For many, achieving the American Dream means taking control of their destiny, quitting their nine to five, and opening the doors of their very own business. These brave entrepreneurial souls have shaped American enterprise, and today, they’re playing the very important role of helping drive the nation’s economic recovery. If you’re one of these brave souls — pouring your blood, sweat and tears into running your own business — Edward D. Hess, professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business, stresses that there’s no time for rest. Once you’ve got your start-up off the ground, he says, the daunting task of growing your business to the next level must begin.
“Growing a business presents a whole new group of challenges for entrepreneurs,” says Hess, author of the new book Growing an Entrepreneurial Business: Concepts & Cases (Stanford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-8047714-1-2). “The good news is that most businesses experience the same or very similar challenges when it comes to growth. There is no need for any entrepreneur to reinvent the ‘growth wheel.’ You just have to be willing to learn from those who grew before you.”
With his own research and new book, Hess aims to make the growth process even easier to navigate for the nation’s brave entrepreneurs. He recently studied 54 high-growth entrepreneurial companies based in 23 different states, all of which were designated as successful growth companies by leading magazines or accounting firms.
“What I found was that these successful companies all faced very similar challenges when it came to growing,” says Hess. “But what sets them apart from those companies that didn’t survive or didn’t reach the same level of success is how they approached that growth. The companies in my study understood that growth is change and change is risky. Entrepreneurs who understand this and the challenges that come with it are the ones with the best chances for successful growth.”
This slideshow features the top nine growth challenges facing today’s entrepreneurs.
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