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Coming of Age

A comparison of data from 1990 to data from 1994 in such areas as sales, technology, and employee relations.
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The 1995 Inc. 500 look pretty grown up when you see what they looked like just a few years ago

By David Whitford

Imagine it's 1990. Now pretend you're a banker, a venture capitalist, a prospective employee, or a customer. You're checking out a business, with no idea that it's destined for the Inc. 500. What do you see? A three-year operating history, 20 employees, not quite $2 million in sales, and a 38-year-old founder who started the business mostly with personal savings. Impressed? Sure. But can you predict that the start-up will make the Inc. 500 list in 1995? Don't be ridiculous.

Yet, those were the average attributes in 1990 of the companies on this year's list. My, look how they've grown!

* * *

As sales have soared...
Average sales:

1990: $1,975,000

1994: $22,906,000

* * *

payrolls have grown...,
Average number of employees:

1990: 20

1994: 118

* * *

benefits are better...,
% of companies that offer 401(k) plans:

1990: 12%

1994: 61%

% of companies that offer health insurance:

1990: 66%

1994: 94%

* * *

and more employees have a stake in the enterprise.
% of companies with employee stock option plans:

1990: 9%

1994: 25%

* * *

Businesses are more efficient...
Average sales per employee:

1990: $98,800

1994: $194,100

* * *

they're finding new ways to use technology...,
% of companies that say technology most benefits accounting:

1990: 41%

1994: 25%

most benefits sales & marketing:

1990: 31%

1994: 41%

* * *

investing in employees...,
% of companies that offer training in basic skills:

1990: 5%

1994: 11%

% of companies that offer training for middle management:

1990:21%

1994:66%

* * *

and going global.
% of companies with foreign sales:

1990: 19%

1994: 46%

* * *

Meanwhile, the founders are no longer the only top managers...,
% of companies with full-time sales & marketing director:

1990: 25%

1994: 74%

with full-time CFO:

1990: 17%

1994: 57%

* * *

but they're making more money...,
CEO's median annual salary:

1990: $45,000

1994: $150,000

* * *

working no more hours...,
CEO's median hours worked per week:

1990: 60

1994: 60

* * *

and taking longer vacations.
CEO's median weeks of vacation per year:

1990: 1

1994: 2

Last updated: Oct 15, 1995




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