3 Lessons From Fast-Growing Companies

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.” –Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM

Running a fast-growing company isn’t easy. And it’s not meant to be—it’s a challenging, rapidly evolving process that never slows down enough for you to get comfortable. But the businesses that keep up with that growth and achieve long-term success have a few things in common. Which is why learning the habits of successful fast-growing company (FGCs) leaders can provide meaningful insights for small-to-medium size business (SMB) growth.

Enter The Business Journals’ newly released e-book, 10 Traits & Tactics of Fast-Growing Companies. Based on data from the publication’s 15th annual survey of SMB leaders across the nation (2017 SMB Insights), the e-book highlights the characteristics of the top one-third—from FGCs. These organizations boast 11% or more in sales growth; their stakeholders’ shared traits offer a useful compass to point other SMB leaders in the direction of success.

So what exactly should other scalable SMBs be doing? Here are the top three lessons we gleaned from their e-book:

Lesson 1: Fast Growth Takes Time

Over 90% of all FGCs have been operating for more than 5 years. Plus, they put in more time on a weekly basis—FGC leaders devote around 53 hours per week to business, compared to 49 hours for their slower-growing counterparts.

This means that most businesses won’t experience fast growth right off the bat. To achieve growth more quickly, however, a slight increase in weekly work hours at the leadership level may go a long way.


Lesson 2: Fast Growth Takes The Right Mindset

Leaders in FGCs are focused, committed, and confident. Regardless of geographic location or industry, business owners saw growth when they mapped out their plans for such growth, kept these goals in mind, and remained positive about achieving their visions.

14% more FGC owners saw themselves eventually becoming leaders in their industry compared to slower-growing SMB owners. Essentially, thinking big made an impact on their businesses’ pace of growth.


Lesson 3: Fast Growth Takes An Adaptive Online Presence

With over 84% of Americans accessing the internet regularly via smart phones and other mobile devices in 2017, an effective mobile presence is imperative for growth.

To keep up with growing mobile audiences, FGC leaders invested in responsive websites that are easily accessible across desktop and mobile devices. Marketing resources skewed towards digital channels, including email and social media marketing, although many FGC leaders continued to find value in trade shows and industry events.


Qualities, Commitments, and Outlooks For Growth

Sure, no two companies are the same—just like with people. But there’s a safe bet that applying these three lessons in your organization will positively impact success. For SMB leaders seeking business growth, start by setting realistic timelines, investing in responsive websites, and thinking big. By this time next year, you just might be in the FGC category!

Learn more about The Business Journals’ 2017 SMB Insights Report.


The Business Journals. (2017). 10 Traits & Tactics of Fast-Growing Companies: 2017 SMB Insights [E-book].