Saturday, 18 June 2011

The 7 Irrefutable Rules Of Small Business Growth - Wiley




Steven S. Little, «The 7 Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth»
John Wiley & Sons | ISBN 0471707600 | 2005 Year | 256 Pages


Throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, I was president of three different fast-growth businesses. In each case, these businesses went from pretty small to considerably bigger (but still pretty small in the grand scheme of things). The biggest one reached more than $12 million in revenue and 100 employees, and all three went through significant growth phases.
At a relatively early age, I did learn a few things about what it takes to grow a small business.
I also learned that I liked talking about small business growth more than I liked actually doing it. I come from a long line of teachers and orators, and eventually the pull of that familial persuader gene proved more than I could resist. I decided in early 1998 (along with my inexplicably understanding spouse) to pursue a full-time career as an independent consultant and speaker, specializing in the area of business growth for the privately held business. So far, so good.
Soon after, people began to hire me. In almost every case, they hired me based on my experience growing smaller businesses into bigger ones. That’s what gave me credibility in their eyes.Whether it was as a speaker or a consultant, it was my past success that got their attention. I have now spoken directly with literally tens of thousands of owners and managers of private enterprises. To this day, people still usually hire me based on my real-world experience.
But here’s an interesting thing. As I said before, I did learn a few things about growing businesses while I was doing it.However, I’ve learnedmuch,muchmore about the concept of business growth since becoming a consultant, speaker, and“expert” in the field.What I’ve learned, combined with my experience growing small companies, is really what I bring to the table.
For years, I’ve immersed myself in the study of business growth.Who does it?Why do they do it?Why does this owner make it work and not that one? What do the academicians say on the subject? Successful entrepreneurs? Other selfproclaimed experts? The media? It’s a fascinating subject and one in which your sources of information are never exhausted.
So what have I learned? For one thing, I’ve learned that back when I thought I knew everything I could on the subject of growth, I actually knew very little. I’ve also learned that the more I know about my chosen field, the less definitive I can be. In other words, the more I see and hear and experience what it takes to grow a privately held business, the less able I am to make sweeping pronouncements and general statements of truth.
For every small business study that points in a specific direction, there’s invariably another that points in exactly the opposite direction. I can get consensus from one group of business owners on one idea, only to be shot down as irrelevant by the next. Even some of my own nuggets of wisdom, slowly unearthed during my many years of digging in the trenches, have proven to be nothing more than fool’s gold. But I have found a few concepts that seem to resonate with people in the know—people who have witnessed sustained, profitable growth. Through years of dedicated effort (aka trial and error), I’ve managed to hone in on a few big ideas that seem to make sense—ideas with which people I respect appear to agree. How do I know they agree? It has more to do with what they don’t say than what they do. On the whole, company leaders who’ve had even a modest amount of success become starkraving “experts.” (Believe me, as a former company president, I know.) They are never shy about shooting down anyone or anything that espouses ideas that are contrary to their own experience.
(Believe me, as a speaker and consultant, I know.) These seven rules of small business growth that I include in this book are not rules because anyone in particular agrees with them. Instead, it’s because I can’t find any credible individuals inclined to disagree with them. To me, that is exactly what makes them so gosh-darn ir-re-fu-ta-ble. It’s not that they’re scientifically proven. It’s that no one wants to disprove them, because almost everyone already agrees with them. Does that make sense? You’ll find that I like to make use of analogies, so here goes the first of many. Everyone seems to agree that a rose is beautiful. The notion that a rose is beautiful is irrefutable, despite the fact that it would be impossible to prove. Sure, I guess we could conduct some type of poll about attitudes toward rose beauty by various demographic groups, culminating in a statistical proof of general rose beauty across the human race. No one does this, though, because it’s silly. A rose is beautiful, and everyone knows it.
The rules I present here are important, and everyone “in the know” knows it. They are irrefutable.

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