- Forbes announced today its inaugural Small Giants Forum, an invite-only event on Monday, October 30, in New York.
This event is expected to bring together 150 executives from small and medium-sized companies who have made the Forbes Small Giants list of America’s best small companies for a day of interactive discussions and networking, including a conversation with legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer.
Loren Feldman, Senior Editor for Entrepreneurship at Forbes, and Bo Burlingham, Forbes contributor and author of the book “Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead Of Big,” will lead the discussions. The speakers include founders who either appeared in Bo’s book or were chosen for the Forbes Small Giants list, including:
- Danny Meyer, founder of acclaimed New York restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Café and The Modern, as well as the Shake Shack burger chain. When Bo Burlingham wrote “Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead Of Big,” Danny told him that he never wanted to own a restaurant that he couldn’t walk to. Over time, he ended up owning restaurants in Dubai and Tokyo and turning a seasonal hamburger stand into a public company. He said he took Shake Shack public because he didn’t want to manage a corporation; he wanted to remain a Small Giant.
- Jay Goltz, founder and CEO of the Goltz Group, a collection of design-oriented businesses based in Chicago. Artists Frame Service is the largest picture-frame store in the country. Jayson Home is a home-furnishings store whose offerings are frequently spotlighted in prominent magazines and that just opened a New York City location last month. It was Jay who helped Bo come up with the term “Small Giants” as a title for the book.
- Anne Hed, CEO of Hed Cycling Products. Based in Minnesota, Hed Cycling Products is a manufacturer of premium bicycle wheels and components for triathletes and professional bikers. The company, which manufactures in the U.S. and has never taken investment capital, was started by Anne and her husband, Steven, who died suddenly in 2014. Anne was left to run the business, and it has continued to thrive—even expanding into making high-end bike frames for high-end brand Cervelo.
- Mac Harman, CEO of Balsam Brands. Despite being located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Mac has built a $100 million business selling fake Christmas tree without taking venture capital. He manufactures in Asia, has an office in the Philippines and says he considers Amazon a “frenemy” because he both competes with the e-commerce giant and sells on its platform. Last year, heading into the Christmas season, Amazon shut down his ability to sell on Amazon.com without explanation.
In 2016 and 2017, Forbes, in partnership with the Small Giants Community, introduced its first annual list of America’s Best Small Companies, a celebration of 25 companies each year that have chosen to be great instead of big. To qualify, these companies have to be at least 10 years old and privately owned, and they have to have a history of profitability. They have to be acknowledged leaders in their industries, and they have to be committed to their communities. “They also have to have what Bo likes to call ‘mojo,’ which he defines as the business equivalent of charisma,” said Loren Feldman, Senior Editor for Entrepreneurship at Forbes. “These are special companies. They do things differently—things that any other company could learn from—and it’s very exciting to be able to gather them together in one room.”
KPMG is the Presenting Sponsor of the Forbes Small Giants Forum.
Follow the conversation with #ForbesSmallGiants.
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