Each year, Forbes, in partnership with the Small Giants Community, publishes their list of the top 25 small companies in America. The list celebrates standout businesses that have chosen greatness over growth. All of the winners are privately owned, profitable, at least 10 years old and are selected based on factors like community involvement, workplace quality and industry excellence. This post highlights 4 reasons we believe made a difference in our selection.
This year, in their 3rd annual list, Forbes recognized us as one of the “Best Small Companies of 2018." This is incredibly rewarding considering we never make decisions just for recognition. As said in our manifesto, “we do the right thing when no one’s looking.” However, in this case, it’s nice to know that people are actually looking.
The Small Giants Philosophy
In 2005, co-founders Brad Herrmann, Hai Nguyen and Stephen Barclay built Call-Em-All. Over time the company adopted the Small Giants Philosophy - the idea that there’s more to success than the bottom line. Instead of focusing on growth and revenue, Call-Em-All prioritizes great work culture, providing excellent customer service, serving the community, and being the best at what they do. Some big companies are willing to sacrifice all of these things in order to grow as large and fast as possible. Small Giants differ in that we see a connection between company culture and business success.
By integrating our values of authenticity, empathy and shared excellence - employees take great pride in their work, customers are happy, and growth comes naturally. Sure, we could get instant growth by allowing marketing, fundraising, and political messages on our platform - but "we loathe unwanted & annoying interrupt dinner with the family spam calls."
Hard Work Pays Off
Being recognized as one of Forbes' top 25 small businesses validates all of the work we’ve put in over the last 13 years to build a company that’s great, not big.
"It's rewarding to be acknowledged for all of the time, money, and effort we’ve put into our culture, people, and community," says co-founder Brad Herrmann.
It doesn't just pay off in regards to business, "It’s also nice to see that it has a big impact on employees’ lives,” adds co-founder Hai Nguyen.
Culture Affects Customers
At Call-Em-All, we measure success more than just by the dollars we bring in. Being named one of Forbes top 25 companies doesn’t depend on how much revenue a company makes - companies also have to be doing a lot of good for employees, community, and customers. As a customer, you want to do business with people who share the same values and provide excellent service and support. Making Forbes' list shows customers we genuinely care about their experience and well-being, in addition to our employees and community.
“Every time a customer calls in, they speak with an authentic employee who is knowledgeable and truly cares about solving their problem,” says Herrmann.
Nguyen adds, “We’re not a big company, so being named one of Forbes’ Top 25 small companies gives CEA a sort of legitimacy - it proves we’re not some 'fly-by-night' type of shop with other motivations. We’ll be here for a while.”
A New Way Of Doing Business
At the end of the day, the Forbes Small Giants list is an opportunity for small businesses to get national recognition for what they do.
“It’s neat to see other companies operating under the values-driven leadership movement like us, and to be mentioned alongside them is an honor,” says Herrmann.
With more and more small companies embracing the “great, not big,” mentality, it’s possible big companies will also join the movement. Bo Burlingham, author of the book Small Giants, and Loren Feldman, Sr. Editor at Forbes, believe small giants are on the cutting edge. Maybe the way small giants are operating is a look into the future of business, where companies are celebrated for providing a great experience for their employees, families, customers, and community.
“We’re truly trying to be an example for other companies to show there’s a different way to run your business,” says Herrmann, “You can run a profitable business while having win-win relationships across the board. Whether that’s with your employees, partners, customers, or any other personal organizations you deal with.”
Who knows? The way Small Giants like us and others are operating may just be the future of business. For now, we at CEA will continue focusing on staying true to ourselves and doing the right thing even when no one’s looking.
For a deeper look inside our company: