Lists of company rankings are everywhere: magazine top 100 companies lists, association top 10 companies lists. Even ranked companies make company rankings. More than gimmicks, though, company ratings are serious business intelligence tools. A look at your favorite lists, many of which include company profiles, can tell you who’s who and what’s what in American business.
Of course, company ratings don’t just tell you explicitly about other businesses. Implicitly, they can tell you volumes about your own, too. In fact, if you want to learn to build a better business, lists of company rankings are a great place to start; after all, on any given list, the top 100 companies, top 10 companies -- top whatever companies, really -- have many, many lessons to teach. Among the things they have to offer:
1. Company rankings can be a source for out-of-the-box ideas and inspiration.
2. Company ratings illustrate both the best and worst ways to do business.
3. Company rankings are a resource on which to lean for market research.
4. Company ratings can function as business intelligence tools.
5. Company rankings can introduce you to new customers, vendors and partners
Comb company rankings in search of yourselfThere are several lists of company rankings that rate small businesses, in particular. Are you on them? Make it your goal to get ranked, whether it's in the top 10 companies, the top 100 companies or the top 5,000 companies in your space. If you need help achieving that goal, look at the top 10 companies on those lists and figure out what they did to earn their rankings; adjust your operations and best practices accordingly.
Use company rankings to choose potential partners, vendorsIf you want to be the best, you've got to do business with the best. And because the cream always rises to the top, lists of company rankings are an ideal place to look for partners; they'll tell you who's growing, who's succeeding and who's loved most by their employees, customers and peers.
Review company rankings in order to generate new business leadsSuccessful businesses with high company ratings are ripe with opportunity. Not only do their rankings qualify them as superior providers, but also as preferred customers. It's a smart idea, therefore, to weed through lists of company rankings in search of new customers and hot leads.
Consider company rankings a market research toolIf you're starting a new business in a new industry, company rankings can give you solid indicators of how a given market is performing. If you're starting a tech business, for example, browse lists of company rankings for similar outfits; if five of the top 10 companies on a list of America's fastest growing companies are tech firms, you're in good shape.
Scour company rankings in search of competitive intelligenceCompany ratings are excellent business intelligence tools, as they often include detailed company profiles and key company data that you can use to build and develop your competitive advantage.
Mine company rankings for management adviceMany lists of company ratings rank firms according to employee satisfaction; browse them in order to borrow companies' best ideas for recruiting and retaining the very best talent.
Research company rankings and become a better corporate citizenLook to company ratings that are based on environmentalism, philanthropy and corporate responsibility in order to learn lessons that will earn your business a better reputation within your local community.
Use company rankings to identify emerging trends, technologyLists of company rankings are often home to the next big thing. For advice about emerging business trends, then, look to the top 100 companies, and especially the top 10 companies, on lists that rank companies according to growth or innovation.
- When you're looking at company rankings, always consider the ranking institution's methodology. While most company ratings include some subjective criteria, those with more objective company rankings systems-based on quantitative data, not qualitative-are likely to be more reliable.
- Considered controversial by some, company rankings aren't intended to create a corporate caste system. Don't take them personally, therefore. Use company rankings to set goals for your business, not to evaluate its worth.
- Company rankings are most useful when they're analyzed over a period of years. In other words, don't just examine company ratings for this year; look at company ratings for the last five years. Examine companies' positions and consider how they've changed over time; look for progress, not plateaus.
- Company rankings aren't always reliable. Before you consider a list of company ratings valuable, therefore, look carefully at the institution that created it. University and magazine lists tend to be fairly legitimate, for instance, while lists generated by special interest groups are often more biased.
- Company rankings are often geographically based. And while global and national company rankings tend to be most competitive, regional, state and local company rankings are still considered both useful and reputable. Plus, they present more opportunities for small businesses.
- Because company rankings and company ratings often include company profiles, they can be a great place to scout for potential talent and partners. Browse company profiles, for instance, in search of influential executives within your industry; while you probably won't be able to lure them away from their present job, you can at least approach them in order to network and strategize.
- If your business is included in a list of company rankings, consider it a valuable publicity opportunity. Order reprints to include in press kits and send out a press release. Post an announcement on your website. Organize a celebration with friends and clients. Just make sure you spread the word.