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

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Evaluate your staff, and look for gaps in competencies. Because you are looking to energize your revenue, hiring good people is not enough. You'll need experts. The people you hire should have specific qualities that are going to help you reach your goals.

"These people come in many different 'flavors,'" said Agilex's Nussbaum. "Hire subject-matter experts, known players who have a desire to start from zero and grow. For example, if you want to be in the DoD segment, you need someone with experience. We hired experts in the markets we focus on."

Hiring star-caliber players can not only earn your company name recognition, but it can also open doors that have otherwise been closed, or have been at least pretty tricky to get through. For example, Agilex hired a former FBI executive who ran an office within the Justice Department.

"He has great credibility. If one of our solutions doesn't meet his 'sniff test,' it's a no-go," said Nussbaum, adding that having such a gatekeeper helps the solution provider present only the most well-developed solutions. "We hired the best people in contracts, finance, messaging, etc. When we see talent, we get excited … we find talent is coming our way, as others have cut back, because we are committed to hiring outstanding people, not just average."

5. Think Big

Even small firms can employ the strategy of "if you build it, they will come." Companies such as Agilex installed a big company infrastructure long before it needed to. It laid a foundation incorporating groups focused around large company needs: human resources, finance and marketing. It also bought a building larger than it needed -- it wasn't paying rent every month and wouldn't have to move in the near future.

By behaving like much bigger companies, they visualized their success -- and enacted plans to support their anticipated growth.

Determine where your company’s strengths are, and capitalize on them. Create a scalable framework that will support and not inhibit your revenue growth.

6. Cross-Pollinate

If, after you've taken that "brutal look at yourself" (see Tip No. 1), you've discovered a real strong suit, capitalize on it.

"Remain open to successes in other parts of the business and cross-pollinate," said Tim Hoechst, CTO of Agilex. "Challenge one part of the business to improve on what another part has done." That's how Agilex integrated mobility into each of its business sectors: It first developed the technology in the government support services (GSS) area, but it quickly saw how it could help customers in its health-care segment.

7. Give Employees A Bigger Stake

Agilex is owned by its employees, a distinction that is significant to its success, said Hoechst. There is a spirit of innovation that is embraced by employee-owned companies that is tough to find at traditional firms, which are commonly owned by their presidents, or by stockholders. That's not simply one executive's opinion; there are numbers to support the case that employee-owned firms have better sales figures.

A 2008 study by Brent Kramer, Ph.D., then an economics doctoral student at the City University of New York, found that majority employee-owned businesses typically have higher sales per employee. Kramer’s figure for the average "advantage," $44,500, translates into a $9 million annual sales edge for the employee-owned firm with a staff of 200, over its nonemployee-owned "twin."

Editor's note: In print and online are the Top 25 Fast Growth solution providers. The Fast Growth 100 and 50 Up-and-Comers lists can be purchased by contacting Laurie Condon at or Nora Uriarte at, or by purchasing the CRN Tech News app for iPad in the App Store.

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