Let’s be honest. New Jersey doesn’t have the best reputation. It’s a second-rate state next to New York – so close, yet so far from the Big Apple. It’s the place to where city-dwellers move when they “settle down,” looking for more affordable homes with backyards and children-friendly neighborhoods. But little do many critics realize – or are willing to admit – New Jersey is a thriving business metropolis. Startups, Fortune 500 organizations and academic institutions spur regional and national economic development every day. Of course, not every New Jersey business succeeds. And yes, I’m talking to you, Toys R Us. But for every company that closes its doors, another thrives and grows.

From one New Jersey business to another, here are just a few locally based brands worthy of our attention.

Single-Serve Beverage Distribution helped fuel America’s caffeine addiction by selling 100 million coffee pods this year. The company consults with brands on packaging, manufacturing and distribution. Featured as number 11 on the Inc. 5000 list, it’s growing at a rate of 13,739 percent. And according to founder Shlomo Birnbaum, it’s literally running out of room.

Momentum Solar was also recognized by Inc. 5000 for its rapid growth in the past few years. The Metuchen-based company installs solar panels across the tri-state area, as well as Florida and California, and plans to massively expand its footprint by the end of 2018. It’s no wonder given the solar boom in the last decade.

Vitals, based in Lyndhurst, is a technology health firm providing consumers with tools to select high quality and affordable health care options. In just 10 years, it has already amassed 280 million users. Vitals is part of a vibrant, rapidly expanding tech corridor; New Jersey is home to 14 of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical companies and 63 colleges, universities and technical schools.

New Jersey is home to 14 of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical companies and 63 colleges, universities and technical schools.Click To Tweet

Schuman Cheese. Full disclosure: I love cheese, but I promise it didn’t influence my decision to include Schuman Cheese on this list. Seven decades in business for this Fairfield-based Italian-style cheese importer seems too gouda to be true (ha!), but its wins outweigh its weaknesses.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and for sure, these companies didn’t become successful overnight. I also don’t have a window into their growth plans or marketing strategies. But there are fundamental steps any New Jersey business can and should take to boost their recognition and establish a strong external presence. Here is a quick top-three list: implement a thought leadership program rooted in the expertise of your product or service; engage with local or regional business or industry associations (NJBIA, NJ Chamber of Commerce); and pay close attention to SEO and search rankings.

Are you a fast-growing New Jersey business? Let’s talk.

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With her combined talents in visual content creation and media relations, Jacqie strives to show AND tell unique narratives with every opportunity. Her experience spans the higher education, healthcare, technology and management sectors. Creative and detail-oriented, Jacqie helps ensure team efficiencies and client results. While she doesn’t own one yet, Jacqie has a passion for dogs, and hopes to one day rescue and train her own four-legged friend.