Founded in 1979, Inc. magazine has been publishing a veritable “Who’s Who” of businesses, starting with the publication of “The Inc. 100 ” (a catalog of the 100 fastest-growing publicly held small companies) in its first edition. Since that issue, it has expanded the list to the Inc. 500 (1982) and the Inc. 5000 (in 2007), which showcase the top 500 and 5000 fastest-growing, privately-held companies. Companies are ranked according to their revenue growth (percentage) over the course of four years. In addition to the financial characteristics of each inductee (revenue of $200K or > the first year and $2 million in the most recent), there are certain character traits Inc. 5000 companies share.
In the same way that being in the top 5% percent of a class signifies a substantial academic achievement, the Inc. 5000 represents a combination of rare traits. Whereas the Fortune 500 tends to deal in oil, cars, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, telecom and retail, the Inc. 5000 is a horse of a different color. These are the industries that support the industries that consumers are more familiar with. Rather than building brands, they build their reputations by how well they do what they do.
For example, with the advent of the cloud, virtually everyone who is computer literate understands the critical nature of protecting data centers. If given a hypothetical scenario, many could extend that awareness to include the companies that keep data centers working properly (air condition, etc.). But what about the companies that service or maintain the air-conditioners of data centers? How many of us would consider those companies critical to our economy?
Cloud-services broker Cloud Sherpas, network-on-chip designer Arteris, and other equally niched companies like these, may not leap to mind when you think of mission critical companies. But consider the data center air-conditioner maintenance company again. According to an insider at one such firm, "Data centers are more tied to our economy than oil is.” And the organizations that support them are just as crucial to our economy as they are. These “covert ops”, are likened to hidden champions, providing the services that keep the infrastructure of the value chain running smoothly, by supplying machinery and components, and supporting processes invisible in the final product or service.
Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) provider eMaint, which recently made the Inc. 5000, is a prime example of the value of these behind-the-scenes machines. When Hurricane Sandy struck, while other companies were scrambling to try to protect their data, eMaint’s New York clients were able to access theirs because the company had preemptively set up servers at locations in another state, just in case. These hidden links in the supply chain enable corporate customers to ride the tides – and tidal waves – of industry, and continue to make good on their promises to shareholders and consumers, even if you’ve never heard of them.
Dana Madama is the Online Marketing Manager at eMaint Enterprises, located in Marlton, NJ, which provides CMMS and EAM solutions for all of your maintenance and asset management needs.