Every year the Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) names the top 100 fastest-growing private companies in the state of Washington. According to the PSBJ, ‘To make the list, companies must have recorded revenue of at least $500,000 in 2012 and demonstrated revenue growth through 2014. The firms are privately held during the reporting period and headquartered in Washington State.’
So how are these companies sustaining such rapid growth, year over year? I’m so glad you asked! I took a look at the list, did a bit of research, and noticed five themes surfacing over and over again. Here they are for you (and me) to ponder:
Planning is key
Todd Owens, CEO of TalentWise Inc., a leading cloud solutions provider for the Human Capital Management (HCM) industry, urges companies to ‘plan for success. Building a business is akin to building a skyscraper without knowing how many floors there will ultimately be. The foundation must be strong – the people, the organization, the technology, and the brand – so as not to limit potential.’ Planning is critical and well worth the effort up front. But not just any planning, but planning for success. Their plans are clearly paying off for them.
Hire the best
Gupreet ‘Sunny’ Singh, President and CEO of Edifecs, which provides healthcare software solutions, explains that companies should ‘create a clear vision. Hire the best. Then stand back and let them do magic.’ Three very important statements and in a specific order. Create a clear vision (there’s the planning again), hire the best talent that will support and realize the vision, and then give them the room to do what they were hired to do. This was stated over and over by the top 100 companies. ‘Take care of your people,’ ‘employees are your biggest asset,’ ‘put effort into retention,’ and so forth. It’s nothing new to hear this, but to actually practice it is another thing altogether.
Keep it simple
Steve Yi, co-founder and CEO of MediaAlpha, a leading advertising technology company, reminds us to ‘keep things simple, whether it’s a business deal or product features. Simple is scalable. Complicated is not.’ I’m reminded of the Super Bowl commercials that have the biggest impact; they are almost always simple, yet creative and effective. I don’t believe there’s much difference as it applies to business. Focus on your core competencies and excel at them, but do what it takes to keep it simple.
Stay focused on the customer
Chad Richeson, CEO of Society Consulting, claims a key to their success is to ‘be relentlessly focused on the customer.’ Again, nothing new here, but so important to be reminded of. This might mean being creative on how you go about meeting a customer’s needs, never giving up and never taking no for an answer. Or it could mean rolling out the red carpet, so to speak, and providing exceptional service and value. What this looks like will obviously differ by business in industry, but you get the gist. The customer is important. Very important.
Get serious about fun
Says Adriaan van Wyk, CEO of K2, a software company that enables users to create workflows and applications that automate business processes and streamline operations, ‘focus on people, quality, and fun.’ Did you catch that? Did he say fun? Can a company grow and be successful and have fun doing it? Clearly that answer is yes, based on their noted success. Scheduled happy hours, ping pong games, team competitions, birthday celebrations, and karaoke contests are all ways to stay together but have fun doing it. People who have fun together generally work better together, and a solid team turns out better results…and revenue.
Now, there’s no guarantee that applying these themes to your business or team will bring about the rapid revenue growth these companies are experiencing, but it’s always worth analyzing the success of others and seeing what you can take and apply. For me, I’m going to work on the Fun part 🙂