Most helpful positive review
82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2002
I read this book and watched the TV series around 1990. I credit Growing a Business, as much as anything I ever read or heard, for the success of my company today.
In 1992 a group of first-time entrepreneurs started a company together. Some of the group had a blueprint of how a company is supposed to start. Get capital. Build something. Launch it. Succeed. They had not read the book, or they had but did not believe it spoke to us.
Some of the group had a more organic idea, inspired in part by this book. Each company has its pace, its flow, its learning curve. The CEO is the clock, the pacer, the navigator. There is a constant calculator going on each decision, each day, extrapolating payoffs, comparing the costs and benefits. And there is a recognition of what we are going into business for and structuring the business to support those objectives.
For example, we wanted a great place for employees. Each employee would share the experience and benefits. The "Startup 101" types of books treat this topic as an add-on after you do all the important things. Hawken makes it primary. It is primary if you want a place for the best people to do their best work. Structure your company around the employee experience and all else falls into place - if that is the kind of company you want.
An important lesson from this book is serious initial capital for inexperienced entrepeneurs can be a mistake. Hawken describes this. So important. So easy to overlook.
Large amounts of startup capital allows you to outsource parts of a company you may not totally understand yet. It makes some mistakes very expensive. It dulls the creativity at times, the innovation to do more with less. It might encourage one to do things just because you see other companies doing them. It tempts you to make large steps, when it is critical in modern markets to learn to make many smaller steps.
And so on. This book may not fit every entrepreneur. It certainly does not provide all the information you need for growing a company. But for some of us it describes a pattern for growing a good company.
If you are thinking about starting a company, or are in the early stages of a startup, I recommend this book. It might change how you do things, and you might get more satisfaction from the adventure as a result.