Celebrating Long Time Ben Craig Center Tenant, C5 Insight: Inc 5000 Award Winner!

September 17, 2013 at 8:01 AM

C5 Insight is a Charlotte-based company on the move.  If you don’t know about this global business consulting company that specializes in Microsoft SharePoint, Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com solutions, you probably aren’t keeping up with our region’s fastest growing companies list or Charlotte Business Journal award winners.   

While we celebrate C5 Insight for winning the Inc. 5000 award for 239% growth rate from 2009 to 2012, additional awards tell a deep story about this values-driven management team and company.  Led by Managing Partners Geoff Ables and Curtis Hughes, C5 is stacking up an expansive display of deep and wide commitments to excellence with their employees and the companies they serve. 

A few of C5 Insight’s additional distinctions and awards include:

  • Ranked as the No. 47 fastest-growing company in North Carolina
  • Charlotte Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, 2011 & 2012
  • Charlotte Business Journal’s Fast 50, 2012
  • CRN Next-Gen 250 List, 2012 & 2013

When I sat down with Curtis Hughes to learn more about C5’s phenomenal success, it occurred to me that they have been successful by avoiding what George McKeown, author of The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, calls the clarity paradox. McKeown sums it up in four predictable phases:

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success. 
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities. 
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts. 
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

These guys at C5 Insight have sustained clarity of purpose, with a knack to choose among the new options and opportunities that success brings to act as a multiplier effect on growth. 

When answering the question, “What are the few things you did really well that made an impact?” Curtis quickly responded; “ First, we are diligent to hire the right people, to only hire top talent who contribute big value to our company and most of all our clients.  Second, we maintain a focus that is unparalleled in our business.  We don’t chase the hottest technology or follow trends, we stick to what we are best at - we don’t want to be everything to everybody.”

Q: What might have slowed you down or not gone so well?  Any major pivots?

Not long ago, we realized that one client and one project accounted for 80% of our revenue.  So we set out to change this and manage the business going forward so that no single client or no single project had more than 20% of our revenue stake.  We achieved this and will continue to manage the business with this stewardship. 

Q:  Where are C5 Insight’s future growth opportunities?  Client growth? Business Model Innovation?  Hire more talent? 

All of the above. 

We are pleased to have reached the stage where much of our new client acquisition is through referrals and word of mouth from existing clients.  It’s also the best indicator of the work our folks are doing for our clients.  

We have started to package our own IP and sell this to industry verticals where it makes sense. For example, we have created a solution for the education industry that is innovative and delivering big value.  We are able to present this to other education clients as a proven solution. 

As for hiring, we run lean.  Our consultants are driven to succeed – it’s one of our key hiring criteria.  So we push them until we get to a point where we have to add resources.  We also began hiring contractors v. FTE consultants.  This provides great flexibility to scale up when we need to and avoid adding head count when it doesn’t make the best sense.  For us, this is all smart hiring. 

Q:  What do you want everyone to know about C5 Insight that they don’t already? 

We are experiencing fast growth. We all work extremely hard, but always strive to find balance between personal and professional.  That we won the Charlotte Business Journal Best Places to Work award for the last two years reflects really well on the culture that we are intentionally building for our company and employees.  We know it’s rare to have accomplished all that we have and to know that our employees enjoy the work and like being part of our team.

-  Marilyn, Director Venture Development

About Marilyn: With over twenty years of working with and for entrepreneurs in pivotal sales, marketing and business development roles, Marilyn assists clients to accelerate their growth through coaching effective go-to-market and customer acquisition strategies. 

Marilyn is also a published author, blogger and a speaker.  Her topics on Ventureprise Vibe are focused on provocative innovation-driven entrepreneurs and enterprises, Lean Startup methods, and story telling about clients and people up to big things in the entrepreneurial space.


Tags: Inc 5000 Ventureprise Tenant fast growing companies
Category: Live Blog

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