The fifth in a series of posts based on the National Center for the Middle Market’s in-depth research report, The DNA of Middle Market Growth: The Three Types of Growth Champions and the Factors that Drive Their Success, this article identifies key capabilities that the fastest-growing companies have mastered and where they significantly outperform their peers.

There’s fast growth. And then there’s really fast growth. In our recent analysis of company performance data from 20,000 middle market businesses, we found a subset of organizations that experience year-over-year revenue growth at a stunning rate of 30% or more.

Not surprisingly, to achieve such remarkable business growth, these companies fire on all cylinders and are masters of virtually every factor that our research revealed as a critical driver of growth. However, in several areas, they outperformed their peers to a significant degree.

Here are seven areas where elite Growth Champions distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack:

  1. They go anywhere and everywhere.

    Among companies growing at a rate of 30% or more per year, 73% self-report being very adept at entering new geographies, compared to 55% in the next closest tier of growth (20-29% year-over-year annual revenue growth). The fastest-growing businesses are more global, too: 65% say they excel at exploiting opportunities in lucrative foreign markets compared to 41% of companies in the next growth tier.

  2. They know how to share their story.

    Two-third of the 30%+ growers say they have exceptional marketing and communications skills; just 50% of other growing middle market businesses say the same. Clearly, they’re better at connecting with the customers and prospects they want to reach.

  3. Investment and innovation are long-term mid-market growth strategies

    The top growers are much more likely to be good at innovating new products and services. And all their investments are forward-focused. They are much more likely than slower-growing organizations to say they’ve invested sufficiently for the future and that they are prepared to handle a downturn in their industries.

  4. They work on the business as well as in the business.

    By a substantial margin, top-tier growers are most likely to have a long-term growth strategy in place covering the next three to five years. They are also the most likely to keep up with the latest management techniques. In other words, they are always searching for best practices to help sustain their impressive growth.

  5. They seek out the best of the best to run their businesses.

    Seven out of 10 of the 30%+ growers say they are adept at attracting top managerial talent. It likely doesn’t hurt that their strong growth is a beacon to these top performers. Just 51% of companies in the next growth tier consider themselves very capable in this area.

  6. They maintain efficient policies and procedures.

    Even at stunning 30%+ growth rates, elite Growth Champions manage to maintain efficient and effective internal controls. More than two-thirds of top growers are experts in this area compared to about 50% of other growing middle market firms.

  7. They develop people in-house

    The fastest-growing middle market businesses are streets ahead of their peers when it comes to career pathing, training, and developing their people. They’ve found ways to rise above the talent challenges that most middle market companies face by building what they need internally and by actively providing opportunities for their employees’ growth.

Learn more about the model for growth in the middle market.

Whether your growth goals are as aggressive as those in the top tier, or you have more modest targets in mind, achieving your objectives requires astuteness in a variety of areas. To see the full results of the Center’s analysis, our research-driven growth model, and the various types of middle market growth DNA we uncovered, download our full research report, The DNA of Middle Market Growth: The Three Types of Growth Champions and the Factors that Drive Their Success

Next in this series
Post 6: Efficiency Experts: Formalizing Their Pathway to Growth