Thriving Versus Growth in Small Business: Why Entrepreneurs Should Aim for an Organization That Thrives

Thrive: to grow or develop successfully: to flourish or succeed

A small business can grow in many ways: financially, the number of employees, a bigger facility—but growing doesn’t necessarily get a business closer to its definition of success.

The word thrive is often used to describe the growth and expansion of a small business. Growing and thriving are connected, but they aren’t the same. It’s important to know the difference because it will impact the success or failure of your business.

Take a garden, for example. A garden can grow and grow, but is growth the best way to measure success?

A successful garden is full of healthy tomatoes, green peppers, and carrots. However, if a garden isn’t properly cared for, it can also grow three-foot-high weeds where rodents hide, plant diseases flourish, and insects eat our harvest. Sure, the garden has grown, but it isn’t thriving. It’s now an out of control and overgrown mess that needs to be cut down to start all over again. This problem doesn’t only exist in a garden.

In the mid-2000s, large banks continued to grow and grow, but the foundation they were built on was toxic. We all know how that ended: it crashed. The entire economy had to get rid of the weeds before trying to regrow and recover. Your small business is like a garden. If you don’t take the time to care for your business and nourish it and your team with what they both need, you may still experience growth, but your business will suffer and could face a grim future.

You have to start from the ground up. The nutrients of your business stem from what you, your employees, and the processes you have put in place contribute to the whole. These nutrients will determine if your business growth is because your company is thriving in a good way or a bad way. If there are external factors accelerating growth in unhealthy ways, this can contribute negatively to the overall health of your business.


How Does Your Garden Grow?

Thriving stems from providing your employees solid direction through leadership, education, and proper tools.

You need to give your team not just what they need to do their job, but what they need to become all that they can and want to be. Making your employees feel valued and providing them with opportunities to create value for your business is beneficial to your whole company.

If they don’t feel valued by you or they feel unable to create value in their work, they’re like a garden without water. Without the rain, they will whither and die. By allowing employees to thrive, they can have the greatest positive impact on the rest of your team and even your customers. This thriving is contagious. When one of your employees sees another employee thriving, they will often follow suit.


Adding the right nutrients to your company and employees leads to a thriving environment—one where the potential for growth is elevated. You can’t outperform what you put into your business. Make sure your entire team is given what’s needed for your business to thrive, and always be on the lookout for the weeds and overactive growth that may be toxic to your company, employees, and customers.

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