The author found 14 businesses that purposely rejected growth for growth’s sake: Small Giants.
Why reject growth? They might lose their mojo.
- They might lose their emotional connection with the consumer.
- They might lose authenticity and compromise on quality.
- They might become “too commercial” and focus only on reducing costs.
- About ignoring the relationship with the community and failing to retain the culture.
- About getting too big too fast.
Sooner or later you as a business owner will have a choice about how far and how fast to grow. Your banker, your lawyer, your accountant, or whomever else will tell you to grow as fast and as far as you can. The media will be sending you similar signals. They are probably not aware of any other alternative though.
If you’re in a capital intensive business, every unit of growth needs new capital. So your gross is absolutely limited by capital or your ability to borrow capital.
It’s tough to turn down business, especially when you have to recommend competitors.
These businesses are a part of their communities and they grew because of the context of the city in which they were formed. The Mona Lisa wouldn’t be the same if was hung anywhere else.
Terroir has to do with the flavor of the food based on all the factors of the region. Mass production tries to takes that away.
Private companies can act as the Civic Center, giving back to the community with the profits they have each year. If a publicly-traded company gives back they are taking money essentially from the shareholders.
Enlightened hospitality means showing the customer or client that you care about them personally. It’s a step beyond service and requires the company to develop an emotional connection with the customers their individual, one on one, person to person contacts.
With Small Giants, the customer comes second. Suppliers and employees come first.
Small Giants create a culture of intimacy.
They became a haven for people who have a common vision of the kind of society in which they want to live and work.
To remain a small giant:
- Watch your balance sheet,
- Protect your gross margins, and
- Make sure you have a viable business model.