How To Nominate A Company To Be A Forbes Small Giant

Evan Kafka

NightLight Pediatric's Zawadi Bryant

Evan Kafka for Forbes

The deadline is fast approaching for nominations to the 2020 Forbes Small Giants list. If you know or work for a great small company, please let us know about it no later than December 23 so that we can consider it for inclusion on our next group of 25 Forbes Small Giants. You can find the nomination form here.

To be considered, a company must be at least 10 years old in 2020, profitable, and privately owned, with majority control in the hands of inside shareholders. Nominated companies that meet those conditions will then be judged according to the following criteria:

  • The leaders’ commitment to building a great business, even if that means passing up some growth opportunities along the way.
  • The company’s reputation for the quality of its products and services.
  • How customers feel about doing business with it.
  • The state of its financial health.
  • The success of its culture in bringing out the best in its people.
  • Its relationship with its community and its contributions outside its industry.
  • Whether or not it is “human-scale”—that is, not so large that the people at the top no longer have direct contact with lower-level employees, and vice versa.

Often you can identify a Small Giant by the effect the company has on those who come in contact with it, whether they be employees, customers, suppliers, neighbors, or other members of the communities in which it does business. People are attracted to it. They want to be associated with it. The business has a kind of charisma, which I call mojo.

In the last four years, we have showcased a hundred companies with lots of mojo that are great by any standard. Some you may be familiar with, such as Radio Flyer, the iconic 100-year-old wagon company, or SRC Holdings, the employee-owned re-manufacturer that introduced open-book management to the world, or Basecamp, developer and supplier of the world’s preeminent project management software. Others are probably new to you. For example:

Missouri Star Quilt Company, a family business that began with a quilting tutorial on YouTube, became an online sensation, and transformed a tiny town into a tourist destination, the Disneyland of Quilting.

Zulu Alpha Kilo, the iconoclastic Toronto ad agency that refuses to do “spec work” for potential clients, has a fictitious website, and is winning awards right and left, including AdAge’s International Small Agency of the Year.

NightLight Pediatrics, a provider of urgent care services for children in Texas that aims to be “the McDonald’s of urgent care” nationwide.

As great as these companies are, we have just scratched the surface. Hundreds more Small Giants can be found throughout North America and in every industry, each setting new standards for excellence in business.

Most of them, moreover, are growing—some quite fast. As a result, they are frequently approached by outside investors. Though, like all companies, they need capital to grow, they can only take on investors who understand that decisions won’t necessarily be made to increase their short-term return on investment.

If you know about a company that sounds like the ones I’m describing, we are very interested in hearing from you. Most of the companies on our lists we learn about through reader nominations. So, again, you can find the nomination form here.. We greatly appreciate any help you can give us in identifying the best small companies in America!

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The deadline is fast approaching for nominations to the 2020 Forbes Small Giants list. If you know or work for a great small company, please let us know about it no later than December 23 so that we can consider it for inclusion on our next group of 25 Forbes Small Giants. You can find the nomination form here.

To be considered, a company must be at least 10 years old in 2020, profitable, and privately owned, with majority control in the hands of inside shareholders. Nominated companies that meet those conditions will then be judged according to the following criteria:

  • The leaders’ commitment to building a great business, even if that means passing up some growth opportunities along the way.
  • The company’s reputation for the quality of its products and services.
  • How customers feel about doing business with it.
  • The state of its financial health.
  • The success of its culture in bringing out the best in its people.
  • Its relationship with its community and its contributions outside its industry.
  • Whether or not it is “human-scale”—that is, not so large that the people at the top no longer have direct contact with lower-level employees, and vice versa.

Often you can identify a Small Giant by the effect the company has on those who come in contact with it, whether they be employees, customers, suppliers, neighbors, or other members of the communities in which it does business. People are attracted to it. They want to be associated with it. The business has a kind of charisma, which I call mojo.

In the last four years, we have showcased a hundred companies with lots of mojo that are great by any standard. Some you may be familiar with, such as Radio Flyer, the iconic 100-year-old wagon company, or SRC Holdings, the employee-owned re-manufacturer that introduced open-book management to the world, or Basecamp, developer and supplier of the world’s preeminent project management software. Others are probably new to you. For example:

Missouri Star Quilt Company, a family business that began with a quilting tutorial on YouTube, became an online sensation, and transformed a tiny town into a tourist destination, the Disneyland of Quilting.

Zulu Alpha Kilo, the iconoclastic Toronto ad agency that refuses to do “spec work” for potential clients, has a fictitious website, and is winning awards right and left, including AdAge’s International Small Agency of the Year.

NightLight Pediatrics, a provider of urgent care services for children in Texas that aims to be “the McDonald’s of urgent care” nationwide.

As great as these companies are, we have just scratched the surface. Hundreds more Small Giants can be found throughout North America and in every industry, each setting new standards for excellence in business.

Most of them, moreover, are growing—some quite fast. As a result, they are frequently approached by outside investors. Though, like all companies, they need capital to grow, they can only take on investors who understand that decisions won’t necessarily be made to increase their short-term return on investment.

If you know about a company that sounds like the ones I’m describing, we are very interested in hearing from you. Most of the companies on our lists we learn about through reader nominations. So, again, you can find the nomination form here.. We greatly appreciate any help you can give us in identifying the best small companies in America!

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I have been writing about business for the past 34 years and have authored five books along the way. The most recent one is Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Thei...