As sponsors of the Jacksonville Business Journal’s Fast50 awards, we evaluated all of the applications and had the privilege of learning what the fastest-growing companies are doing to make their numbers. Sure, a smart business plan, adequate cash flow, and a growing customer base are all prerequisites to build a business. As we zeroed in on the top 10 companies, some common themes emerged as clear success factors.
Hire the right people and tap their collective creativity
Time and time again, the top 10 fastest-growing companies mentioned their employees. The war for talent rages on in almost every industry, and these companies recognize how important it is to attract and retain people who are motivated and have the right attitude. The #1 winner, Conser Moving and Storage, talked about valuing their team members’ ideas in order to “unleash the collective intelligence within our workforce.”
In order to develop and keep a committed workforce, it’s critical to focus on your work environment and culture. Do people generally enjoy coming to work? Do they have the right tools and training that enable them to do their jobs well? Do you listen to their opinions and welcome their feedback? If your workforce is struggling, it’s a non-stop uphill battle to satisfy your customers and grow your business. Company #8, Forcura, reminds us to “always remember your employees are your most valuable assets.”
Make sure everyone understands a clear vision and goals
The leaders of the fastest-growing companies know what they’re going after, and so do their teams. They set clear goals, measure progress, and make sure everyone involved knows what the vision is and how they plan to achieve it. Along with that comes anticipating future client needs. Company #4, Automotive Broadcasting Network, said, “It’s important to know what your clients need now, but it’s more important to deliver what your clients will need, whether they know they need it or not.”
When setting your vision, look forward—where is your company going? Unite your entire team around an inspiring and attainable vision, and make sure they understand how to live the vision in their daily work. Adopt core values that are endemic to everything you do.
Focus on delivering value and getting the customer experience right
By and large, the fastest-growing companies aren’t actually targeting rapid growth. Their growth comes out of the hard work needed to offer quality products and services delivered with positive, memorable customer experiences. Company #9, Auditmacs, puts it simply: “Do what you say you’ll do!”
If your customers aren’t happy, take a look at every step in their interactions with your company. If the home office has a positive environment but the reps in the field are making people angry, then you have a critical problem to address. Company #5, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Lifestyles Realty reminds us to “focus on becoming a company of value and success will follow.”
Just keep swimming
The fastest-growing companies never give up. Like all businesses, they’ve faced ups and downs, and they keep growing because they never stop pushing forward. Vested Metals International, company #6, tell us, “Our failures are not final and we can embrace change.” At company #7, Reliant Roofing, they’ve learned, “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving.”
Awards programs like the Fast50 can make growing a business look easy, but anyone who’s ever tried to run a company knows it takes a lot of work and faith to keep going. Congratulations to all of the Fast50 winners on your inspiring pursuit of success. We can’t wait to see what you do next.