Why Small Giants: Choosing Great Over Big is the Better Business Strategy

There are two types of companies in the business world: small giants and big fish. The small giants are the businesses that have chosen to stay small and focus on quality instead of quantity. They believe this is the better business strategy and succeed because of it. The concept of small giants comes from Bo Burlingham’s book of the same name.

In it, he discusses why small businesses are often more successful than their larger counterparts. From my interview with Rob Dube, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of imageOne, a document management solution company, and the author of ‘Do nothing: The Most Rewarding Leadership Challenge You’ll Ever Take.’ Rob is also the co-founder, with Gino Wickman, of an organization called The 10 Disciplines, which teaches business owners a proven process to help people maximize their energy and help them live their optimal life. I have compiled the following on small giants, choosing great over big. This blog post will discuss the small giant philosophy and how it can benefit your business.

What is a Small Giant?

The small giants are the businesses that have chosen to stay small and focus on quality instead of quantity. They believe this is the better business strategy and succeed because of it. The concept of small giants comes from Bo Burlingham’s book of the same name. In it, he discusses why small businesses are often more successful than their larger counterparts.

The small giant philosophy is all about choosing quality over quantity. Businesses should focus on providing a great customer experience rather than trying to serve as many people as possible. While this may seem counterintuitive to run a business, it makes a lot of sense. When businesses prioritize quality, they tend to be more profitable. They also have lower employee turnover and can better weather economic downturns.

So if you’re looking for a business focused on quality over quantity, you should definitely consider becoming a small giant. You’ll be glad you did!

What is the Small Giants Community?

Robe Dube being part of the community, explains it as a professional business network for purpose-driven executives who want to learn new methods and systems to implement in their own businesses. There are no membership fees involved with the Small Giants Community — instead, there are three primary ways to participate: study from Small Giant PDFs and other resources, attend the annual Small Giants conference, and join small groups of peers (called “Giants Circles”) that meet regularly to support and challenge each other.

The Small Giants Community is open to any business leader who is looking for an alternative way to run their company. Whether you’re a small business owner, CEO, or president, you’ll find valuable resources and support within the Small Giants Community.

Suppose you’re interested in learning more about the small giant philosophy or looking for a supportive community of like-minded business leaders. In that case, we encourage you to check out the Small Giants Community today!

Qualities of Small Giant Companies

The small giant companies that have been studied all share some common qualities. They are: 

The Leader Factor

It is widely accepted that solid leadership is a critical ingredient for any organization’s success. While this is undoubtedly true, it is also important to note that not all leaders are created equal. In particular, the leaders of so-called “Small Giant” companies exhibit unique qualities that enable them to achieve extraordinary results.

First and foremost, leaders of Small Giant companies are highly self-aware. They clearly understand what they want to achieve with their business and are also aware of the deeper purpose that drives their actions. This self-awareness allows them to lead their organizations more effectively without sacrificing the things that matter most.

In addition, Small Giant leaders are passionate and committed to their teams. They know that creating a great company requires the best efforts of everyone involved, and they work tirelessly to inspire and motivate their employees. This passion and commitment often lead to a deep sense of loyalty from team members, contributing to the organization’s long-term success.

Finally, Small Giant leaders are always learning. They realize that the world is constantly changing, and they adapt accordingly. This ability to learn and change means they are always ahead of the curve, giving them a significant competitive advantage.

The Community Factor

Being a good corporate citizen is not just a PR strategy for Small Giant companies – it is part of their core values. These organizations are part of the local landscape and are mindful of their actions’ impact on the community. They work to create a virtuous cycle of support, where the community relies on them as much as they rely on the support of the community.

In this way, they can create long-term relationships of trust and mutual benefit. As a result, Small Giant companies are not only good neighbors but also good stewards of the local economy.

The Customer/Supplier Factor

One of Small Giant companies key qualities is how they nurture their relationships with customers and suppliers. Unlike many large corporations, Small Giants consciously look for values-driven partnerships and treat those relationships with the utmost integrity. This commitment to customer and supplier relations has several important benefits.

First, it creates a support network of like-minded individuals and businesses that can be relied upon in good times and bad. Second, it helps to build trust and loyalty, which are essential for long-term success. Finally, by nurturing these relationships, Small Giants create a competitive advantage for themselves—one that is based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.

Employee Factor

Employee retention rates are incredibly important for any company. Not only does it save money in the long run, but it also creates a more stable and productive workforce. Small Giant Companies are known for their high employee retention rates. This is because they have an’ employee first’ approach to business.

They recognize that to be a truly great organization, their employees need to be happy and advocates of the business. As such, they invest heavily in their employees’ happiness and wellbeing. This includes offering competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits packages, and a supportive work environment. In return, their employees are highly loyal and passionate about their work. As a result, Small Giant Companies can create a stable and productive workforce, which is essential for long-term success.

The Margin Factor

Small Giant companies realize there is more to success than simply increasing volume and top line revenue. These innovative businesses have sustainable models that protect their gross margins.

By keeping a close eye on expenses and focusing on quality over quantity, Small Giants can maintain a healthy bottom line. This allows them to reinvest in their products and employees, creating a virtuous growth cycle. In addition, Small Giants tend to be nimble and adaptable, another key quality contributing to their success. By being open to change and willing to experiment, these companies can stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

The Passion Factor

The owners and leaders of Small Giant companies are passionate about what they do. They have a deep love for what they do, which gets them out of bed in the morning and enables them to maintain their passion through highs and lows. Their passion is evident in their commitment to their work and their continued efforts to improve their products or services.

It’s this passion that sets Small Giant companies apart from other businesses. When customers can see that the company cares deeply about its product or service, they’re more likely to trust the company and become loyal customers. This passion is also contagious and often rubs off on employees who are more motivated to do their best work. Ultimately, the passion of the owners and leaders of Small Giant companies is what sets them apart from the competition and helps them thrive.

Growth isn’t the Only Measure of Success

It is often said that growth is the only way to measure success. However, this is not always the case. While growth is certainly an important metric, it is not the only thing that matters. Sometimes, a company may be doing very well in terms of revenue and profit, but its workforce may be unhappy, or its products may be of poor quality. In these cases, growth is not indicative of success. Instead, success should be measured by a combination of factors, including growth, profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction. By looking at all of these metrics, you can get a more holistic picture of how a company is performing.


Can an “Intrapreneurial” Approach Lead to Success?

image-photo:bottom-view-business-team-standing-circle-shutterstock_1434524087 copy

image-photo:bottom-view-business-team-standing-circle-shutterstock_1434524087 copy

Everyone knows about Entrepreneurship! But it’s “Intrapreneurship” that can take your small business to the pinnacle.

In fact, Google’s “20% time” rule reflects this type of spirit. As Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin put it in 2004:

“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”

Coined by American entrepreneurs Gifford Pinchot III and Elizabeth S. Pinchot in the late 1970s, the term Intrapreneurship refers to a system that allows an employee to behave like an entrepreneur within a company or an organization.

It can provide a “disruptive” environment and technologies for enhancing and reengineering your organization’s internal processes. The goal is to identify new and parallel products and services and become a leader in your industry. It takes Agile and LEAN continuous improvement to another level!

It is based on the “submarine disruption” theory because it starts at the bottom, not with leadership. Success does rely on senior management and ownership to empower individuals and teams to seek and make change even at the risk of possible internal discontent.

Steve Jobs described it as “a group of people going back to the garage, but in a large company.”

Not everyone is meant to be or wants to be an entrepreneur. Most employees will not be interested in taking the personal or financial risks associated with starting their own business. They are perfectly happy with their careers and a regular paycheck.

But they might be very interested and committed to making meaningful change in the community and the organization.

Intrapreneur Characteristics

Intrapreneurs have high leadership skills and think outside the box. They take risks and drive changes to enhance goods and services to the customer. They are not satisfied with the status quo and always look to make meaningful changes.

Often, a significant obstacle is that the disruptive results and new opportunities and income streams are sometimes not well accepted by ownership and other internal departments that may prefer to back the outcome for the firm.

Intrapreneurs have the same entrepreneurial spirit as visionaries and small business owners but exhibit their skills within the organization and usually do not have the financial risks. They are not afraid to make waves and are often seen as “troublemakers!” But they can assist leadership in making significant advantageous disruptive “change.”

The 3 Types of Intrapreneurs

There are three types of intrapreneurs. Creators, Doers and Implementers, and there will assuredly be others.

Creators are, hopefully, all around you. They always look to make things more efficient. Cherish them. They will make your business successful.

Doers look to work with Creators and implement meaningful change. They understand the change and get it done.

Implementers understand the high-level goals. They are often pressure and goal-driven and strive to make the company “great,” as do all of your Intrapreneurs.

Build and reinforce a culture of creativity, disruptive innovation and brainstorming! You hired them for a reason. Support them! It will only benefit you and your mission!

Intrapreneurs are right under your nose and should be supported and rewarded for making your firm the best it can be. If you are lucky, you will lose your good Intrapreneurs to the world of Entrepreneurship, where they belong!!! You cannot stifle them. But utilize them while you can.

Give me a call — I would love to discuss your Intrapreneurs with you!

About the Author

Currently a Fractional Leader assisting SMEs with growth and operational excellence, William (Bill) is an entrepreneurial, results-driven “C” leader with over 30 years of success leading all areas of “the business,” including Accounting & Finance, Sales & Marketing, IT, Operations and Supply Chain Management in various industries. You can contact Bill via LinkedIn or at 484-390-1105.