Application Guide
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Eligibility

If you're proud of your company's achievements, you owe it to yourself (and to your employees) to apply for the 5000 list.

To qualify for the 2017 Inc. 5000, your company must meet each of the following qualifications:

Be privately-owned, based in the United States, independent (not a subsidiary or division of another company)

Have started earning revenue by March 31st, 2013

Had revenue no less than $100,000 in 2013

Had revenue no less than $2,000,000 in 2016

Revenue in 2016 exceeds revenue in 2013

There are a few limited exceptions to the requirements. Please call our team with any questions about eligibility at 212-389-5505.

Why Apply?

Applying is easy, and the benefits are many:

National Recognition: Exposure in national, local and industry media. Your own profile on Inc.com.

Greater Productivity: Boost employee morale. Improve recruiting opportunities. Share ideas with fellow honorees.

Sales Advantages: Stronger sales momentum. Credibility with prospects and investors you can't buy at any price.

Important Dates
May 1, 2017
APPLICATION DEADLINE
Recognize your business’ success with Inc.
Mid-July
NOTIFICATIONS GO OUT
All applicants will be notified via email in mid-July if they have made the list or not.
Late August
THE LIST GOES LIVE ON INC.COM AND IN THE SEPTEMBER PRINT ISSUE
Honorees will receive an honoree packet in the mail shortly before the list goes live containing the company’s official rank and promotional material.
October 10-12, 2017
INC. 5000 CONFERENCE AND GALA
Celebrate your growing success at the Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala. You’ll join other entrepreneurs from America’s fastest-growing companies, hear inspirational speakers who have achieved superstar status, and enjoy lively networking events.
FAQ
General Information
What is the Inc. 5000?

In 1982, Inc. introduced the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States. Since then, this prestigious list of the nation's most successful private companies has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success and the place where future household names first make their mark. Pandora, 7 Eleven, Toys 'R' Us, Zipcar, Zappos.com and numerous other well-known brands have been honored by the Inc. 5000. In 2007, the Inc. 500 list expanded to the Inc. 5000, giving readers a deeper, richer understanding of the entrepreneurial landscape and capturing a broader spectrum of success.

Today, the list is a distinguished editorial award, a celebration of innovation, a network of entrepreneurial leaders, and an effective public relations showcase. The Inc. 5000 ranks companies by overall revenue growth over a three-year period. All 5,000 honoree companies are individually profiled on Inc.com. The top 500 are featured in the September issue of Inc. magazine, the leading entrepreneurial advocate for 33 years running. Inc. also ranks the fastest-growing companies by industry, metro area, revenue, and number of employees, and we also highlight women- and minority- run companies.

What is the difference between the Inc. 500 and the Inc. 5000?

The Inc. 5000 lists the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the nation. The Inc. 500 are the top 500 companies on that list. All 5,000 companies are profiled on Inc.com. The top 500 are highlighted in the September issue of Inc. magazine. There is a single application process for both lists.

How are companies ranked on the Inc. 5000 list?

Companies are ranked according to the percentage growth of their annual revenue over a three-year period. To assess this, we ask for your 2013 and 2016 revenues. This gives us a three-year growth period, using 2013 as a base year for growth.

How is the three-year growth rate calculated?

The equation for growth percentage is:

[(2016 revenue - 2013 revenue) / 2013 revenue] x 100 = total growth percentage

For example, if 2013 revenue was $3 million and 2016 revenue is $15 million:

$15 million - $3 million = $12 million

12,000,000 / 3,000,000 = 4

4 x 100 = 400

Growth rate is 400 percent.

Why should I apply?

Visibility:

  • National, local, and industry recognition
  • Media exposure via national, local, and industry/trade outlets -- in past years, the Inc. 5000 list has received over 35 million media impressions
  • A high-traffic company profile page on Inc.com
  • Coverage in Inc. magazine for the top Inc. 500 companies

Morale:

  • Personal validation for your employees
  • Public acknowledgment for company-wide success despite the recession

Networking:

  • An exclusive Inc. 5000 community of private companies
  • New leadership opportunities, e.g. by hosting a local Inc. event
  • Increased visibility to the Inc. editorial staff
  • Local private company Inc. event invitations
  • Celebration and learning at the Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala

Knowledge:

  • Exclusive, cutting-edge private company research on growth patterns and strategies
  • Shared business insights, resources and best practices
  • Eligibility for a complimentary analysis of your company's growth potential by our CEO Project experts

Business Opportunities:

  • Traffic to your Inc.com profile (The profile pages of 2016's Inc. 5000 honorees received over 3 million visits collectively during the months of August and September)
  • Recruiting tools
  • New sales and partnership opportunities through high-quality networking
Applying
What is the application process?

1. APPLICATION: Complete an application for the Inc. 5000 online here.

  • Confirm that your company meets the Inc. 5000 2017 eligibility requirements. (Eligibility section below)
  • Apply early in order to be eligible for the early application benefits and to ensure that you make all editorial and publication deadlines.
  • If you do not have a final figure for your 2016 revenue when you apply, you may enter an estimate and provide us with the more precise figure when you submit your verification materials.
  • Application fee is $150. Deadline for submitting applications is May 2, 2017.

2. REVENUE VERIFICATION: Once your company's 2016 revenue figure is final, submit revenue verification materials to confirm your 2013 and 2016 revenue figures.

  • Submitting your revenue verification early will ensure accurate coverage in Inc.com or Inc. magazine. If you need an extension, please call 800-248-0308, or send an email to feedback5000@inc.com.
  • After you submit verification to support your revenue numbers, you may not withdraw from consideration for the 2016 Inc. 5000.
  • If you are concerned that your final 2016 revenue figures will not be available in time, please contact us at 212-389-5505 (toll free at 800-248-0308) or email us at feedback5000@inc.com.

3. EDITORIAL: Once revenue verification materials have been submitted, our editorial team may need to contact you to ask follow-up questions, to gather additional information and to discuss your company.

4. NOTIFICATION: In the summer of 2017, companies will be notified as to whether they made the list.

  • Applicants will first be notified of their status via email
  • CEOs of 2017 honoree companies will receive packets by mail informing them of their Inc. 5000 rank

5. PUBLICATION: In August we will publish the 2017 Inc. 5000 list on Inc.com. The September issue of Inc., profiling the top 500 of the Inc. 5000, will hit newsstands the following week.

  • Inc. will publicize and distribute the list to media channels throughout the country.

6. CELEBRATION: Congratulations! Making the Inc. 5000 is a major accomplishment, and one that can be celebrated with your executives, employees, clients, and all others who helped make it possible.

  • Inc. helps you celebrate with year-round regional events led by high-profile business leaders, exclusive private company research and more.
  • Join us to accept your award in person along with other Inc. 5000 honorees, alumni, elite speakers, and other business leaders at the 2016 Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala in San Antonio.
How are companies ranked on the Inc. 5000 list?
Companies are ranked according to the percentage growth of their annual revenue over a three-year period. To assess this, we ask for your 2013 and 2016 revenues. This gives us a three-year growth period, using 2013 as a base year for growth.
Is there a fee to apply for the Inc. 5000?

Yes. There is a nonrefundable processing fee for all applicants. The application fee is $150. Identifying the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. is an enormous editorial project that, among other things, raises awareness of entrepreneurship as a valuable force in our economy. The processing fee covers only a portion of the operational costs of this undertaking.

Applications received after the May 1st deadline will incur a $100 late fee.

What if I don't have my 2016 revenue number until later in the spring? Can I still apply early?
Yes. If you do not have a final figure for your 2016 revenue at the time you apply, you may enter an estimate and give the precise figure when you supply your revenue verification materials.
Does Inc. require me to document the revenue figures I supply in my application?
Yes. To ensure the integrity and credibility of the list, we ask that all applicants submit documentation ("Revenue Verification") of their 2013 and 2016 revenue numbers. Please refer to the Revenue Verification section below for more details.
My firm represents other companies for matters like this. May I apply on their behalf?
Yes, many of our Inc. 5000 applications are submitted by representing firms (PR firms, accounting firms, etc.) on behalf of their clients.
My firm represents several clients that may be eligible. May I submit applications on behalf of more than one client?
Yes, representing firms (PR firms, accounting firms, etc.) may submit applications on behalf of one or more clients.
My company's revenue declined in 2014 or 2015. Does that disqualify my business or make it unwise to apply?
Not necessarily. We look at the overall three-year growth rate from 2013 through 2016 compared with that of the other Inc. 5000 applicants. Among last year's 2016 Inc. 5000 honorees, year-to-year declines were acceptable and common.
Will recognition on the Inc. 5000 reveal information about my company to my competitors?
As a part of the Inc. 5000 award, we will publish your company's 2013 and 2016 revenue, location, number of employees, year founded, and Web address. We will also publish a brief profile of your company. Most of this basic company information is already available publicly in one form or another. The positive attention and credibility that comes with an Inc. 5000 listing are unparalleled and usually outweigh concerns about information disclosure.
Right now, I'm not sure whether I want my company to be on the Inc. 5000. Can I apply now and withdraw my application later?
You may withdraw at any time before you submit revenue verification. After that, you may no longer withdraw from consideration. Please note that the $150 application fee is nonrefundable.
Eligibility
What are the eligibility criteria for the Inc. 5000?

All of the following must be true of your company in order to qualify for the 2017 Inc. 5000. Your company must:

  • Have generated revenue by March 31, 2013;
  • Have generated at least $100,000 in revenue in 2013;
  • Have generated at least $2 million in revenue in 2016;
  • Be privately held, for profit; based in the U.S., and independent (not a subsidiary or division of another company).
How does Inc. define revenue?
Inc. defines revenue as gross revenue, less returns and allowances, before any cost of goods sold. This is the same figure that you enter in Box 1c of your corporate income tax return. Revenue figures should be as precise as possible and rounded no more than to the nearest thousand (i.e. $234,000). If you do not have a final figure for your 2016 revenue at the time you apply, you may enter an estimate and give the precise figure when you submit your verification materials. Please refer to the Revenue Verification section below for more details.
Does my company have to be profitable to be eligible?
No. The Inc. 5000 is determined solely by revenue growth; profitability is not a consideration.
My company is majority or wholly owned by a venture capital firm, a private equity firm, or an investment bank. Is it eligible?
Yes, as long as it meets the rest of our requirements, your company is still eligible.
What if my company is public?
Public companies are not eligible for the Inc. 5000. Note that there are some exceptions to this requirement. Please call our team with any questions at 212-389-5505 (toll free at 800-248-0308).
What if my company is private and independent but is about to be acquired or go public?
Your business is eligible as long as it was privately held and independent as of December 31, 2016.
What if my company used to be a subsidiary or a division and is now independent?
Please contact our team at 212-389-5505 or toll free at 800-248-0308, or email us at feedback5000@inc.com.
What if my company was a partnership in 2013 and is now a corporation?
Company structure is not a factor. Your company may still be eligible, as long as the business is independent and meets the other criteria.
What if I still have questions regarding my company's eligibility?
We're here to help! If you have any additional questions or concerns about the Inc. 5000, please contact our team at 212-389-5505 or toll free at 800-248-0308, or email us at feedback5000@inc.com.
Revenue Verification
What is Revenue Verification?
To ensure the integrity and credibility of the list, we carefully verify the 2013 and 2016 revenue numbers for every Inc. 5000 applicant. Submitting documentation early will ensure accurate coverage. If you need an extension, please call 800-248-0308, or send an email to feedback5000@inc.com.
What are Revenue Verification materials?

You may choose one of the following three kinds of revenue verification to submit to our verification team:

Revenue Verification Form (click here to download): This is the easiest way to submit your revenue verification. Simply fill out the form and have a certified public accountant, chartered financial analyst, certified management accountant, or attorney sign the form attesting to the complete accuracy of the information. The certifier may work at the applicant firm or be independent, as long as the certifier is a licensed professional with credentials that are current and in good standing. Please make sure to print clearly!

OR

Corporate Tax Return: Include the first page and the page that indicates that accrual accounting was used to prepare the return.

OR

Audit: Include the accounting opinion letter and income statement from financial statements that have been audited, reviewed or compiled by an independent accounting firm.

For more information on revenue verification, feel free to contact our team at 212-389-5505 or toll free at 800-248-0308, or email us at feedback5000@inc.com.

How should I submit my Revenue Verification materials?
The quickest way to verify your revenue is to submit a secure electronic version of the Revenue Verification Form through DocuSign. A link to your secure form will be provided immediately after you complete the online application both on the confirmation page and in your confirmation email. If you do not choose to use DocuSign, we prefer that you save your revenue verification documents as PDFs and e-mail them to verification@inc.com. Please include the name of your company in the subject line. Alternatively, you may fax the documents to 646-365-3235.
What is Inc.'s preferred method of Revenue Verification?
We prefer the electronic Revenue Verification Form submitted via DocuSign as a simple and clear method of revenue verification. A link to the your secure form will be provided immediately after you complete the online application both on the confirmation page and in your confirmation email. If you do not choose to use DocuSign, we prefer that you save your revenue verification documents as PDFs and e-mail them to verification@inc.com. Download the form here. Please be sure that the form has valid signatures from both the CEO and a certifier.
When is the deadline for submitting Revenue Verification materials?
The deadline for submitting Revenue Verification materials is May 16, 2017. We strongly recommend that you submit your verification early to ensure that the application process is complete by the deadline and to ensure accurate coverage on Inc.com and in Inc. magazine.
What if I won't have my 2016 revenue figure finalized by the Revenue Verification deadline?
Please contact our team at 212-389-5505 or toll free at 800-248-0308, or email us at feedback5000@inc.com.
If my fiscal year doesn't end in December, what sales numbers should I fill in for each year?
We ask all applicants to submit their revenue figures for full calendar years. Companies with non-calendar fiscal years should use our Revenue Verification Form for verification, rather than tax forms or audits. Please make sure the revenue figures entered on the form are for calendar years 2013 and 2016.
May I submit revenue figures based on cash accounting?
No. Inc. requires that all revenue figures (for both 2013 and 2016) be converted using accrual accounting. To convert cash figures to accrual figures, start with cash receipts, subtract the beginning accounts receivable, and add ending accounts receivable.
What if I still have questions regarding revenue verification?
We're here to help! If you have any additional questions or concerns about the Inc. 5000, please contact our team at 212-389-5505 or toll free at 800-248-0308, or email us at feedback5000@inc.com.
My company is a franchisor. Should I submit the total sales of all of our franchisees?
No. Franchisors should only report the fees that come to the parent company, plus total sales from any stores owned by the parent company.
Conference and Gala
What, where, and when is the Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala?

The Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala will be held October 10-12 in Palm Springs.

The 2017 Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala celebrates the 35th year of Inc.'s ranking of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America. The event brings together current Inc. 5000 honorees and alumni, along with the greater business community, to recognize their remarkable achievements and their great contributions to the economy. For more information about the 2017 conference, visit Inc5000Conference.com or send an email to events@inc.com. Registration is now open for this year's Conference and Gala.

As a special benefit for applicant companies, you can elect for us to apply the application fee toward a deposit on registration for the 2017 Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala. The $150 application fee can be applied toward a $200 deposit on registration.

What if I have questions that are not listed here?
We're here to help! If you have additional questions or concerns about the Inc. 5000 gala or the upcoming conference, please contact our team at 212-389-5505 or toll free at 800-248-0308, or email us at feedback5000@inc.com.
Partners
Inc. would like to thank the following associations and organizations for their support of the 2016 Inc. 5000. The success of The List is due in part to their efforts toward helping us to identify, recognize and celebrate America's private companies.
Premier Partners
Interested in partnering with Inc.? Please contact the Inc. Outreach team by emailing us at feedback5000@inc.com.