The Stack file Featured

8:00pm EDT October 26, 2010

Positions: Served as chairman and CEO since 1984; prior positions included president, store manager and merchandise manager

Numbers: In 2009, Dick’s Sporting Goods posted an annual increase in sales of 7 percent, reaching $4.4 billion. The retailer also opened 24 stores, increasing its presence in California, Florida and Texas.

What are the keys to growing a business?

There are a number of them. One of them is that you need to have a vision of what you really want the business to be. You need to make sure that the business sector you’re in is viable — do you really think this can work? Then you really need to have people, associates, that you work with that are smart, energetic and share the same vision that you do for your business.

How do you create a vision?

I think that’s something very personal that somebody has got to sit down and say, ‘I think that this could work.’ Then you have to take a look at how it might work. Think of the upside, think of the downside, and as you’re developing this vision for a business, don’t be afraid to go out and talk to people and get their opinions. You can talk to people who are in a similar business. You can talk to people who have developed other businesses. You can talk to friends. You can talk to who you think the end user of that particular business might be. You should go talk to a number of different people.