CEO Message: The Hidden Meaning of Winning
Not long ago, we learned that ProEst had been named to Inc. magazine’s INC 5000 list for 2020, a compilation of America’s fastest-growing privately-held companies. It’s an honor that’s been bestowed on Microsoft, Yelp, Intuit, Zillow, LinkedIn, GoPro and other organizations that have become household names.
In a year that has offered more than its share of bleak headlines and business challenges, our INC 5000 recognition was a piece of good news that everyone at ProEst continues to take pride in. After all, the companies that qualified for this year’s list are an impressive group. According to Inc. magazine, the 2020 Inc. 5000 list as a whole posted a three-year average growth of more than 500% and a median rate of 165%. Aggregate revenue was $209 billion in 2019, accounting for 1,000,000 jobs over the past three years. Those are big numbers, and congratulations are in order. But it’s not the whole story.
Tenacity is fundamental.
What the numbers don’t explain is how 2020’s INC 5000 companies got to where they are. Inc. Editor-in-Chief Scott Omelianuk put it this way: "From health and software to media and hospitality, the 2020 list proves that no matter the sector, incredible growth is based on the foundations of tenacity and opportunism.” In other words, keep on plugging, even when things may not look promising, and always look for a new way of doing things and a need that is not being met. That’s a foundation that any business can build on.
Let’s talk about tenacity. It’s important to note that many INC 5000 organizations who are named to the list take years to qualify. One recent analysis found that most companies on the Inc. 5000 are not startups. In fact, 80 percent of companies were at least seven years old when they first made the list—and the median revenue of companies when the first appeared was less than $6.9 million. By any standard, that can hardly be called "overnight success." While start-ups often grab the headlines with explosive growth, the real story is the entrepreneurial companies that stick it out long enough to see their big ideas take hold and flourish.
Opportunism isn’t luck.
And then there’s opportunism. When we founded ProEst in 1992, we identified a need for a faster, more accurate construction estimating process, and introduced pioneering software that would make it happen. Then, in 2015, ProEst moved to the Cloud, offering unprecedented scope, connectivity and access. When we identified a potential benefit in doing things differently, we acted on it. And as more and more contractors saw the advantages of the ProEst platform, our company grew along with the number of clients –8,000 and counting-- we serve. With innovation comes growth. And opportunism isn’t luck; it’s paying attention to the things that matter—and taking action when it counts.
The DNA of innovation.
While the construction industry has never been famous for its speedy adoption of the “latest and greatest,” technology companies like ProEst (and others on the INC 5000 list) are known for their instinct to push boundaries and rethink what’s possible. For us, innovation is second nature, and with the construction industry as our focus, the opportunity to make a difference continues to present itself every day. It may come as no surprise that of the 33 industries categorized by the Inc. 5000, IT Services is the largest industry on the list, with 11 percent of total companies. Those high-growth numbers make sense, too, given that yearly global IT spending now exceeds $3.5 trillion.
I have often said that as the CEO of a technology company, I am passionate about giving the industry the most advanced tools available—and that ProEst will never be satisfied with the status quo. Our inclusion in the INC 5000 list this year is an important reminder that we can and do have a positive impact on a community we care about, and our rapid growth over the past few years reflects it. But here’s what is really striking about winning recognition as an INC 5000 company: it only adds to our motivation to be the best at what we do. Cheers to that.