Inc. Magazine Review
1 year: $9.97
Inc. Magazine is a monthly publication that concentrated on all issues related to running a small business. The magazine focuses on a few areas (the share of their content in each area is in parenthesis):
- Small and medium companies (60%)
Articles relating to all issues affecting small businesses, including: sales, branding, marketing, financing, operations, technology, management, leadership, and others.
- Large companies (25%)
Profiles and case studies of large companies (companies with several hundred million in revenue).
- Startups (10%)
These are mostly issues relating to startups (like financing), profiles of startups, and lessons for entrepreneurs.
- Lifestyle (5%)
Profiles of consumer products that business people will supposedly enjoy.
About its entrepreneurial content: One of the problems with this magazine is the label of "small business." In the business world, a small business is one that has about $10-$100 million in revenue. But when most people hear "small business," they think more in the lines of $50,000 to $1 million in revenue. Therefore, most people should realize that this magazine deal with medium-sized businesses. The ideal reader of this magazine is someone running a company that has about $1-$10 million in revenue.
Similarly, the content relating to startups is also skewed towards the higher-end of the market. Their articles on startups deal mostly with companies that are looking for a few million in venture capital money. Small-time entrepreneurs who are looking for tips on how to bootstrap their growth by getting a loan from a bank or from friends will be disappointed. The magazine also tends to be light on web-based start-ups, which I also think will disappoint a lot of people because so much of the popular startup literature deals with web companies. Some people might look at this as "underweighting" the technology sector but it really isn't.
Most of the articles which profile the different businesses and entrepreneurs are very short. Sometimes you'll see a two-paragraph article that says, "Jennifer opened up a cupcake store last year and now wants to grow it to 5,000 stores in 5 years. Here are 3 sentences summing up what she needs to do." The lack of depth in the analysis will be bothersome to some. Others may appreciate the clarity involved in boiling down the big picture to a few key success factors. This is not good or bad - it is a personal preference.
As an investor or trader, you can get a lot of value from reading general business magazines because it sharpens your business analytical skills. Unfortunately, that principle doesn't apply in this case because most of the issues that relate to running small businesses (e.g. networking, project management, etc.) don't apply to larger public companies. The magazine also concentrates on teaching management how to run a business as opposed to analyzing it. One great thing about the magazine, though, is that it is super cheap at $15 for two years. I would highly recommended Inc. Magazine for small business owners but for strictly investing purposes, don't get it.