Today's Inc. 500 honoree, ath Power Consulting, gets real-time data on customers to help its clients better gauge their business performance.

Location: Andover, Mass.
Three-Year Growth: 335.9%
2004 Revenue: $2.8 million
Employees: 26
Founded: 1997
What it does: Mystery shopping and research, primarily for banks and retailers. Why it's growing: "Everybody thinks mystery shopping is this crazy thing because it has such a misleading name, but it's one of the best ways to collect real-time data with regard to how things are going in your company," says founder Frank Aloi. is counting down to the unveiling of Inc. magazine's Inc. 500 list with a profile a day of one of this year's honorees. See other honorees in the Inc. 500 Countdown archive, and discover new winners each business day until Oct. 19, when we reveal this year's number one company.