The Strategist

How to be great instead of big

08/10/2018 - 02:56

Bo Burlingham, Editor-in-chief of the popular business magazine Inc., talked to founders of small but successful and outstanding companies, and described their experience in his book "Small giants." We chose seven tips that will be useful to both an experienced businessman and a beginning entrepreneur.

For an excellent service, you need to demonstrate to your customers that you appreciate them and will try your best to keep them around. Enlightened hospitality is when you show that you care. You want them to be not just satisfied, but happy. This is beyond the scope of the service and requires that the company establish an emotional connection with customers within the framework of individual contacts.

And you do not have to do the restaurant business to establish such connections. Great companies do not call this enlightened hospitality, but their actions basically correspond to its definition. This is a key element of their magic, and it is most noticeable to an outside observer.


Rome did not have a written constitution, but everyone understood how people should behave. Then, this understanding vanished and so did the empire. Leaders of great companies spend a lot of time and energy working on systems and processes that create culture and shape the community, and the leaders realize what kind of society they want to build. In fact, they are trying to create a better life in their own corner of the world. They want their employees to be satisfied, and consider the desire to create such an organization a task that in itself brings satisfaction.


Companies are bricks, from which not only the economy is built, but also the way of life. Influence of their actions and methods extends far beyond the economy. They define the communities in which we live, our values and the quality of life. If companies do not adhere to a high standard, the entire society suffers.


The market demands to keep growing, and this is the main problem. First, there is a psychological factor. After all, the pressure arises because people like your product and they want to either buy more of it, or make it available to a large number of customers. In any case, this pressure is a weighty confirmation of your success, a compliment to your business acumen and realization of the dreams with which you founded the company.

Indeed, many cannot resist this call to growth, even if they know deep down that their company and employees are not ready to cope with this growth, and understand that the growth may cause unforeseen and unwanted changes. But once you chose this way, it is extremely difficult to turn back. And when you realize that your company is too big, you are not ready to cope with the situation, and your work does not meet your own standards, you will incur a lot of obligations to employees, customers and suppliers. If you decide to change the course, you will have to get rid of employees and revise the terms of contracts. And tell the customers - the good ones you would like to keep - that you cannot help them. And then you will realize how much you value the ability to be the best in your business.


If you want to have a choice, you must fight for it. All successful companies are under pressure from a multitude of customers, employees, investors, suppliers, competitors. If you succumb to pressure, then these forces will make a choice for you and you will lose the opportunity to plan your route by yourself.


The relationship between employees and the company is the basis of the magic that comes from them. The second is impossible without the first.

Magic is also impossible if most employees do not like their employer, if they do not feel that they are appreciated and supported, if they do not see in the future rich opportunities for learning and growth - in other words, if they do not like their work, colleagues and prospects. Why? Because all the other signs of an excellent company - a wonderful brand, fabulous products, excellent relationships with customers and suppliers, an active role in the life of the local community - depend on those who perform their daily work.


Life is unfair, but merciful. You can live healthy and still get cancer. Business is merciless, but usually fair. Often, nobody is to blame for bankruptcy but the bankrupts themselves. Everyone should make a contribution to make the company succeed. Insist on this.

Based on “Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big” by Bo Burlingham

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