Find the Fastest Growing Companies in Your Own Back Yard, Then Network!

Today in our training at the Provo Labs Academy for Entrepreneurs (yes, I know, we probably should think of a more creative name for it) we discussed how important it is to become familiar with the fastest growing companies in your own local area. In Utah, there are a lot of lists that make this quite easy.

The Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum selects the Top 25 Under 5 every summer. These are companies that are less than five years old that are growing fast. They are companies to watch. (Here are last year’s winners.)

Yesterday, the annual Utah 100 was announced by the Mountain West Capital Network (MWCN). The web site hasn’t been updated with this year’s winners yet, but you can see the last few years of winners there. These companies are at least 5 years old, but they also have an emerging category.

Next, we looked at the Inc. 500 winners in Utah for the past 3 years. They are also at least 5 years old and are judged based on percent revenue growth. Here is the list:

Inc. 500 Companies from Utah, 2006
Eleven Utah companies are on the 25th annual Inc. 500 ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the country.

  • Logoworks of Lindon was the top-ranked Utah company, coming in 66th.
  • Omniture, Orem, 67.
  • Atlas Marketing Group, Provo, 143.
  • Backcountry.com, Park City, 165.
  • Summit Energy, Park City, 236
  • Universal Accounting Center, Salt Lake City, 313.
  • Edge Products, Ogden, 328.
  • Spring Communications, Salt Lake City, 349.
  • MaxStream, Lindon, 391.
  • Diamond Wireless, Salt Lake City, 419.
  • VitalSmarts, Provo, 491.
  • Inc. 500 Companies from Utah, 2005

    Virginia ranked first in the highest number of Inc. 500 companies per capita with 4.5 companies per million residents. Massachusetts ranked second at 4, and Utah ranked third at 3.7. Companies included in the rankings posted an average three-year sales growth of 769 percent. Utah companies on this year’s list, and their rankings, are:

  • Die Cuts With a View, Provo, 70.
  • Edge Products, Ogden, 89.
  • MaxStream, Lindon, 92.
  • Arena Communications, Salt Lake City, 123.
  • iBahn, South Jordan, 253.
  • Omniture, Orem, 259.
  • Summit Energy, Park City, 291.
  • VitalSmarts, Provo, 293.
  • Back to Basics, Bluffdale, 389.
  • Inc. 500 Companies from Utah, 2004

    Utah has 16 companies ranked in the 23rd annual Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. . . As was the case last year, Utah led the states with the highest number of Inc. 500 companies per capita, with 6.8 per million residents. Virginia was a distant second with 3.9 per million residents. California had the most Inc. 500 companies, with 67.

    Other Utah companies on the list are:

  • Edge Products, Ogden, 30th, with $9.6 million in sales, average annual growth of 734 percent.
  • Hobbytron.com, Orem, 45th, $7.9 million, 532 percent.
  • iBoats Inc., Draper, 48th, $8.6 million, 515 percent.
  • USA Lending Group, Salt Lake City, 70th, $4.8 million, 380 percent.
  • Backcountry.com, Heber, 93rd, $14.9 million, 306 percent.
  • Summit Energy LLC, Park City, 96th, $61.1 million, 292 percent.
  • Ibahn (STSN Inc.), Midvale, 104th, $60.6 million, 276 percent.
  • Ikano Communications, Salt Lake City, 132nd, $27.7 million, 231 percent.
  • FatPipe Networks Inc., Salt Lake City, 189th, $3.1 million, 182 percent.
  • Pro Look Sports Corp., Provo, 199th, $2.7 million, 177 percent.
  • DieCuts with a View , Provo, 228th, $7.3 million, 162 percent.
  • Back to Basics Inc., Bluffdale, 250th, $68.3 million, 145 percent.
  • Cafe Rio Inc., Provo, 368th, $16.9 million, 99 percent.
  • ChartLogic Inc., Salt Lake City, 445th, $5.5 million, 84 percent.
  • Studeo, Salt Lake City, 474th, $41.8 million, 77 percent.
  • Today we also reviewed the Internet Retailer Top 500 list, which includes 7 or 8 Utah companies this year. There were 6 Utah companies in the first edition, the Top 300 list that was published last year.

    I didn’t review the Deloitte 500 list, but I know Omniture is on that last and probably some other Utah companies are as well. I just checked–there are 5.

    So what’s the point of getting to know who all the fastest growing companies are in your area?

    There is so much to learn from each of these startup companies. The founders’ stories are probably remarkable and inspiring. Most startup companies almost hit the wall before turning the corner and finding success. Most founders are also pretty open about what it took, and what the keys to success were.

    You’ll find people from these companies speaking at business schools or at other local forums. You’ll find them being interviewed by local journalists and telling their story. Or, if that isn’t happening, create a forum and invite them to speak to you and all your entrepreneurial friends. Create an opportunity to learn from them.

    Use LinkedIn.com to see how closely connected you are to people in these companies. Find a way to meet them. Don’t be shy. If you need a few new ideas about how to meet people, check out “Never Eat Alone,” a book that Tim Sanders recommended and I liked.

    After Josh Coates (Mozy.com founder) moved from Silicon Valley to Utah, he used his networking skills, and within a few months had met just about everyone he needed to know to get his company funded, staffed, and off and running. It can be done. (If you aren’t using the free Mozy.com service to back up all your most important files already, then go sign up today. It is a no-brainer. Their beta version won the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for this service.)

    Phil Burn’s Dev Utah Geek Dinners and Phil Windley’s CTO Breakfasts are excellent examples of creating networking opportunities that will help you meet great people. Invite the people that you are dying to meet.

    With the lists that are published and the social networking tools and networking opportunities that are available today, you could know someone from each of the fastest growing companies in your area within a few months. And knowing these people will change your business life forever.

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    3 Comments

    1. interesting post Paul. Great info here, I particularly loved seeing the revenues of these companies.

      One thing that this post doesn’t address is the difference between “having a “contact” and “building a relationship.” I use LinkedIn, and have lots of contacts, but it doesn’t mean I have relationships, or ongoing relationships. I think too many people get hung up in their dozens or hundreds of connections and think they have a great network. LinkedIn is not necessarily building relationships.

      I know, I know, you can find people, start relationships, and all kinds of great stuff. But my point is, don’t go down the social networking path thinking that you have an incredible network when most people don’t even know your name. Networking (aka, building “intimate relationships” as Ferrazzi (author of Never Eat Alone) would say) is about a lot more than just what social networking sites provide.

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