How To Build An Inc. 500 Company (And Not Ruin One)

Want to turn your business idea into an industry dominating Inc. 500 company?

Discover how to make it on the Inc. 500 list, the advantages it offers and how to stay on top once you get there.

 

Why Join the Inc. 500 Club?

Inc. 500 LogoThe Inc. 500|5000 list of the fastest growing companies has many benefits for title holders, aside from simply massaging an entrepreneur’s ego.

 

Since inception in 1982 the Inc. 500 list has paid homage to the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. This is the top 500 out of the 5,000 strong list of honorees. And like most other things today, it’s about growth, not size.

 

The Advantages of Being an Inc. 500 Company include:

  • Branding and visibility via substantial media coverage
  • Credibility
  • Increased attractiveness to consumers, investors and vendors
  • Increased web traffic and conversion ratios

So how do you get on the list?

It’s actually probably a lot easier than you think. You don’t have to wait to be nominated or discovered; you can apply for inclusion yourself. Requirements in 2013 included a 4 year track record, $100k earnings in the first year, $2M in revenues within 3 years after that, and for revenue to be growing.

 

Application deadlines come on April 30th, with the 2013 Inc. 500|5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony starting on October 10th, 2013. That gives most forward thinking entrepreneurs the chance to position themselves well for 2014 and beyond.

 

Note: If you don’t meet this criteria there are plenty of other awards and accreditations you can submit your firm for such as the SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year award.

 

How Can Entrepreneurs & Small Business CEOs Emulate Inc. 500 Success?

So what can you do to hack the system and step up your game if you or your company aren’t quite hitting this level of growth or revenues yet?

Read: Growth Hacking 2.0 – Explode Your Revenues

According to the most recent Inc. 500 CEO survey:

  • 79% use social media
  • Average wake up time is 6 am
  • 45% have breakfast everyday
  • 52% rarely drink alcohol
  • They average 3 hours of family time a day
  • They get in their workouts with an average of 1 hour a day exercising
  • They offer generous perks and benefits to employees
  • 51.7% are Steve Jobs style visionary, ‘creative builder’ type leaders

Note: 33% started with less than $10,000, and 42% say they don’t want outside funding

5 of the most popular ways to rocket growth today include:

  1. Get a reality TV show
  2. Blogging
  3. Self-distributed press releases
  4. Creating an affiliate network (even Warren Buffett is cashing in on this now)
  5. Leveraging online influencers and social media

So with a little ingenuity, guerilla style marketing, networking, emulating successful habits, and a lot of prayer there is nothing holding most entrepreneurs or their firms back from Inc. 500 status.

However, getting there and staying there can be two completely different things…

How Not To Ruin Your Inc. 500 Company

Sadly there are many ‘one hit wonders’ out there that burn out at the speed of a shooting star in the night sky. Recognize how others have failed and let their crowns be snatched by the young pizza faced geek from down the street and make sure you don’t make the same missteps…

5 Keys to Staying on Top:

  1. Never stop innovating for a moment
  2. Don’t allow an overinflated ego cause you to make rash decisions
  3. Don’t overlook the need for constant and proactive online reputation management
  4. Keep on analyzing the competition and your keywords monthly
  5. Don’t let your voice and brand become bland to try and hold on to what you have

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