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E291 | Building Resilient, Profitable Evergreen Companies with Purpose with Bo Burlingham

This week on Mind Your F**king Business Podcast, we dive into the depths of business value, purpose, and profitability with none other than the inquisitive and insightful Bo Burlingham. As a journalist and the author of excellent books including Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top, and Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big,  Bo is no stranger to the keys to long-lasting business success.

In this episode, Bo imparts wisdom gleaned from 40 years in business, shedding light on dynamic business models and discussing the principles vital for business resilience. He talks about protecting gross margins, the perils of debt, and the agility needed to adapt to industry changes.

Bo also introduces us to the world of “evergreen companies” – organisations rejecting the short-termism of outside funding in favour of purpose-driven, employee-focused, and steady internal growth.

This episode is a treasure trove of business acumen, discussing the qualities that make a company not just big, but genuinely great—impacting communities, forming personal connections with customers, and employing unique organisational strategies.

Download and listen today!

On today’s podcast: 

  • Evergreen companies and what they have in common
  • What makes a great business
  • Small Giants: what makes them successful and how can they fail
  • The Great Game Of Business: key takeaways

Follow Bo:



Small Giants

Finish Big

Who is Bo Burlingham

Bo Burlingham has been writing about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship for 40 years, mainly for Inc. magazine, where he served as executive editor and then editor at large. He is currently a contributing writer for Forbes. Along the way, he has authored five books, the most recent being Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top. He previously authored Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, which was a finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award. That book inspired the Small Giants Community, which he co-founded with Paul Spiegelman. 

He has written three other books with coauthors, including two with Jack Stack, CEO of Springfield Holdings Corp. and the pioneer of open-book management—The Great Game of Business (selected as one of the 100 best business books of all time) and A Stake in the Outcome— and one with serial entrepreneur Norm Brodsky entitled Street Smarts. He lives with his wife of 53 years, Lisa, in Long Beach, California. They have two children and four grandchildren.

What you’ll learn from Bo Burlingham

02:21 – Dave Whorton’s Journey Discovering Business Creation In The 90s

04:45 – What Are Evergreen Companies and What They Have In Common

10:12 – The Tugboat Institute: Creation And Growth 

14:38 –Why Jim Collins Was Turned Off By Silicon Valley

17:29 – Small Giants: Companies That Chose To Be Big, Not Great

19:12 – Bo’s Definition Of A Great Business

21:25 – How Small Giants Can Fail And How To Avoid It

26:02 – What Happens When A Company Fails To Adapt To Change

32:17 – Key Takeaways From The Great Game of Business

36:23 – What Is Profit? 

40:28 – A Journey Of Continuous Learning

No Man’s Land

The Great Game of Business 

Great by Choice 

Managing Corporate Lifecycles

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