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When Tough Times Hit US Businesses, the Tougher Ones Reinvent Themselves!

The vision that led top corporate founders to rapid growth helps them thrive during this Covid pandemic crisis. Building a fast-growth business is fighting against all odds and some founders make the Inc. 5000, the annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in USA, pause before they’re off and running again.

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In 2020, the road in front of them looks very difficult and different. Between 2016 and 2019, the Inc. 5000 achieved a median output of $10.2 million and compound growth rate of 165.3%. These founders were smart and tough to survive the economic decline that devastated the American economy after the March pandemic. The job creators keep going as only 11 % cut staff since March, while 47% acquired more talent. Every CEO reporting a sales decline, has others enhancing volumes. In July, 80% expect profits for 2020. But what’s striking is the number of companies, reinventing themselves.

More Efficiency!

Pro-Cal Lighting, a $19.8 million business based in California, designs and provides energy-efficient lighting solutions for commercial and federal buildings. Sales are 10% lower, with a bigger falloff the following year, as customers like municipalities and school districts would eventually reduce spending. Pro-Cal is re-casting as an infrastructure provider to smart cities as it’s not about more efficiency, but also providing broadband to disadvantaged areas, ensuring safety, and attract entrepreneurs with new technology. Our Man in Havana is a NYC-based design and advertising agency whose largest client are the Hyatt Group of Hotels, including their 19 sub-brands. Hyatt has been hard-hit like the entire hospitality industry, slashing Our Man’s revenue by 80%. Now the company contacts individual hotels and offer their services via a sliding scale. It is expected that even after Hyatt’s business rebounds, the company would service individual properties, to add 30 to 50% to revenue.

Post-Covid Switch

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ASRV Sportswear hoped to extend the $10 million active-wear brand with a chain of indoor gyms. When the pandemic hit, sale of their outdoor training clothes rose up as many people won’t enter crowded gyms. Their solution: ASRV-branded training courts at urban parks, with people working out with squat racks, cardio equipment, and free battle ropes, like city basketball courts. This ensures an easier transition for people getting some fresh air when this is over. In the huge world of small and medium-size businesses, most have focused on survival strategies such as switching from T-shirts and whiskey to masks and sanitizers. Roughly half of Inc. 5000 companies will emerge from the pandemic, with innovative products, services, and markets. Other Inc. 5000 honorees developed new products and services for existing customers. FarmLogix, a company based in Chicago, helps large entities such as universities, hospitals, and corporates source locally grown produce.  As customers closed their offices, their app helped to distribute meals in convenient spots like local restaurants or parking lots.

The Learning Curve

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As companies learn newly from this pandemic, so will their leaders. Almost 75% are addressing observed weaknesses in leadership approaches, recognized after dispersing to work from home. The pandemic forced a review of deficiencies and tackle them, faced with an uncertain future, 40% of Inc. 5000 founders are now working towards becoming more visible and better communicators with their staffs. There is much to learn and this pandemic has certainly shifted priorities and instilled sense of purpose.

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