In many ways, the Inc. 5000 has been called “the list that counts.” According to Eric Schurenberg, editor in chief of Inc. Magazine, there is only one way to get on that list―innovation and sustained achievement by a founder or a team of founders. Over the past decade, almost 40,000 businesses have done just that.
These small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are called the “fastest-growing private companies in America.” They know how to innovate, and they have come up with some of the coolest products on the market today―from compostable, disposable tableware made from plants to chickpea snacks to belts that have no holes and fasten with a patented sliding buckle.
But you know the old adage―you have to spend money to make money. So to find out where these uber-successful small- and mid-size companies (SMBs) are spending their money, Oracle joined forces with Inc. Media to conduct a study―The Talent and Tech Driving America’s Fastest-Growing Companies. This study was designed to better understand what is on the minds of those SMB executives who have enjoyed enormous year-over-year growth over the last three consecutive years. The study makes for great reading; it focused on a variety of subjects, including what makes a high-growth business, why optimism is important to business growth, and where leaders of Inc. 5000 companies plan to spend their money in the upcoming year (among other things).
1. Maximizing customer relationships is at the top of the list in terms of investment priorities. But what does this mean? The Inc. 5000 does not plan to “buy” customers (that is a really bad strategy, with very little return). But they do plan on spending money to aggressively address (i.e. market, sell, and support) markets that may have fallen by the wayside. In addition, they plan to spend money to make their customer service experience top-notch. This is the age of instant gratification, and most SMBs know that they need to respond smarter and quicker to customer inquiries.
2. Finding, hiring, and retaining the right people ranked second in terms of spending. But they are not spending this money in ways you may think. They are not hiring high-priced recruiters or forming partnerships with staffing firms. They are focusing on company culture as a key tool in the hiring and retention of quality employees. Company culture shifts require movement on all levels. Employer brand messaging has to change, but so do processes, procedures, responsibilities. Change management has to become a part of the company culture. And with change comes stress, employee anxiety, and steep learning curves. However, the right HCM Cloud solution can mitigate all of these.
3. Technology rounds out the list at number three. Investing in technology (including cloud solutions) was chosen by 41 percent of the respondents. It is interesting to note that very few of the survey respondents listed technology as a reason behind their fast growth. But with their plans to focus on this very area, it is clear that fast-growing companies understand the role that the right cloud solution plays in supporting (and sustaining) fast growth. It is very difficult to maintain 500-600% growth rates over multiple years with spreadsheets, desktop financial software, and email.