Every business strives to accomplish strategic growth, and when all the dynamics are right, some may even experience periods of rapid growth. More often than not, spurts of rapid growth will occur organically. This is generally when a ground-breaking product or service is introduced that addresses a common problem or sparks a viral curiosity. Many executives attribute periods of high-yield growth to savvy strategic business planning; others point to less tangible factors.
The payments vertical has seen its share of ventures enjoying explosive-growth over the past decade. With today's tech-centric culture barreling forward full-steam, a few of these high-profile companies have held top-rankings for several years running. Still, others have plotted their way up the food chain at a less obvious pace using more methodical tactics to consistently earn a position in the highest rankings.
Interested in what makes these super-powered companies tick, The Green Sheet recently did a little sleuthing. We looked into several payment companies that are making fast-track headlines. We sought to link them with a common thread or uncover practices these star enterprises use to outshine the competition. We also spoke to several up-and-comers to learn more about the ingredients they feel are most important to the secret sauce.
In studying the notable success of firms such as BlueSquare Resolutions LLC, which debuted on the Inc. 500/5000 list in 2013 at position No. 101 and jumped to the No. 19 slot in 2014, we found the now age-old tactic of using acquisitions to achieve rapid growth is still alive and well. However, BlueSquare President, Nick Glincher, added one key note to the equation during his interview with The Green Sheet. He said, "People in the space trust us enough to refer business to us," aptly crediting his company's success to the power of good relationships.
Swipely Inc., a watch-list payment technology company that sells products to streamline, enrich and simplify data collection for retail merchants and restaurants, recently reported a 100 percent bump in annual sales over six months. The company's founder and Chief Executive Officer, Angus Davis, also acknowledged the importance of fostering positive relationships, confirming this practice has been critical to his company's success.
Davis advised companies to invest heavily in developing products that will add increased value to the customer. "Our growth wouldn't be possible if the customers didn't love our product," Davis stated. "Merchants are busy, and they want a single source of information, so what we offer resonates with them, and they send us referrals."
Davis pointed next to Swipely's relationship-centered partner program as the cause of the company's most recent growth spike. "We've started to work with a broader range of partners, and they are excited for the relationship and the opportunity to work with a technology company that is doing payments versus a payments company that may or may not be a technology company," he said.
Meanwhile, other payment companies have held an impressive year-after-year place on the Inc. 500/5000 fast-growth list. USA ePay was just awarded its fourth consecutive placing on the list, and TouchSuite has been similarly honored for six.
When asked what contributed to this long-standing run, TouchSuite CEO Sam Zietz mentioned urgency and focus. He also discussed the importance of disruptive technology and strategic planning, but remarkably, his every line seemed to begin or end with the word "people." For example, he said, "You have to have a strong foundation of people. Until you have the first foundation, you can't go on to the next level."
According to Zietz, people are the element required for a company to embody a sense of urgency, find focus and cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that will manifest into a culture. "We target 100 percent annualized growth, and we need everybody doing it," Zietz said. "It's not that difficult if you have the right people in the right positions and you have the right culture for them to invest in."
Can rapid growth be as simple as having great relationships? We'll let you decide.
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