Grow to Greatness:
Smart Growth for Private Businesses
Focus of the Course
First, this Course is NOT about starting a business.
This Course is about the common challenges of growing a business.
It’s a Course about learning to scale a business—making it bigger and
Why is this Course important?
Growing a business presents challenges that are different than starting a
business. If not properly managed, those challenges could destroy the
This Course is based on my research of 54 high growth, private, U.S.
businesses—the challenges they faced as they grew.
From these examples, you will learn how to prepare for your own business
Purpose of the Course
To help you prepare for and grow a business. To learn the meaning of
To give you a better appreciation for and a researched-based approach to
To help you understand the risks of growth.
This Course is not anti-growth. The aim is to present a realistic view of the
challenges of business growth.
Business growth is like Mother Nature: She can be kind or she can be
Too much growth too soon, or growth that’s not properly managed, can
overwhelm a business.
As a business grows, it needs more people, processes and controls.
As a business grows, the entrepreneur must “grow” too.
Growth requires scaling.
Growth rarely is smooth, predicable or linear.
Growth is a learning journey—one that has ups, downs, zigzags, and
Growth is change, and change is constant as the business grows.
I chose this logo because it reflects that growth:
• Requires caring hands
• Small businesses are fragile, just like young plants.
To grow a small business successfully, you need the right amounts of the
right ingredients at the right times.
All of the business cases and workshop examples we will read about and
discuss are true stories. This Course brings real-life business growth
challenges to you.
You will also hear directly from real, private business builders who will
share their experiences and knowledge with you through short video
How will you learn?
This Course is based on the principle that one learns by doing.
You will have both required and optional readings.
You will be asked to apply concepts in the Workshop exercises.
You will gauge your understanding of concepts through in-video quizzes.
Through the Discussion Forums, you will learn from each other.
Creating a Course Community
This Course is an opportunity for you to learn and grow together. I
encourage you to participate in the Discussion Forums and create your
own Study Group Forums based on geography, your type of business or
profession or any other attributes you wish.
Please carefully read the instructions on our Course page regarding
posting comments on the Discussion Forms and creating your own Study
You may also choose to get together with your Study Groups through
A Few Course Ground Rules
This Course is offered by the Darden Graduate School of Business at the
University of Virginia for free because of the school’s mission to positively
I expect that everyone taking this Course will act respectfully toward
classmates. Everyone is here to learn.
During the Course, you will have the opportunity to raise questions and
offer feedback. My goal is to make this a great learning experience for you.