The average three-year growth rate of this year's Inc. 500 companies is a whopping 2,926 percent. But, in many cases, Year One in business wasn't pretty. We asked the entrepreneurs on the list to describe the highs and lows of these early months.
We Snagged The Rights To Dr. Seuss
"A former colleague helped me land a meeting with Audrey Geisel of Doctor Seuss Enterprises. I arrived with a fully functioning mobile version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. When Geisel asked why a kid would like our app, I just slid my iPhone across the table. It was the pitch of my life."
Oceanhouse Media, No. 115
Our Persistence Finally Paid Off
"We called Dick's Sporting Goods almost every day for a year until we got a voice on the other line. They took a chance and hired us to do a $6,000 marketing campaign. It cost us $18,000 so we lost a bunch of money, but it was the start of a great relationship."
Branding Brand No. 334
We Got Creative
"We had our sights set on attending the Natural Products Expo in Boston, but we were short on cash. To save money on shipping, we drove our booth to Boston from California in a rented school bus decked out in our logo. Babies 'R' Us took notice. We set up a meeting with them and, within three months, our products were on their shelves."
Plum Organics No. 255
We Struggled To Get Employee Visas
"Because we were a new firm with a limited financial track record, we had a hard time getting H-1B visa approvals for some employees. The U.S. consulates overseas didn't think our applications were genuine! Several of our software development projects were delayed as a result."
Green Earth No. 321
We Got Sued!
"Our biggest competitor asserted that they had invented selling wine over the phone and sued our company and eight of our employees. After two years, we finally settled out of court for $115,000, which I'm still paying off two years later. I think of it as the cost of doing business."