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Using the Inc. 500 for Strategic Advantage – 2 September 19, 2008

Posted by David Dirks in business strategy.
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I want to start a business and want to use some of the best models in my industry.  Where can I find them? 

Answer:  The Inc. 500.  Find the industry listing and carefully review each company listed.  Questions to ask yourself for each company you review:

  • What is it about these companies that makes them qualify for the Inc. 500?  What are they excelling at that allows them to create opportunities to grow profitably?
  • What are the major trends that show up as you review all the companies in the category?  What are the key drivers of the industry based on what you see in the Inc. 500 list?
  • Is the growth organic (growth based on internal investment in the business) or synthetic growth (growth built on acquisitions)?
  • What is their story?  How did they grow?  How long have they been in business?  If they have a website, you can usually find their ‘story’ on the ‘About Us’ page.
  • How have they positioned their company brand?  What is the image they want their customers to use when they think of them for products and/or services?
  • What business concepts can I adapt to in my area?  Is anyone else in my geographic area offering these kinds of products and/or services?  If not, why not? 
  • What has been the trend in their latest news or press releases? 
  • What can you find out about them by Googling their name?  This includes each of the officers of the corporation.
  • Do they have a blog?  What are they saying on their blog?  What are others (i.e. customers, etc.) saying on their blogs?  Blogs can be a key way to get a read on the latest issues that a company is concerned about and/or dealing with.  It’s also a great way to see how people outside of the company interact and the types of dialogue that develop in a company blog.
  • How do they utilize their website?  Sales? Product info?  Industry-orientied content?  Do they keep it up-to-date? What are they emphazising on their homepage? 

If you’re considering going out on your own, the Inc. 500 listing is a great way to garner some valuable and usable insights.  This kind of ranking process offers those who are willing to invest some time a strategic way to determine what kinds of businesses might be on the short list of consideration. 

Have an opinion on this?  Please feel free to respond to this blog!  Or, if you treasure privacy, feel free to email me directly at dirksmarketing@gmail.com

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