Should you have a marketing plan? How long does it take you to close a sale? Compare your performance against benchmarks set by the Inc. 500 class of 1995. Here are the stats for those fastest-growing small companies:

Average time spent on market research before launching the company: 8.5 months

Percentage of founders who started with a marketing plan: 45%

Average time to make a sale in 1990: 3.79 months

Average time to make a sale in 1994: 3.78 months

Percentage of companies that have their own sales force: 58%

Percentage of companies that use independent reps: 8%

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