GROW TO GREATNESS: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses

Edward D. Hess

(Stanford Business Books, 2012)

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Simply put, most entrepreneurial startups fail. Those fortunate enough to succeed then face a second challenge: how—and whether—to grow. This book focuses on the key questions an entrepreneur must answer in order to grow a business. Based on extensive research of more than 50 successful growth companies in the private sector, Grow to Greatness discusses the top 10 growth challenges and how to overcome them.

Author Edward D. Hess dispels the myth that businesses must grow or die. Growth can create value, but too much growth too fast can outstrip effective processes and controls, as well as management capacity. Hess lays out a framework for how to approach business development, and then takes readers through chapters that explore whether the time is right to grow, how to grow, and how to manage the vital reality that growth requires.

Like Mother Nature, Hess explains, growth can be good or it can be destructive; therefore, he provides tools to assess the preconditions to growth and illuminate the risks. Readers will learn the “Gas Pedal” approach to growth, the “4 Ps” of how to grow and how to scale a business strategically.

They’ll learn how “growth is much more than a strategy”-that it’s a system requiring the right leadership, culture and people. They’ll learn how entrepreneurs must “grow” too; the “secret” of high performance; people-centric leadership; how to create high employee engagement; how to create an internal Growth System; and how to build a senior management team

To help bring the book’s teachings to life, Hess offers the lived experiences of 11 entrepreneurs, six workshops, and a suite of templates. After reading this book, entrepreneurs will have a real understanding of their readiness to grow and their place in the growth cycle, as well as a concrete action plan. Many books address how to start a business, but this is a unique, go-to resource for readers who want to learn how to thrive beyond the startup phase.


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Biz Ed Magazine review
Sept/Oct 2012

“In a world where too many business owners and investors are being taught that ‘we must grow or die,’ Ed Hess provides responsible research to expose, challenge, and disprove dangerous misconceptions about growth. Ed’s findings are beautifully packaged into this easy-to-read book. Our company has had a great growth ride, and we keep returning to Ed’s approach to guide our next steps.” 

—Dave Lindsey
CEO & Founder, DEFENDER Direct, Inc. 

“With curiosity and unwavering conviction, Ed Hess dives deeply into the heart of successful organizations. He illustrates the bold strategies that make these great companies thrive. But, more importantly, he uncovers the nuances of those strategies that truly build the foundation for enduring success.” 

—Nancy Greatrix McGough 
Human Resource Director, Room & Board

“Ed Hess has written a masterful work on business growth. Grow to Greatness offers a wonderful blueprint of critical steps to be completed along the journey of building a successful, profitable company.” 

—Andrew L. Bourne, CEO
WayPoint, Serial Entrepreneur 

“If you are anticipating growing your business or already on that path, this evidence-based book can be your mentor and guide at every point. Simply put: another compelling ‘real-world’ read from Hess.” 

—Randall J. Bufford
Founder, President, and CEO, Trilogy Health Services, LLC

“Ed Hess provides a framework for all entrepreneurs to follow when thinking about growth in their businesses. He captures the essential issues and addresses them with helpful examples and exercises. I wish that I had the book when I was starting our business!” 

—Alice W. Handy
Founder and President of Investure