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At GrowCo, we learnt more about a range of businesses that have not only attracted great rounds of funding and investment, but also generated exceptional momentum.

Reflections on Small Business Growth from GrowCo

On The Money Show With Bruce Whitfield, Pavlo Phitidis shares what he learnt about small business growth, scale, competition, funding, and fame, while attending GrowCo in New Orleans:

Travelling to GrowCo

Of course, long distance travel isn’t pleasant, but business class flights and luxury accommodation do make it a little easier. Before heading to New Orleans, we did a little sightseeing in New York. Staying in the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans, we were perfectly situated to learn more about the city’s thriving small business scene, while absorbing learnings on small business growth at the conference. This fast-paced travel experience was invigorating, and I enjoyed attending 58 meetings in just 14 days.

Small Business Growth in the USA

The way business is conducted in the USA, is vastly different to the South African business landscape. The pace and speed at which small business growth occurs in the USA is invigorating. At GrowCo, we learnt more about a range of businesses that have not only attracted great rounds of funding and investment, but also generated exceptional momentum. Presentations by Ali Webb of Dry Bar; Chieh Huang of Boxed; Rachel Blumenthal from Rockets of Awesome, and Daniella Yacobovksy from Bauble Bar were highlights.

Scale and Growth

Most notably, learning more about Harry’s from Jeff Raider, was both educational and insightful. Harry’s is an exceptional example of small business growth, done right. A 6-year old company, Harry’s has received two rounds of funding of 100million US Dollars each. Focused on servicing the male grooming market, Harry’s utilized its first round of funding for securing its full value and supply chain, and then focused its second round of funding on expanding into retailers and bigger stores.


Competition shouldn’t be something that sends you off course on your small business growth plan. Instead, it should work to inspire you to adjust and strategize, towards getting ahead. In terms of corporate behaviour, competition can be fierce, because small businesses need to constantly prove not only their worth, but their adaptability too. As a small business owner, being able to work fluidly with bigger businesses is imperative, but it must never be to the detriment of your own company growth.

A corporate sale can take years, but in the US environment, competition is not only healthy, it also presents true challenges at pace. Finding the right kind of partners and collaborators, and the right kind of technology to support your small business growth, is far easier and quicker to do in the USA, when compared to SA.


Noting how funding was channeled into rehabilitating certain regions of New Orleans was an intriguing revelation. Hurricane Katrina devastated large parts of the region, but the approach towards channeling funding towards rehabilitating some areas, and not others, was insightful. Areas were selected for rehabilitation where it was most likely to have the greatest effect, most easily. Finding the right kind of funder for your small business growth is key, and it’s also vital that the culture of your funder matches your business development phase. This culture and approach will have a direct effect on the way you grow, and the momentum you’re able to create for your business.


Rising above the noise of your competition and business landscape is an important small business growth tactic. In turn, creating a positive narrative around your business will enable you to attract customer and media attention. In New Orleans, local business people unified around rebuilding the region post-Katrina. Working with communities to create positive change and rebuild, small businesses employed local colourful characters as shop ambassadors. Utilising media and community networks, small business owners were able to control and maintain a positive narrative around their initiatives, thereby attracting further attention, foot traffic, and growth.

Does your small business growth plan need help? Aurik

Tags: The Money Show, Business Growth