Inc's 2013 Survey of Entrepreneurs
Every year or so, Inc magazine does a major poll of successful entrepreneurs to find out what motivates them (2013 Inc 5000), what decisions they consider to have been the best and worst for their companies, what they would have done differently, what they would and would not change about the way their companies have evolved, how they view the business climate today versus when they first began, what are the qualities of good leaders, how to select the best employees and how to dump bad ones, whether to seek out venture capital investors, how to handle undeserved bad publicity, etc. The September 2013 issue is an example. It is chock full of graphs and charts to let you see the responses of the founders and CEOs of the Inc 5000 list of companies (Portrait of a Leader). Some might surprise you.
For instance, 19% say their employees view them as a "tough taskmaster." You might think that would be a big negative, but there are some people that are at their best when given a requirement and an expectation that the job be performed as outlined, with little or no room for error. Out of a list of 21 qualities of an outstanding leader, #1 was trustworthiness and #21 was likability; in other words, being the best friend of all your employees and overlooking underperformance is not considered anywhere near as important as running a company that is successful and keeps the paychecks coming to employees. That doesn't mean it's okay to be a tyrant, but you don't have to sacrifice the good of the company to be everybody's best friend. 29% think achieving a good work-life balance is "a nice fantasy."
What probably doesn't surprise you is that 42% identify finding and keeping good employees and skilled workers to be the biggest challenge facing leaders. Delegating financial control to someone else early in the game was the biggest regret. A whopping 93% believe there is a distinction between being a great manager and being a great leader.
So, out of 5,000 top companies which one ranked numero uno? Why, Fuhu, of course! Right, I've never heard of them, either, but then their 3-year growth in revenue of 42,148% is a tad higher than RF Cafe's similar growth. Fuhu makes the Nabi, an Android tablet for kids. Number 5,000 is ALL4, which consults with companies on air quality issues. Tops in engineering is Integrity Engineering & Design Solutions (#533 overall), which advises on design, development, and manifesting in the aerospace, telecom and military industrial communities. Sparc (not the Sun Microsystems' Sparc) headed the Software category with an overall rating of #14 - they're proud of it, too, as evidenced by their homepage. The top telecommunications company was Spoken Communications (#90 overall), which provides large-enterprise contact centers using a cloud-based Avaya platform.
In the same issue is the Inc 500 list. Rather than me summarizing the results, you might consider taking a quick visit to the website. Here is a cool graphic from the article.
No, RF Cafe didn't make the list, and probably never will. My prices are too dirt cheap and have remained fixed for years. I could probably double or triple revenue by selling one of those wonderful full-screen website entry advertisements or by allowing those beloved ads that pop up onto your computer screen, but something tells me you wouldn't appreciate it very much, even though the industry has trained everyone to tolerate them. I don't even set cookies or collect and sell visitor URLs or e-mail addresses. There's a lot of money to be made by employing those tactics. Let me know if you'd like to be subject to any or all of them so maybe I can get onto the 2015 list.
Posted October 6, 2013