discuss strengths and weaknesses of various research methods, the factors of reliability and validity are important considerations. The following short video provides a brief summary of these factors:
September 5, 2018
Submit your final research paper to the Submissions Area by the due date assigned. It should include a cover page, abstract, intro/lit review, method section, results (simply report what statistics you propose to use), discussion section, and reference page.
September 5, 2018

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.

Applying the Five Disciplines of Growth


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.

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:

  • demonstrate      an understanding of the small business environment and how to manage in a      global marketplace
  • evaluate      and measure forward-thinking enterprise strategies relevant to      sustainability and succession through innovation


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 Blizzard Reliefan 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

Create the introductory paragraph.  The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the paper and tells a reader the main points covered in the paper.

Write the body

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 

Create a Word document that is double-spaced, 12-point font.  The final product will be between 3-5 pages in length excluding the title page and reference page.  Write clearly and concisely.

The body of the paper should consist of a heading for each required element.

APA and writing is a main focus of this paper and should be executed with the utmost attention to detail.  In this regard, note that the project calls for at least one primary source. Be sure to include this resource as part of your supporting material choices.  Should you need help in any these areas of APA or writing, please refer to the APA module located in the content area of the course or ask the professor for guidance.

Use the grading rubric and instructions as guides. Be sure to cover all that is asked of you in the assignment and do so in a way that will guide the professor into giving a high grade.  Finally, all work that you submit for this project should be your own. Remember your pledge to uphold academic integrity in all work that you prepare and submit.

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).   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 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.
  • When using      a source document, the expectation is that the information is cited and      referenced with a page or paragraph number.   Note      that a reference within a reference list cannot exist without an      associated in-text citation and vice versa.
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