It's not often you get a chance to hear from an expert about turning good businesses into great businesses.
Bo Burlingham certainly qualifies as an expert on this topic. He is editor-at-large of Inc. magazine, which he originally joined in 1983. He co-authors an Inc. column called "Street Smarts" with Norm Brodsky.
Burlingham will be the keynote speaker at this year's Club Industry Show at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. His address, "Big or Small: Take Your Health and Fitness Business from Good to Great," will share some of the wisdom that he wrote about in what is perhaps his best-known book, "Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big," which was published in 2006. The book focused on 14 companies whose leaders decided to redefine success not as getting bigger but as getting better. They did so by providing great customer service, by being a great place to work and by making their communities better places to live.
During his keynote at the Club Industry Show, Burlingham will share six characteristics that give great companies their "mojo," which he said is the special quality that allows them to attract and keep the best employees and earn the undying loyalty of customers and admiration of peers. He will share how you can make your business great while sharing examples of great businesses inside and outside the fitness industry.
I don't know for certain which companies Burlingham will focus on, but I imagine that one of them will be Gainesville Health & Fitness in Gainesville, Florida. In 2008, Burlingham wrote an article for Inc. about Joe Cirulli, CEO of Gainesville Health & Fitness, and Burlingham told me that if he had known Cirulli when he wrote the "Small Giants" book, he would have included Cirulli in that book.
Earlier this year, Burlingham selected Gainesville Health as No. 2 on Forbes magazine's first Best Small Companies in America list. The idea for the list grew out of the "Small Giants" book.
Burlingham is the author of four other business books:
- "Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top,"
- "Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Took Kit for Entrepreneurs" (co-authored with Brodsky)
- "The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company" (co-authored with Jack Stack, co-founder and CEO of SRC Holdings Corp. and pioneer of open-book management)
- "A Stake in the Outcome: Building a Culture of Ownership for the Long-Term Success of Your Business" (co-authored with Stack)
He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor's degree in public and international affairs. He is a former Fullbright Scholar and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Prior to joining Inc., Burlingham worked for Fidelity Investments. He was a founding member of PAC/World, which is an organization of business leaders and observers.
Don't miss his address. Register for the Club Industry Show today.