The 2011 Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2007 through 2010. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2007. Additionally, they had to be based in the United States, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2010. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.)
The minimum revenue required for 2007 is $100,000; the minimum for 2010 is $2 million. Revenue figures given in the company profiles are for calendar years, as are employee counts. Full-time and part-time employees are included in the employee counts; independent contractors are not.
As always, Inc. reserves the right to reject applicants for subjective reasons.