CRN's 2012 Fast Growth: How To Kickstart Your Business


CRN's Fast Growth solution providers are a unique breed. Between 2009 and 2011, a time when many businesses were saddled with stagnant -- if not decelerating -- growth, these VARs have seen sales soar. How they achieved such impressive balance sheets is a combination of working smart and knowing both their own businesses and their customers' markets.

The numbers tell the story, in part: Among the entire 150, the average 2011 revenue was $140.68 million, up from $75.38 million just two years ago. That's an increase of 87 percent. That mean revenue figure is also higher among the 2012 crop of solution providers; last year's Fast Growth companies averaged sales of $103 million. Those robust figures prove there is opportunity in even the most dismal economic times.

The average two-year growth rate among this year's 150 is 171.59 percent. That figure is down slightly from 187 percent -- the two-year average growth rate of the companies that were on the 2011 list. However, the solution providers comprising this year's list had double the revenue of last year's: Overall, the Fast Growth 2012 had sales of $21.1 billion, compared with $10.35 billion in 2011, and $5.3 billion in 2010.

Large or small, Fast Growth is a management style more than anything else. These 150 companies are not a homogenous lot: Fast Growth companies range from the smallest, HillSouth, with $2.5 million in revenue and two-year growth of nearly 170 percent, to the largest, World Wide Technology, with $4.1 billion in sales and two-year growth of 86 percent. Fast Growth companies come in all sizes: 20 percent have revenue of $2 million up to $10 million; 15 percent, $10 million to $24 million; 19 percent, $25 million to $49.9 million; 18 percent, $50 million to $99 million; 11 percent, $100 million to $249.9 million; and 13 percent, more than $250 million.

The leaders of Fast Growth companies seem to recognize opportunities more quickly and nimbly than others. They strike when the iron is hot -- but they've set a foundation in place so that the move is planned and successful, not random and doomed to fail. Here, Fast Growth executives offer seven tips on how to revitalize a business, so that when opportunity knocks, not only do you know how to answer, but you'll also have your bags packed and be ready to go where the market takes you.

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