The Best of Inc. 2010
Here's a look at the year's greatest hits from Inc. magazine and Inc.com. Rankings are based on Inc.com and social media traffic, as well as from reader feedback. It's some of our finest work, as judged by you, our readers.
Along with his sons, Jerry Murrell of Five Guys Burgers and Fries built a 570-store chain that enjoys a cult following. This classic How I Did It was a hit with fans of the burger chain, which was also one of our Breakout Companies of 2010. Read more.
An account by Tony Hsieh, who built his online shoe retailer into an e-commerce powerhouse. But with credit tightening and investors eyeing the exits, Hsieh was forced to ask: Was selling Zappos really the only way to save it? Read more.
This feature was the culmination of a month-long experiment in which Inc. editors temporarily ditched the office. Senior writer Max Chafkin writes: "It is a little bit crazy, but it also just might be the future of work. So we tried it. What follows is what we learned—the why, the how, and the why not of going virtual." Read more.
As part of our Inc. 500 | 5000 issue, Ryan Abood told Nitasha Tiku how he woke up one day to find his New Hampshire company, GourmetGiftBaskets.com, banished from Google search results. Here's how it made his company stronger. Read more.
Michael Arrington loves breaking tech stories, but he's not big on PR people, conversational niceties, or sunlight. He told Liz Welch about style of building his company, which boasts annual revenue of about $10 million. Read more.
Imagine trying to live up to the legacy Jere Thompson Jr.—whose grandfather Joe Thompson started the iconic 7-Eleven chain in 1927—faces every day. But the younger Thompson has been establishing an impressive track record of his own by building a company that sells electricity and natural gas in deregulated energy markets. It's No. 1 on the 2010 Inc. 500 list. Read more.
Lani Hay's life sound as if it were straight out of an action movie. She has served as an intelligence officer and aviator in the Navy; she has worked at the Pentagon; and she hosts dinner parties attended by senators and movie stars. She's 35. She told her story to Liz Welch. Read more.
When Nick Sarillo launched his pizza business, he had one goal in mind: to create a corporate culture unlike any he had seen. It involves educating employees about what it takes for the company to be successful, then trusting them to act accordingly. Bo Burlingham tells his story. Read more.
Yelp, the rambunctious customer-review site, can make or break a small business. It can also drive a business owner slightly insane. We dove in. Read more.
Bring on the Entrepreneurs! This series of articles by Adam Bluestein and Amy Barrett proposes a blueprint for a more dynamic economy based on increased entrepreneurship. Ideas on rethinking business school, taxes for investors, and incentives for start-ups. Read more.
Norm Brodsky | Street Smarts
Keeping Your Business Concept Simple
When you offer a number of different services, building an easy-to-understand brand can be tricky.
A Little Self-Promotion Never Hurts
How to get the word out about your new business.
Jason Fried | Get Real
Why Business Writing is So Awful
Nearly every company relies on the written word to woo customers. So why is most business writing so numbingly banal?
How to Kill a Bad Idea
Why "no" is the most important word an entrepreneur can learn.
Meg Cadoux Hirshberg | Balancing Acts
Minding the Kids
For better or worse, your children are deeply involved in your business. Stop feeling guilty about it, and start inviting your kids into your work life.
My Husband's Next Business
The four words an entrepreneur's spouse dreads hearing: "I have an idea."
Joel Spolsky | How Hard Could It Be?
Let's Take This Offline
A decade ago, I started Joel on Software, a blog that put my company on the map. But as the business matures, I've come to realize that blogging is holding me back.
A Little Less Conversation
Have you ever invited employees to a meeting just so they wouldn't feel left out? If so, you may be an overcommunicator.
Leigh Buchanan | The Office
8 Work-From-Home Rules
After working from home for the past four years, Buchanan shares her advice with entrepreneurs (as well as her newly-virtual colleagues) on how to do it right.
Org Chart Innovation
Is your company looking to add a few fun titles to the org chart? Here are some that you should consider adopting.
1. Shaking America By Storm
Interview with Johann Verheem, the man who invented the Shake Weight.
2. The Best and Worst Industries to Start a Business This Decade
What are the most promising industries for starting-up over the next 10 years?
3. Chronicles of a Young Serial Entrepreneur
As Matt Mickiewicz prepares to launch his fifth company, the 27-year-old Vancouver native talks about being a young entrepreneur and the importance of being the first to market.
4. Tim Ferriss on the Pitfalls of Personal Branding
The bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek talks about why he rarely uses his personal brand to promote his business.
5. Inside America's Coolest Workplace
Pro skateborder Rob Dyrdek has built a business empire out of more than a dozen ventures. They are all run out of the Fantasy Factory, his office near Los Angeles, which features an indoor skate plaza. Take a look inside America's coolest workplace.
6. Why Tim Ferriss Sold His Muse
The author of The 4-Hour Workweek talks about selling his business, BrainQUICKEN, despite it taking up little of his time and paying for his lifestyle.
7. Finding Love for Millionaires
Ten years ago, Patti Stanger started Millionaire's Club, a matchmaking service for millionaires. Today her business idea is a reality television hit series called Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo.
8. For Tech Entrepreneurs Looking Beyond Silicon Valley, Chile is Ready and Waiting
Despite a recent earthquake, Chile is positioning itself for future technology investments and innovation.
9. Kelly Cutrone's Advice for PR Success
The star of Bravo's Kell on Earth and founder of People's Revolution, talked to Inc.com about training the Gen Y workforce, learning the power of "no", and dealing with coddled clients.
10. 30 Under 30 Profile: Lauren Bush and Ellen Gustafson, Founders of FEED Projects
The former-president's niece embraces social entrepreneurship with a growing line of bags sold online and at Whole Foods.
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