Today in small business news is a great story from the NY Times about Abt Electronics, and how they have grown from a small store selling radios in 1936 to a 35,000 square foot Chicago electronics institution with annual sales of over $300 million.

The article discusses how a small radio business can slowly grow over 74 years to what they are today:

How did a business that was doing about $10 million in annual revenue when [the author] started to shop there in 1970 grow to what the company says is considerably more than $300 million today.
The answer can be summarized in two words: math and service. Let’s start with the math. If your company is doing $10 million today, and you grow 9 percent a year, you will be doing more than $300 million in 2050. If you grow at 10 percent a year, you will be doing more than $400 million in 2050. Don’t grab the calculator, trust me. But keep in mind: 10 percent annual growth may not seem explosive, but doing it for 40 years is easier said than done.

Today Abt Electronics employs more than 500 people, but they made it to that point through the steady growth of their Main Street business. This example underscores the importance of this category of businesses – not only do they represent a significant percentage of all jobs in this country, but they are also the starting point for businesses that will someday employ hundreds or thousands of Americans.

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