Applying the Five Disciplines of Growth

by | Oct 3, 2021 | Assignment

Project One: Applying the Five Disciplines of Growth

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is for you to learn to apply the Five Stages of Small Business Growth model and the Five Disciplines of Growth management theory to a real-world scenario. Learning how to apply management theories to the mistakes made in a business will help students know how to make the best decisions for growth.

In this project, you will demonstrate research and writing skills, the ability to identify and use source material, use critical thinking skills in the application of the course material and use APA to support ideas, reasoning, and conclusions presented in the project.

Outcomes Met By Completing This Assignment:


Read the following case scenario: Hannah’s Hats is an online hat retailer with a brick-and-mortar store in Chicago, Illinois. The company has 27 employees and was founded by Hannah Hanks in 2008. At that time, Hannah was a single mother of 3-year-old twin boys. After five years, sales were $1 million. The company topped $7 million in 2015.

Hannah’s Story

Working as a freelance children’s clothing buyer, Hannah Hanks could work from home and have the time to be a “proper” mother to her twins, Harry and Harold. This was important to her and to her husband Howard, a software designer. However, on one cold night in November, Hannah was contacted by local police who informed her that her husband had been killed in an auto accident. He was returning to the office after having been to see a client in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.  Devastated by the news, Hannah did everything she could to keep herself together for the kids. She needed help; she decided to send them to day care three days a week so she could deal with getting her life together. Everyday Hannah noticed the caretakers trying to find the hats and mittens of the children when she came to take the boys home. Hannah noticed that the many of the children had mitten clips that seem to help reduce the number of lost mittens. The hats; however, were another matter.

Chicago winters are exceptionally bad for children because the wind whips across Lake Michigan and freezes every part of the face that requires using moisturizer especially the mouth. While many of the children’s coats had attached hoods, this was not enough. Parents used wool scarfs tied around the children’s face (below the eyes) to stop the painful feeling of the cold. The scarves were awkward and bulky for the children who often pulled them off or dropped them in their travels. Hannah decided to design a hat that could be attached with Velcro onto a coat hood or a coat collar and designed to fit closely around the mouth, nose, ears, and eyes of a child just like a ski mask. The hat could be easily attachable relegating the need for scarfs to the past. Hannah knew the hat could come in a variety of colors and have various child-friendly designs.

Several months passed. Hannah discovered that payments from Howard’s workmen’s compensation and from his life insurance would provide her and the children some financial freedom for years if invested wisely. Hannah thought a better way to change her family’s life would be to invest some portion of the money in her hat idea. Founded as a small storefront shop near Marshall Fields, Hannah’s Hats also developed a loyal following online. Through its creative use of social media, sales took off. She expanded her product line to include matching winter gloves and socks.

Beginning in the fall of 2012, Hannah fell into the trap of thinking that the success in selling children’s hats could be directly applied to successfully selling hats to adults. The company invested $150,000 in new designs and inventory for attachable hats for adults. By offering seasonal products for the whole family, Hannah thought Hannah’s Hats would double their sales in three to five years.

With visions of becoming a destination store like LL Bean’s flagship store, Hannah’s Hats moved from its old store near Marshall Fields to a large space on the Navy Pier. This cost Hannah’s Hats $25,000. Hannah also moved the warehouse from a 10,000 sq. ft. space near the old store to 20,000 sq. ft. closer to her home in Arlington Heights. This location was considerably further from the store.

As the boys grew older, Hannah left most of the work to her staff. She set out to increase the sales through travel and spent most of her time marketing projects through numerous marketing initiatives. She was determined to have her hats available to every possible cold weather clothes customer. She introduced numerous marketing initiatives, including a partnership with BlizzardRelief, an organization intended to increase awareness of the clothing needs of the homeless during massive cold weather storms.

To sustain these efforts, Hannah Hats bulked up its marketing staff that consisted of Hannah and three of the employees who worked in the warehouse. Gradually, the marketing team grew to 5 full-time employees. Additionally, Hannah hired an IT person to handle the online store.

From 2008 to 2015, Hannah’s Hats grew at an annual rate of as much as 50 percent. Hannah’s talks and marketing pitches to large retailers attracted the attention of two investors. The investors told Hannah that with their help she could grow the company to be a $75 million dollar business. Hannah began to think bigger, “If the investors think they can grow Hannah’s Hats to be a $75 million-dollar business, why can’t I”? This plan became her objective. Hannah doubled her marketing trips and went after WalMart and Target to broaden her customer base. Although both companies liked her product, they felt that a cheaper version was needed.

Hannah put in place many strategies to grow even larger. She was sure her efforts would pay off in increased sales. Just the same, in March of 2016, sales flattened. Expenses spiraled upwards. “We were spending too much money marketing”, Hannah thought. Hannah Hats’ sales were dropping slowly. Hannah limited what she had been taking as a salary to buy time to rethink her growth plans. Her expansion plans were put on hold. Employees were worried. Morale suffered as well. Hannah Hats was no longer the family business where employees shared personal updates during morning huddles.


Write an Introduction You will use the 5 Stage Life Cycle theory and the Five Disciplines of Small Business Growth to analyze Hannah’s growth plans mistakes.

The paper should discuss the following:

Write a synopsis of the “Five Stages of Small Business Growth” Model and why it is a useful management tool.

Identify the stage Hannah’s Hats was in when Hannah began her growth plans and what implications the stage should have had for her plans.

Give a synopsis of the “Five Disciplines of Growth” management theory.

Apply the theory to the case scenario identifying at least three major mistakes that Hannah made in planning for her company’s growth.

Explain the reasoning behind they selection of each mistake. Include in the discussion ways that she could have avoided each of the mistakes.

Using the theories as a guide, identify the stage of growth Hannah’s Hat is currently in and make three recommendations as to how Hannah should move forward.

Write a Summary Paragraph

Write the summary paragraph. A summary paragraph restates the main topics of the paper.  Make sure to leave a reader with a sense that the paper is complete.  The summary paragraph is the last paragraph of a paper and does not need a heading.

Review the Paper

Read the paper to ensure all required elements are present. Use the grading rubric to ensure that you gain the most points possible for this assignment.

Proofread the paper for spelling and grammatical issues, and third person writing. 

Read the paper aloud as a first measure; Use the spell and grammar check in Word as a second measure; Have someone who has excellent English skills to proof the paper; Consider submitting the paper to the Effective Writing Center (EWC).  The EWC will provide 4-6 areas that may need improvement.

How to Set Up the Paper

Requirements for the Assignment

Before you begin writing the paper, you will read the following requirements that will help you meet the writing and APA requirements. Read the grading rubric for the assignment. Use the grading rubric while writing the paper to ensure all requirements are met that will lead to the highest possible grade.

Third person writing is required.  Third person means that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second person writing).  If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link:

Contractions are not used in business writing, so you are expected NOT to use contractions in writing this assignment. You are expected to paraphrase and NOT use direct quotes. You are expected to paraphrase, which can be learned by reviewing this link:

You are responsible for APA only for in-text citations and a reference list. The expectation is that you provide a robust use of the course readings to support ideas, reasoning and conclusions. You may not use books as source material. page or paragraph number

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