By a wide margin, sales-force compensation ranked as the top sales and marketing expense among this year's Inc. 500 (featured last month in our special issue). There's hope, however, for entrepreneurs possessing a smart idea and savvy marketing instincts: 135 companies on the list achieved success without spending a lot on sales salaries.

Expense Percentage of companies that ranked it as the number one or number two expense
Market research 4%
Public relations 8%
Promotional material 23%
Advertising 31%
Customer service 42%
Sales-force compensation 67%
Source: Inc. survey of the 500 fastest-growing small companies, 1995. * * *