Small business and the right growth strategy

“A man’s gotta know his limitations.” This is the wisdom of Inspector Harry Callahan, the detective played by Clint Eastwood in the “Dirty Harry” movies. Small business owners can learn a lot from Harry.

A friend of mine says, “if you’re not green and growing, you’re ripe and rotten.” He means that every business is headed in some direction, either up or down. For small businesses, moving up involves a lot of challenges because we often don’t have enough critical mass – capital, equipment, organizational talent, distribution, etc. – to take the next growth step on our own. So how do we still grow in the face of this limitation reality? Two ways:

1. Grow organically, which means one tiny step at a time by being a frugal manager, limiting debt and leaving as much of the profits in the business as possible, in the form of retained earnings.

2. Create strategic alliances, which could include financial, organizational or market partners who have something you need, such as capital, talent, contacts or a distribution network.

The first one is the more conservative option, but an excellent one. The second option is more aggressive and requires more sophistication on many levels, but can produce many advantages. Actually, most small businesses that find long-term success do so by blending both of these strategies to varying degrees over the life of the company.

Recently I interviewed two different experts on this topic: Gary Harpst is a management expert who helps companies develop growth strategies that work for them and author of “Six Disciplines Execution Revolution”, and Dave Morse, who is CEO of Location Based Technologies and PocketFinder- whose business model requires them to develop national and international alliances. Unless you like being ripe and rotten, take a few minutes to listen to my conversation with these guys on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. And be sure to leave a comment or a question.
For Gary Harpst:
For Dave Morse:

2 Responses to “Small business and the right growth strategy”

  1. 2
    Gary Harpst Says:

    It is always energizing to spend time with you. Business and life is such an adventure with all the risks and rewards of the best thriller novel. As we discussed the time is right for America to break the 3% economic speed limit that has been holding us back for decades. I look forward to continuing our conversation about why American small and mid-sized businesses are poised for a leapfrog in economic development.

    Merry Christmas to all!


  2. 1
    Dave Morse Says:

    Sage comments, Jim. I enjoyed our interview and appreciated your insights and comments regarding our products as well as our market strategy. Developing the right alliances is not only prudent, and fiscally conservative, but it also expands or extends our market reach without stretching our infrastructure and overhead! World class partners know their markets now - we would have to invest the resources to learn them. That translates into time and money that we can’t focus on production. We are confiedent that in this economy we, more than ever, need to honor our limitations and deliver what our customers and our shareholders are looking for - high quality personal location devices and a growing revenue stream! That is our core competence!

    Best to you, Jim!!

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