Suzanne Evans must have taken her own advice.
The owner of a Murrells Inlet firm that coaches small businesses on how to grow and make more money has leapt onto Inc. magazine’s coveted 500 list of fastest-growing privately held companies for the first time this year, debuting in the No. 225 spot overall and the fifth highest-ranking S.C. company.
The company, founded in 2007, had a three-year growth rate of 1,615 percent with revenue of $2.4 million last year, according to Inc.’s rankings.
Evans will travel to Phoenix next week for the three-day Inc. 500 | 5000 conference where she and other current winners will pick up their awards during a black-tie gala and hear talks from successful entrepreneurs such as Bert Jacobs, co-founder and chief executive optimist of the popular “Life is Good” apparel company.
“It’s an honor but just a byproduct of what I do everyday,” Evans said. “The business is expanding very quickly.”
Two other Grand Strand companies also made the Inc. 5000 list, but have been there in previous years. Mercom Corp. of Pawleys Island, which provides network technology services, slide into the No. 2,845 spot, while Crescent Moon Holdings, which is known as Wild Creations in Myrtle Beach, was ranked No. 1,170 with three-year growth of 270 percent and 2011 revenues of $2.2 million. The company was ranked No. 259 last year.
Mercom Corp., which this year invested about $1 million into its local operation by moving into a larger building on Commerce Drive in Pawleys Island, made its sixth consecutive appearance with three-year growth of 80 percent and revenue of $36.6 million last year. It debuted on the list in 2007 in the No. 100 spot and has ranked every year since then.
“Watching a company grow like this is really exciting,” said Debbie Sjodahl, the company’s human resource manager who said the company has grown from 12 employees when she was hired six years ago to about 80 employees today. “It’s the people who work here that make this company succeed and be able to grow.”
South Carolina has about 41companies in the 5000 rankings, but most are in larger cities including Greenville, Charleston and Columbia. Companies submit their certified accounting statements to the magazine for consideration.
The quality of life along the Grand Strand is what led Evans and Mercom’s brother-and-sister owners to locate their businesses here, they have said. Technology has allowed some types of companies, including these two, to operate anywhere.
“It used to be if you did the business we do you had to be in [Washington] D.C.,” Larry Mercado, Mercom’s vice president and chief operating officer, told The Sun News last month. “If you are able to do it and stay in an area you love, why wouldn’t you do it?”
Evans, who worked in New York’s Broadway theater business for a decade, shifted her focus about five years ago to business coaching and ended up in Murrells Inlet, where she could live her desired coastal lifestyle on the water.
“I chose to put my business here...knowing that Murrells Inlet was a great home for staff and people,” she said.
The firm, which has seminars, online programs and creates personalized coaching for business owners, has about a dozen employees, Evans said. Entrepreneurs from across the country fly to the area to attend some of her seminars, she said.
“I’m happy to be in Murrells Inlet,” Evans said. “It makes me really proud that we can be No. 225 and be in Murrells Inlet. I’m really excited to continue to expand and grow here.”
Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at email@example.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.