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University of Virginia

Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part I

University of Virginia via Coursera


This course, developed at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and taught by top-ranked faculty, focuses on challenges faced by existing private businesses when they attempt to grow substantially.


  • Course Overview
    • This module introduces the course.
  • The Truth About Growth
    • This module presents an overview of growth in business with common myths and truths. There is a required reading: Edward D. Hess, "Growth is the Dynamic Confluence of Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Values." An option case study reading on Eyebobs Eyeware, Inc is also available. Please visit the Eyebobs website at and think about whether Julie's vision and customer value proposition connects with you. What do you like about the site? What do you dislike? Why is her website so important to her business? What should Julie do to keep her website "fresh"?
  • Fellers Gourmet Workshop
    • This module presents a series of questions to discover if you are ready for growth. The required reading is by Edward D. Hess, 3 Fellers Bakery, Case Study.
  • The 4 P's
    • This module presents the four P's of growing a business: planning, prioritization, pace and processes. The four ways to grow your business are improvements, innovations, scaling, and strategic acquisitions. The required reading is Edward D. Hess, "Defender Direct, Inc.: A Business of Growing Leaders," Case Study.
  • Four Ways to Grow a Business
    • This module reviews the four ways to grow a business. The required reading is Edward D. Hess, Sanju Jacob and Monidipa Mukherjee,"Enchanting Travels," Case Study. Enchanting travels can be found at
  • Creating a Growth Plan
    • This module dives into the logistics of creating a growth plan for Barger & Sons, Inc. The required reading is Edward D. Hess, "C.R. Barger & Sons, Inc.," Case Study. Eric Barger faces a big growth challenge. His primary product is concrete septic tanks. His product does not differ from his competitor's products. His business is not well known. He does not sell to the end user. His customers buy based primarily on price. His business has stopped growing and is not that profitable. His father has said the business must grow or it will be closed. Your assignment is to use the concepts you learned in the previous modules to create a growth plan for this business. For this assignment, please list all the growth ideas you can create for him to consider. Do not narrow his choices, but be realistic with your ideas. It will help you to think about growth options using the four ways to grow a business: improvements, innovation, scaling, and strategic acquisitions. A second way to think about his growth options is in functional business terms: product design; supply of raw materials; product manufacturing; product pricing and terms; product sales; delivery; customer service; technology; and marketing. Your end work should be a list of realistic growth ideas.
  • Final Exam
    • This is the final exam.

Taught by

Edward D. Hess


4.5 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 654 ratings

Start your review of Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part I

  • Anonymous
    This class is completely awesome. One of the best made MOOC I have attended to. Prof. Ed has a very engaging personality and can explain complicated terms in easy way.

    The course is made in really professional way, with many interesting facts, it will change your way of thinking about growth and being entrepreneur.

    This is a must take course for all business owners.
  • B Mohan Kumar
    Prof Ed was very engaged , and very passionate. It felt like he was physically in front and teaching. One could feel the course. It's just awesome, how he could connect so well with a non visible audience !

    Thank you so much
  • Mohamed Hegazy
    Great course, great lecturer prof. Ed Hess
    interesting and experienced lecturer, you can feel the teamwork
    the interviews with entrepreneurs were very very interesting and exciting
    thank you for the great course really enjoyed it
  • Adtya
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    Pedro Teixeira

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