Through surveys and available data, we've examined hundreds of small businesses and come away with six archetypal sets of practices and characteristics that we believe are representative of most growth companies operating today.

The qualifications were simple: Companies had to be domestically owned, privately held, for-profit and have shown net capacity growth over at least two years, with an employee size in 2015 of 10 to 1,000.

Below, we examine the traits of Data Champions, one of the six archetypes of the Entrepreneur360™ Performance Index. To see the other five archetypes, click here.

The generally conservative companies in this group focus on steadily pushing forward via careful planning and data analysis, and by working hard to empower employees. The reward is continued growth and solid cash flow that enables avoiding debt.

Modest growth targets and conservative management leave Data Champions more willing and able than other types of companies to fund themselves primarily through earnings. Their focus on data can make them more prepared to meet challenges than their peers and their emphasis on treating staff well may pair with having much higher expectations of employees.

Key characteristics

  • They often emphasize a reliance on performance data, sharing it across the company to help employees at all levels make decisions.
  • They are much more likely than their peers to offer employees higher pay and a share of profit.
  • They pay close attention to planning and managing growth, looking to build a sustainable functioning business.

Takeaway

You don’t have to shoot for the moon or embrace every touted management approach to be a leader. Well-established tactics such as self-funding expansion, being generous with employees, setting modest targets and keeping a careful eye on financials and other performance metrics can do the trick.

Assay Depot

Founded: 2007

Business Type: Pharmaceutical

Website: https://www.assaydepot.com

Birds Barbershop

Founded: 2006

Business Type: Personal services

Website: http://birdsbarbershop.com

Burns Marketing

Founded: 1972

Business Type: Marketing

Website: http://www.burnsmarketing.com

CarGurus

Founded: 2006

Business Type: Automotive

Website: http://www.cargurus.com

CircleUp

Founded: 2011

Business Type: Crowdfunding

Website: https://circleup.com

Enlisted Design

Founded: 2008

Business Type: Design

Website: http://enlisteddesign.com

Formlabs

Founded: 2011

Business Type: 3-D printing

Website: http://formlabs.com

Legion Logistics, LLC

Founded: 2009

Business Type: Transportation

Website: http://jointhelegion.com

Live Lingua

Founded: 2008

Business Type: Education

Website: https://www.livelingua.com

MedCPU

Founded: 2008

Business Type: Health care

Website: http://www.medcpu.com

O3 World

Founded: 2005

Business Type: Marketing

Website: http://o3world.com

RebelMouse

Founded: 2012

Business Type: Publishing

Website: https://www.rebelmouse.com

Ring

Founded: 2011

Business Type: Cloud security

Website: https://ring.com

UniqueHR

Founded: 1991

Business Type: Human resources

Website: http://www.uniquehr.com

WebpageFX, Inc.

Founded: 1997

Business Type: Marketing

Website: http://www.webpagefx.com

Read more about each archetype: