Inc.’s recently announced partnership with three separate companies to offer an array of consulting services to entrepreneurial firms demonstrates the magazine’s effort to separate itself from its competitors. The Growth Solutions suite of services—available either individually or as a group—is designed to help emerging growth companies navigate through the phases of their business cycles with programs tailored to the size of their companies and levels of ambition.
The magazine’s partners in the venture are Growth Strategy Partners, Hanft Unlimited and Tatum. Growth Strategy Partners will provide advice on revenue generation and growth tactics. Hanft Unlimited will focus on marketing, branding and advertising, and Tatum will supply pointers on financial planning, mergers, aligning technologies and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Inc., along with Fast Company, is published by Mansueto Ventures.
Adam Hanft, founder and CEO of Hanft Unlimited and a contributing editor at Inc., said Growth Solutions will help entrepreneurial companies “sort through the morass” of technology and branding services. “These services will make it easier for anyone who has b-to-b clients in financial services, telecom or high-tech to find the right partner to reach the right audience,” he said.
The consultancy will focus on companies with annual revenue between $5 million and $200 million, said Brian Anderson, VP-business development at Mansueto Ventures. “There are growing companies that don’t have the resources available to them to reach branding and marketing services,” he said. “Because we have a national platform, this is an opportunity for companies to access our resources and tap into our expertise.”
In addition to offering consulting services, Inc. will sell advertising space in a number of media vehicles tied to the program. These include an online newsletter, which will be launched next month; direct mailings to CEOs of entrepreneurial companies who subscribe to Inc. ; and crafting SMB-centric marketing summits. Ads plugging the consulting services will run in both Inc. and Fast Company, starting with the September issues.
Inc.’s new consulting practice revives a service that operated from 1992 until 2001, when Gruner & Jahr USA bought Inc. from the now-defunct Goldhirsh Group for $200 million and eliminated the service.
“Inc. has a subscriber base that has a very strong affiliation,” said Christopher DiCenso, managing partner of Growth Strategy Partners, who ran Inc.’s consulting service from 1999 until it was disbanded.
He added: “There are very few publications that connect with this audience. If you’re a large corporation and you want strategic services you know where to go. But if you’re a small business, who do you turn to? There’s no nationally recognized brand to help entrepreneurs. Inc. has the ability to do that because of the trust factor that’s been built into the publication.”