Companies must have been independent and privately held through 1995, must have had at least $200,000 in base-year sales, and must have shown a sales increase from 1994 to 1995. Sales figures for agencies (such as advertising agencies) are net sales to the company. Holding companies and regulated banks and utilities were not eligible. We verified information using tax forms and financial statements from certified public accountants, and through telephone interviews with company officials. The base-year- sales requirement of $200,000 is adjusted periodically for inflation. The 1996 Inc. 500 list was prepared under the direction of editorial information manager Beth Gunn.
The Inc. 500 team members who compiled this year's ranking are Brad Conlin, Katie Connor, George Davilas, Samantha Cheng, Henry Jackubiak, and Rachel Murphy.