In Pursuit of Growth and Capital

By sharing a company’s story of growth with its community, and most importantly, by sharing with one’s community an intention for a specific kind of growth, pathways open up for the flow of all kinds of capital.

Let’s start by asking a question: do businesses need to grow? I’ll cast my vote to say “Yes.” Actually, I will say “Absolutely.” Yet, there are many kinds of growth. We can grow up, we can grow out, and we can also grow wise. So let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing.

The economy we know today is pretty attached to a classic growth paradigm that demands growth, and mostly growth that manifests itself in growing revenue or profit or, in its largest sense, GDP. At the micro level, I witness this paradigm in action every time I hear the question, “How are you going to grow this business?” It’s a call you can’t ignore: grow or die.

I’m not about to dispute the value of focusing on growth. It has created tons of progress in certain sectors of our society. But I think it’s worth noting that the kind of growth we have collectively experienced has not treated all parties equally. It might be worth exploring other kinds of growth as well.

People grow in many ways. Children focus on physical growth. The strength and capabilities that come with “growing up” are certainly useful. (Me, I topped out at out at about six feet tall and growing out is… we’ll just say, no longer productive.) Physical growth quickly becomes less important and we move on to emotional and intellectual growth. We grow our capacity for empathy. We grow closer to those around us. We grow wise.

Could business (and even our economy?) aspire to recognize similar limits to physical growth and shift aspirations to another kind of growth?

When we talk about the capital we put together at Community Sourced Capital, we often describe the process of connecting businesses directly to their community as “turning an enterprise’s social capital into financial capital.” The social part looks a lot like trust and strong relationships, and the financial part looks a lot like money. Businesses need financial capital for all sorts of things — including physical growth — and those things change as a business faces new challenges and evolves to fit a dynamic environment. Sometimes, we find businesses looking for growth in terms of product lines or financial maturity. Or, perhaps most exciting, growing in terms of connections to their community. That’s when the social capital part (trust and relationships) comes in.

By sharing a company’s story of growth with its community, and most importantly, by sharing with one’s community an intention for a specific kind of growth, pathways open up for the flow of all kinds of capital: intellectual capital, human capital, social capital. A company that realizes its potential to access all sources of capital will find endless growth.

So, what would you like to grow this year?

Alex Mondau

Author: Alex Mondau

Alex manages business development for Community Sourced Capital. That means he spends most of his time meeting with small business owners or working with the people at CSC who get to work with business owners.

2 thoughts on “In Pursuit of Growth and Capital”

  1. Excellent Alex and great question at the end.

    An addition idea to us to think about growth

    Three Natures or Levels of growth

    Number One: Expansion (sell more of existing offerings to the same or new people.
    Number Two: Extension (use a core capability and extend to new offerings. That is how P&G entered flour business using coffee grinding technology) and evolution.
    Number Three: Finding a system change that evolves an entire industry or segment or community etc. Apple has done this repeatedly with being unique and true to itself and asking what is really needed to bring healthy working to a system they effect (imperfectly I admit).

    The first one has the biggest chance of extractive growth (using more resources), although there can be operational improvements). There tends to be less innovation also The other two tend to succeed only when they are value-adding growth- changing lives and systems to the ecosystem is healthier.

    1. Carol! Looking forward to seeing you on Friday. Perhaps I should have asked “In what ways would you like to grow this year?”

      Either way, you didn’t answer my question. What are YOU going to grow this year!?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *