By: Elena Grace Flores
InnovaBuzz podcast by Innovabiz features Bo Burlingham of Inc Magazine, “editor-at-large” and the author of Small Giants and Finish Big among others, and he talks about the characteristics that make a great company and the importance of being clear about your purpose and your why. Listen to the podcast here: http://innovabiz.com.au/podcasts/episode-28-bo-burlingham-of-inc-magazine/
Small Giants are companies that choose to be GREAT first, not totally focus on growth. These companies have six characteristics – clarity of purpose and their why; tight integration with their community; personal connection with their customers; employees first (who provide stellar service to customers); leaders love the company and what they do; sound financial structure. Companies like this have what Bo calls “mojo”. It’s the business equivalent of charisma. When leaders have charisma, you want to follow them. When businesses have mojo, you want to be associated with them.
The three conditions of a sound financial position of a Small Giant are: Number one, you have to have steady gross margins that you protect; Number two, you need to have a sound business model; Number three, you have to have a healthy balance sheet. It’s easy when you’re building a company to get caught up in the idea that the whole process is about getting as big as you can as fast as you can. What Bo advocates is to wait, stop a minute and focus on your core values. If you want to have a great company, think about what you believe it is that makes a company great. When you build a business, it’s a journey. Like every journey, it has a beginning, a middle and an end. The end is not when you build a company – that’s the middle. The end is when you leave that company. Question is, how do you leave that company and what is next for you? One of the great things about business is that you really are in service. At the very least, you’re in service to your customers. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t stay in business. Very likely you’re in service to your family. A lot of people are in service to their employees and to their community. What I found was that the happiest entrepreneurs I met afterwards were people who had figured out how to remain in service at a higher level.
Become clear on who you are and what you want and WHY. With that clarity of purpose, focus with passion.