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Summary : Small Giants - Bo Burlingham: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big

The business media tends to focus on large, publicly owned companies: ones that believe success must be measured foremost in growth. However, the vast majority of businesses are privately owned. These companies can stay at the same size and still generate excellent profits for their owners year-on-year. This means they can enjoy comfortable lifestyles without the pressures of needing to grow.

Bo Burlingham identifies seven keys of success for small business giants, such as resisting the clarion call of growth, creating strong links with suppliers, customers and the community and keeping ownership in the hands of company insiders. Crucially, Small Giants mixes practical reasoning, commonsense conclusions and informative case studies. Examples such as Calif Bar bike company are intriguing: Clif Bar resisted a $120m off by Quaker Oats in 2000, because of personal reasons. Despite taking on debt, in 2004 the company generated $92m, even though it took on no new investors and almost no new staff.

Small Giants is a useful, pragmatic guide for businesspeople who want their companies to work for them, and their lifestyle. It’s also a surprisingly moving book: it shows that entrepreneurs who are passionate about their business’s employees and community can flourish

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