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.

NEXT: Get On, And Stay On, The Right Path1. Be Sure You Are On The Right Path ...

Get the latest channel news to your inbox every morning with the CRN Daily newsletter.