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Inc. 500 I 5000 Honorees Reception – What We Learned

On Tuesday, September 23rd,┬áthe Inc. West Michigan Business Owners Council held its honorees reception at Vintage, located within Watermark Country Club in Grand Rapids. Council members and Inc. 5000 members alike were in attendance. Four of the event’s honorees also took the time to speak to attendees regarding their unique philosophies for achieving entrepreneurial success.

Mike Otis of Double O Supply
-INC. 5000 2014 Ranking: 2391
-Verified Revenue For 2013: $5.1 million
-Number of Employees in 2013: 85
-Verified 2014 Growth Rate: 161.07
Mike emphasized how important it is for entrepreneurs to understand relationships, operations and sales. Starting off as a one-man company, Mike had to have a grasp on it all. Even though his company Double O Supply now has 85 employees, this principle remains true. Mike credited a large amount of his success to his wife, who he calls the “company mom.” Mike advised that the best course for growing your business is by creating a company that cares about more than the bottom line. “He who wants silver will not be satisfied by silver,” he said, quoting Proverbs. He stated that thinking of employees first, and making a quality place for them to work, is more important than satisfying customers.

Mike Harris & Mat Nguyen of Worksighted
-INC. 5000 2014 Ranking: 3252
-Verified Revenue For 2013: $4.9 million
-Number of Employees in 2013: 27
-Verified 2014 Growth Rate: 106.2
Mike and Mat started Worksighted in 2000, right after graduating college. Their experiences working together in IT at Johnson Controls inspired them to start a company where they could utilize the expertise acquired there. Worksighted began in the basement of Mat’s parents’ house; three years later, the pair was able to move into an office, and the company hasn’t stopped growing since. Mike and Mat stressed that their excellent staff deserves the credit for helping Worksighted rank on the Inc. 5000 three years in a row. The two value their people, and have only had 1 engineer leave them in 14 years. They understand that working with those who specialize in certain areas will only help them continue their forward momentum. As for ranking on the Inc. 5000 next year, Mike and Mat said the key isn’t to make it every year, but rather to continue growing their business. They love the game and the business, a perspective that hasn’t faltered since their beginnings in the basement.

Wade Wyant of ITS Partners
-INC. 5000 2014 Ranking: 3476
-Verified Revenue For 2013: $26.1 million
-Number of Employees in 2013: 75
-Verified 2014 Growth Rate: 95.09
Wade began his talk by emphasizing the importance of teamwork. For example, he attributes ITS Partners‘ placement on the Inc. 5000 4 years straight to his marketing guy. Wade also talked about how vital it is to have a single main goal for your business: his was to be the best in the nation with a kind of certain software. He also told the audience about the necessity of having an effective system for your business (he recommended The Rockefeller Habits as a source), and talked about how having a repeatable system or process for your business should be mandatory. Wade closed his talk by comparing working hard in sales and strategy to sprinting back and forth in track…just put your head down and run.