Welcome to the 222nd episode of the Inc. Uncensored podcast, hosted by Inc.'s editor in chief, James Ledbetter.

First, I break down what you need to know about the 346 companies featured on Inc.'s Best Workplaces of 2019 report. Gym memberships and catered lunches are old hat--if you want to offer benefits that employees will truly love, try unlimited books and free access to company airplanes. And if you'd prefer to develop a great workplace that doesn't rely on flashy job perks, you're in luck: We talk about how to do that without video games or ping-pong tables.

Next, staff writer Emily Canal discusses a major city that's becoming an underrated startup hot spot: Chicago. The Windy City is developing a reputation for entrepreneurship, particularly in the food industry--led by companies like Simple Mills and RxBar (which was acquired by Kellogg's for $600 million in 2017). Not incidentally, on Tuesday the city was the first stop on the Fast Growth TourInc.'s newest event series.

Finally, our host sits down with Farmgirl Flowers founder Christina Stembel, who was dedicated to bootstrapping her startup when it launched in 2010. After nearly going broke initially, by last year she had grown the company's revenue to $23 million. Ledbetter and Stembel get into the twists and turns of her company's tortuous path to success.

Check out the full episode in the player below, in iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Published on: May 24, 2019