Forbes names three small ATL companies nation’s best in 2016

Three metro Atlanta businesses — a food delivery company, an ear, nose and throat medical practice, and a business strategy firm that preaches military discipline — have been named to Forbes magazine’s inaugural list of 25 “Best Small Companies in America” for 2016.

Zifty.com, the ENT Institute and Afterburner were named in part for the respect each garners from colleagues in their industries, the companies contributions to society, and their decision to stay small to focus on superior service.

Other qualifications to be named to the list include being privately owned, having charismatic leadership and maintaining sound financial health for at least 10 years with a strong balance sheet and steady profit margins.Zifty1

“All of the companies on this list have had opportunities to get as big as possible, as fast as possible,” Forbes said in a Feb. 8 story about the companies.

“Growth is good, but the leaders of these companies have had other, non-financial priorities as well, such as being great at what they do, creating great places to work, providing great service to customers, making great contributions to their communities and finding great ways to lead their lives,” the magazine said.

About Afterburner, founded 20 years ago by former Air Force instructor pilot Jim Murphy, Forbes said: “The company’s specialty is teaching clients how to define and execute a business strategy with a military-inspired approach to teamwork. Although the firm works primarily with large public companies, Afterburner remains small by design. Murphy says that, where large consulting firms often throw teams of people at clients, he prefers to use a “force multiplier” strategy by deploying just two to four consultants.”

On ENT Institute, founded by Jeff Gallups, Forbes said: “Unlike most hospitals, ENTI posts prices for its procedures on its website. A tonsillectomy for an adult, for instance, will cost about $2,300, compared with a national average of about $4,000. ENTI can charge less because, unlike a general hospital, it has no money-losing departments (like an emergency room) to support.”

The magazine praised Zifty.com for its business savvy and for the ability to retain employees in an industry that experiences large turnover.

“Zifty stands out in the increasingly crowded field of restaurant- and grocery-delivery services because it’s been around since 2003. Founded by Todd Miller, it offered customers real-time tracking of orders before any of its competitors. It has grown without taking outside investments or incurring debt (apart from a mortgage). And in a high-turnover field, the company has managed to attract and keep good drivers. A third have been with the company for more than a year and 19 percent for more than two years.

 

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