ago that I believe is relevant today

The subject was

Small Business Growth

I am pleased to be at Hillsdale College for many reasons not the least of which is that the subject of this talk seems particularly appropriate. I am concerned about the factors that lead to employment growth, something that should be of vital interest to every student. So often discussion about employment or business focuses on the largest companies. Yet I think that we have not looked at the relationship of company size to employment growth and value to the society as a whole. I’m sure you were all pleased to see that Money magazine ranked Hillsdale College  among U.S. colleges and universities as a best value. One can raise the question of whether Hillsdale College is a best value for its size or does its size make it a best value. This relationship of size to value is an important one that is often distorted by mythology and misperceptions.

“Small business is the economic backbone of the nation.” “Small businesses are the only ones that are creating jobs in our economy,” “The future belongs to the person working at home connected to the outside world with a modem, computer, fax machine and a cellular telephone.” If all this has a familiar sound to it, it should. The last few years have produced endless streams of prose about small business and the new economy. Most of it glorifying the role of small business. Yet, for all the discussion, the concept of small business is more of an ideological construct than an economic or analytic one. One could argue that the ideological pull of small business is not a new phenomenon but a cultural mainstay of American life.

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Managing Growth

PREPARING YOURSELF FOR MANAGING GROWTH

How do you manage a growing company? What can you learn from other CEOs facing the dual challenges of maintaining growth and profitability?  What issues are you likely to face and how can you best resolve them?  We address these questions and more.

We believe our book is unique.  We combine extensive interviews and data from nearly two hundred companies along with first hand experience in building J. P. Industries (JPI), a Fortune 500 company.1  Our diverse research and management experience confirm that companies are dynamic and must be managed that way.  We sum up our guidelines in the Dynamic System Planning Model that we will show is practical yet based on well-tested theory.  We especially address challenges faced by small growing firms.  But the model applies whether or not your company is growing right now.  It applies whether you have five employees or five thousand, whether you face a maelstrom of growth and change or stagnation and decline.   The model provides a means to develop a more successful company strategy for higher profits and growth.

THE DECISION: TO GROW OR NOT

Consider this unusual concept: you don’t have to grow to be self-employed and financially secure.

Ron started several businesses during his life, but once each venture was underway, he eventually reached a point where the business managed him rather than the other way around.  While adept at identifying new markets and making sales, when it came to working with other employees, assigning tasks and coordinating their efforts, he never seemed quite able to make the transitions needed to assure business success.  After several such failures, Ron hit upon a suitable niche for his talents–as a promoter of trade shows.  He has no employees to contend with, each show is of relatively short duration, and he can move on to the next project before he gets bored or runs into complex management challenges.

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