Small Giants

It’s a widely accepted axiom of business that great companies grow their revenues and profits year after year. Yet quietly, under the radar, some entre- preneurs have rejected the pressure of endless growth to focus on more satis- fying business goals. These goals include being great at what they do, creat- ing a great place to work, providing great customer service, making great contributions to their communities and finding great ways to lead their lives.

In this summary, veteran journalist Bo Burlingham takes readers deep inside 14 remarkable privately held companies, in widely varying industries across the United States, that have chosen to march to their own drummer. He searches for the magic ingredients that give these companies their unique “mojo” and the lessons other companies can learn from them. These companies include Anchor Brewing, CitiStorage Inc., Clif Bar & Co., ECCO, Hammerhead Productions, Righteous Babe Records, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.

Size and growth rate aside, these small giants share some very interesting characteristics. They are all utterly determined to be the best at what they do. Most have been recognized for excellence by independent bodies inside and outside their industries. All have had the opportunity to raise much capital, grow very fast, do mergers and acquisitions, expand geographically and gen- erally follow the well-worn route of other successful companies.

To stay on the road less traveled, these companies have remained pri- vately owned, with the majority of the stock in the hands of one person or a few like-minded individuals. They were founded by and still are run by unique entrepreneurs who recognized the full range of choices they had about the type of company they could create and allowed themselves to question the usual definitions of success.

In addition, this summary will show you:

✓ How a new class of great companies has been quietly and gradually forming under the radar.

✓ Why some companies have made conscious decisions to scale back their operations.

✓ Why successful companies have chosen not to focus on revenue growth or geographical expansion.

✓ What goals are considered by some companies to be more important than getting as big as possible, as fast as possible.

✓ How wealth can be the byproduct of success in areas other than growth.