Inc. Magazine September 2018

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures LLC, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.

United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
a window onto america

There are lots of reasons to appreciate the annual Inc. 500 list. If your company is on it, it’s unparalleled recognition of your years of hard work and sacrifice. From an economic point of view, it’s a valuable tool for analyzing where growth and job creation is happening in the United States. But our list is also a high-definition view of how Americans are living and behaving right now. “Fitness Warriors,” which begins on page 48, provides a perfect example. As San Francisco bureau chief Jeff Bercovici explains, the health and fitness industry continues to undergo a dramatic transformation. More than 61 million Americans visited a health club in 2017, up 33 percent from a decade ago. And the way people exercise is changing—more and more Americans want to work out…

14 min
introduction to the inc. 500

Two weeks after earning her real estate license in 2013, Liz Abrams was leading motivational sessions for more than 70 agents at the brokerage where she worked. Abrams had surged from the starting gate, nailing 22 listings in her first month on the job. She invited envious colleagues to “wine nights” during which they’d sip chardonnay and watch her work on potential sellers. “I said, ‘I’ll make the calls. You guys sit and listen and take notes,’” says Abrams. Eager to build her own stable of sales stallions, Abrams launched, with her husband, an eponymous realty company in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2014. With seven children at home, Liz and Jim Abrams argued over the expense of leasing their first office. “He was like, ‘Liz, how can we cover that?’” recalls Abrams. “I…

1 min
how the 2018 inc. 500 companies were selected

Companies on the 2018 Inc. 500 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2014 to 2017. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2014. They must be U.S.- based, privately held, for-profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2017. (Since then, some on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2014 is $100,000; the minimum for 2017 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Note: Growth rates used to determine company rankings were calculated to two decimal places. There were two ties on this year’s Inc. 500; the companies with more revenue were placed higher.…

3 min
in the field

№ 330 Jimmy Carr → ALL POINTS BROADBAND Three-year growth 1,500.7% · 2017 revenue $4.8 million LEESBURG, VIRGINIA · FOUNDED 2014 A Faster Web, Far Off the Beaten Path When Jimmy Carr visited his parents’ vacation home in northern Michigan back in 2012, he couldn’t teleconference with the partners at his Washington, D.C., law firm: The internet was just too slow. So he bought some antennas and set up a business beaming broadband to a few dozen houses nearby. Realizing he was on to something, he quit his job, recruited fellow former Eagle Scout Tom Innes, and set out to bring speedier internet service to rural stretches of their native Virginia. Doing so requires installing large antennas atop existing towers, like this one off Route 666 in Waterford—or in some cases, corn silos—and smaller ones…

2 min
how you got here and where you’re going

U.S. LABOR MARKETS are tight, and the long-standing top obstacle to growth cited by Inc. 500 founders—hiring and retention—reigned again. Other key obstacles are charted below. Questions about innovation elicited a similar response: A plurality of 42% said that talented staffers were the biggest factor in their company’s ability to innovate. 86% OF INC. 500 CEOS SAY SCALING THEIR BUSINESS IS THEIR PRIMARY GOAL. ONLY 9% SAY THEIR GOAL IS TO SELL IT. THE TOP PITFALLS TO SUPER FAST GROWTH, founders say, are challenges to cash flow, culture, and hiring. “We’ve almost ‘grown’ ourselves out of business multiple times,” rues one. Others? “Not being prepared for all the obstacles.” “Inexperienced staff can’t handle all the growth.” “Not focusing enough on client results.” “Greed.” And, of course: “Oh, shit starts to break left,…

5 min
he remade his ugly duckling of a company into a swan

№ 1 Brad Hollister → SWANLEAP Three-year growth 75,660.8% · 2017 revenue $99 million MADISON, WISCONSIN · FOUNDED 2013 Two years into the launch of Brad Hollister’s startup, an online marketplace for buying and selling freight space in trucks, he faced a choice. He’d sunk $200,000 of his own money into the company. Then he’d landed a huge client, and parlayed that win into a term sheet for a $2 million venture capital round. All he had to do was sign on the line. Instead, Hollister walked away—to start what would turn out to be the fastest-growing private company in America: the Madison, Wisconsin–based SwanLeap, which uses an artificial intelligence platform and custom software to help huge manufacturers and retailers and other clients save money on shipping and better manage their supply chains. In 2013—SwanLeap’s first full…