Inc. 500 Founders Reveal How They Got Their Starts From September 2016 Inc. Magazine
The leaders of the country’s fastest-growing private companies are a battle-tested and nimble group. Many learned their entrepreneurial craft from family members, and 29 percent started their first company before they could legally drink. Success, though, often takes patience: Only one of this year’s respondents is younger than 25, and the vast majority are 35 or older. Even the most experienced, successful leaders are still sacrificing for their companies: 24 percent waited up to two years to start taking a salary, and 5 percent still don’t.
Above chart = Want to join the ranks of the Inc. 500? Solve a problem for other entrepreneurs: 51 percent of respondents named small and medium sized businesses as their primary customers, followed by big companies and then consumers. But internally, CEOs are focused on individuals; they named finding and retaining talented employees their number-one obstacle to growth, followed by worries about managing cash flow and beating back domestic competition.
Inc. 500 CEOs are thinking ever more imaginatively about how to hire and retain employees, the majority of whom are full time. (And despite the boom in drones, self-driving cars, Pokemon Go, and artificial intelligence, most CEOs don’t expect robots or related technology to replace their human workers anytime soon. Training matters -about 89 percent prefer to develop employees by giving them different jobs, and 51 percent provide outside training. However, only 28 percent have a formal leadership development program, and only 29 percent reimburse employee tuition.