There's no secret to Complete Nutrition's business plan. It's all about practicing basic business fundamentals, said Ryan Zink, president of the Omaha-based sports nutrition company that was started in 2004. That strategy appears to be paying off.
Complete Nutrition ranked No. 332 on Inc. magazine's 2012 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States, making it Nebraska's fastest-growing private company. Inc.'s rankings are based on a company's growth, revenue and jobs added over a three-year period.
Nebraska companies claimed 28 spots on Inc.'s list, while 38 Iowa companies were ranked. Florida-based Unified Payments, a credit and debit card-based payment processing provider, was named the country's fastest-growing private company. Iowa's top company was Tailgate Clothing, an apparel designer and manufacturer based in Ankeny. No southwest Iowa companies were named to the list.
Nebraska and Iowa companies ranked on Inc.'s list include new and long-established companies. Many are IT, data and technology-based companies. Others, like Complete Nutrition, sell specialty products.
In the past three years, Complete Nutrition grew 1,145 percent, adding about 75 employees. It went from $5.3 million in revenue in 2008 to $65.5 revenue in 2011.
“It's still so early in our growth cycle. We're excited to see some of this external recognition,” Zink said. The company first made Inc.'s list in 2010.
Part of Complete Nutrition's success stems from its wide range of customers, from weightlifters wanting health products that help with muscle recovery, to non-athletes looking for weight-loss solutions, Zink said. Today, the company has 160 stores and about 600 employees.
The company's long-term goals include expanding to 300 stores.
Wayne, Neb.-based Sand Creek Post & Beam, a manufacturer of post-and-beam kits for barns and outbuildings, ranked No. 910 on the list, the third-highest ranked Nebraska company. The company grew 365 percent in three years. The company, which has been ranked every year since its eligibility in 2009, employs about 40 people in Wayne, and about 60 people in various locations around the country, including Texas and Georgia.
In 2010, Sand Creek Post & Beam earned about $15.5 million in revenue. While in-state business is growing, most of its customers come from Texas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Georgia and North Carolina, said Jule Goeller, who owns the company with her husband, Len Dickinson. “People really, really like barns,” she said. “It's an iconic thing. It's just a pleasure to be able to offer that piece of Americana.”
A company making its first appearance on Inc.'s list and one that's made the list five years in a row have a similar strategy for growth: focus on employees.
Concentrating on the company's internal workings — particularly the hiring process — is what has helped Omaha-based Ervin & Smith Advertising and Public Relations grow 54 percent and add 15 jobs in the past three years, said CEO Sharon Carleton. Ervin & Smith ranked No. 3,471, making its first appearance on Inc.'s list in the 30-year-old company's history.
In the past five to 10 years, the company has shifted its hiring focus from experience to whether an applicant fits in with the company's core values, such as creativity, resourcefulness, accountability, passion, loyalty and collaboration.
Carleton recommends businesses pay as much attention internally as they do externally. “If you're persistent, you really start to build momentum,” she said.
Scott Anderson, CEO of Medical Solutions, agreed. The Omaha-based health care staffing company has made five appearances on Inc.'s list and is ranked No. 4,918 this year. The company added 23 jobs and grew 8 percent in the past three years.
Anderson attributes his company's growth to its top priority of ensuring employees have the most comfortable working environment possible. “That translates into the best possible working staff serving our clients and our travelers.”
Contact the writer: