Last week, I attended my first Small Giants Community annual summit in Detroit. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the conference far exceeded any of my expectations. I left energized and felt that I was already part of a community that I was only recently introduced to.
The term “Small Giants” was coined by author Bo Burlingham when he wrote a book of the same name that refers to companies that prefer to be great rather than just big. I can honestly say that the people I met over the three days were running great companies. They ranged in size from start-ups to over 100 million yearly in revenue, and yet each of these companies’ leaders had a vested interest in the people who worked there. These companies wanted to make sure they were fostering workplaces where their people felt like they belonged and were excited to be be a part of that every day. As Shop4ties grows, I want to expand our value as a family business into creating a positive working environment that benefits both employees and customers.
Over the course of the conference, I met and talked to people who had so many unique ideas. I was blown away by how many successful small businesses there are out there. Our economy tends to focus on publicly held and large companies, but the power of a small giant is much more impactful than we realize. When you are a small business owner, it can sometimes feel isolating. Communities such as this one give you a place to belong, share ideas, and learn ways in which you can improve both personally and professionally!
I had the pleasure of chatting with many local Chicago business owners such as Nick Sarillo from Nick’s Pizza and Pub who has grown his company to over 200 employees and even set up a Nick’s University training program with experiential learning classes. Dimitri Syrkin, owner and founder of Dimo’s Pizza was wise beyond his years — at just 32 years old, he has created an incredible restaurant to work at that invests in each and every one of its team members.
My favorite session at the conference was by Corey Blake from Small Roundtable Companies who led a group session on how “Vulnerability is Sexy.” If we were all more willing to open up and be more honest with each other, whether in our personal and business lives, it would give everyone an opportunity to truly get to know and help each other a lot more!
Overall, I was blown away by the Small Giants Summit as well as the community which Bo has created. Everyone I met and spoke to was so wonderful and open and really wanted to inspire and be inspired by others there. The community was open and it felt great to be a part of something bigger that aligns with our values. I look forward to becoming a more active part of the Small Giants community and seeing what the future has in store for us at Shop4ties.