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small giants

Choose to be a Small Giant

Design has never been more relevant in its ability to impact on a positive future for the British economy. And it is businesses that have strategically embedded design across their organisations to drive their success that prove how fundamental design is to all thriving enterprises.

But it’s the unique characteristics within your business that really sets our industry apart. You think differently; you work differently; you aspire differently.

You choose to be Small Giants.

You look beyond the standard definition of success to focus on greatness in bigger areas than financial and geographical growth. Instead, you choose to focus on being great at what you do, creating a great place to work, giving clients a great service, having a great relationship with suppliers, making great contributions to the communities you live and work in, and finding great ways to live your lives.

Here at the DBA, we champion greatness in all the small businesses that think big. Our focus is to shine a light on each of the unique characteristics that drive you, with a carefully curated programme of training, events and seminars that will empower your freedom of choice and help you shape your business.

What is a Small Giant?


As a founder or leader, you see beyond the standard definition of success and look to explore bigger choices in the development of your business, and the way you work.


Building a business faces plenty of challenges but you resist the prescribed path and external pressures to maintain what’s important to you: control – and the freedom to realise your own vision.


Your people are valuable so you treat them with respect, dignity and integrity, whilst making your business a great place to work emotionally, spiritually, economically and socially.


Usual corporate structures don’t work for your business so you take advantage of being small and privately owned to develop and tailor effective unique management practices.


Working effectively means respecting everyone in and around your business, so you create exceptional relationships with your clients and suppliers for long-term benefits.


It’s important to respect the neighbourhood, town or city where you do business, so you engage with local communities and issues for a meaningful emotional impact.


Design businesses start with passion and yours is no different, which is why you’re proud to work differently for a better result for your company, your people and your community.

Says DBA Chief Executive Deborah Dawton

“Our industry has unique characteristics that set us apart. And it’s these characteristics – the way we think differently; the way we work differently; the way we aspire differently – that enable us to deliver this level of customer impact and financial return for the businesses we work in and for.”

“When I look at the DBA’s membership, I see businesses defined by their determination to be, not just good, but to be great at what they do. Driven by a genuine desire to the best they can be at what they do, to create a stimulating place for their staff to work, to provide great client servicing, to make a wider positive impact beyond simply their own financial gains. It’s what gives this sector its unique mojo. And it’s what makes the UK design industry so special.”

About: Small Giants

To learn more about Small Giants, you can read veteran journalist Bo Burlingham’s book; Small Giants: Companies that choose to be great instead of big.

Burlingham, editor at large of Inc., looks closely at businesses that have focussed on being great at what they do by fulfilling more satisfying business goals. He delves deep inside 14 privately held companies and explores how by marching to their own drum, they’ve gained a unique mojo, and draws out the lessons we can learn from this.


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