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Among their cited growth methods or plans: sell more products; introduce new products; and services; branch out to new markets; or partner with another firm.
The four firms participating in USA TODAY's six-week Smart Small Business series -- which examines the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship -- also plan to expand their firms.
Janet Chung and Ann Chung Mellman, who created a line of We Rub You-branded Korean barbecue sauces, are trying to figure out their strategy for growth.
"We want to grow in a steady way, and not grow too fast," says Chung Mellman. She's open about the fact that they still have to determine what "healthy growth" means for them. It could be new product lines, she says, more retail distribution or even something else.
"We have to figure out who we are and who we want to be," she says. "We have to set our own terms, but make sure we're not delusional."
For Reuben Canada, creator of the Jin+Ja beverage brand, growth is coming through increased retail distribution for his drinks, as well as three new varieties that he hopes to get on store shelves by January.
The Giacomini family, which runs Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, is expanding their product line as well. They just added a blue cheese dip to their line of four cheeses.
Brook Eddy, founder of the chai tea company Bhakti Chai, is making some high-level hires to help give her company a growth boost. She also has plans to broaden her product line.
She is ambitious, but knows her limits. "Growth-wise, I have to put on the brakes all the time," she says. "I have to say 'no, we're not ready for that.'"
Proceed with Caution
Having the discipline to turn down some opportunities -- or to pursue them extremely carefully -- sets the stage for long-term success, say entrepreneurial experts and successful small business founders.
Planet Entrepreneur author Steve Strauss notes that with technological advances, such as Internet sales, there are countless new opportunities in the U.S. and abroad for American entrepreneurs.
His advice: "Take baby steps."
"One big mistake that people make is that they want to grow and implement a big plan," he says. "I'm a far bigger believer in testing small to see if it works. Don't jump into the deep end -- go to the shallow end and dip your toes in." (continued...)
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