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Speeding Bullet Inc.

growth company n (1959): a company that grows at a greater rate than the economy as a whole and that usually directs a relatively high proportion of income back into the business.

Forty years ago, Merrian Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary added this term to its American lexicon. But today, simply sprouting is no longer good enough. In the new economy, you must take notes from Jack’s beanstalk. The faster the better, and the sky’s the limit.

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Since the advent of total World Wide Web domination, the number and scope of fast growth companies has exploded. E-commerce has globalized them, venture capital has empowered them and a strong economy has rewarded them. Money and ideas are changing hands so quickly, in fact, that the definition of a fast growth company has remained relatively nebulous. According to the Fast Growth Network, the true job and revenue generators of the new economy are amassing roughly 5 to 100 million dollars in revenue a year, claiming 50 to 1,000 employees and growing at least 20 percent a year.

On June 22, the Washington, DC, chapter of Fast Company’s readers’ network is teaming up with TV on the Web’s Fast Growth Network to provide useful guidance and advice by presenting a roundtable discussion regarding fast growth. The webcasted event, moderated by FGN Founder Verne Harnish, will feature Molly Matthews, president and founder of the healthcare communications company Matthews Media Group, and Matthew Pittinsky, chairman and co-Founder of online education company Blackboard Inc.

Fast Company has spoken with Harnish, Matthews and Pittinsky in order to understand their time-tested techniques and principles for success. In addition, Fast Company has collected tales from the trenches — stories of accomplishment and failure from the leaders of various fast growth companies at the forefront of the new economy.

Roundtable Contributors
Verne Harnish
Founder of the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, the Birthing of Giants, and the Master of Business Dynamics. Moderator for the Fast Growth Network.
Washington, DC
“Your biggest challenge is being willing to live within a narrowly defined sandbox so that you can both dominate it and not stray.”

Matthew Pittinsky
Co-founder, chairman and senior vice president of Blackboard Inc.
Washington, DC
“The cheapest way to become a really big company is not to hire a lot of people to be a big company, the quickest way is to build brand, to build a perception in the marketplace that you are huge.”

Molly Matthews
President of the Matthews Media Group Inc.
Rockville, Maryland
“Believe that you can do it. Start.”

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Tales From the Trenches
Ken Hawk
Chief Energizing Officer of iGo (Formerly 1-800-Batteries)
Reno, Nevada
“The stumbling block we have run into most often is outgrowing our people.”

Joe McKinney
McKinney Lumber Inc.
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
“Right now, predicting profitability and managing overhead costs are the real issues inside our company. We believe in designing measurements for everything we want to improve.”

Kevin Daum
CEO of Stratford Financial Services Inc.
Alameda, California
“Our leadership has been growing in leaps and bounds, however there are not a lot of resources with comprehensive plans on how to make the quantum leap to a systemized business.”

Doug Harrison
The Scooter Store
New Braunfels, Texas
“I want, need, and expect our managers to be able to grow as fast as the company.”

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