This week I had the pleasure to attend INC magazine’s GrowCo conference
that was held (once again) at the Omni Hotel in Nashville and it was by far, the best one (of the previous 3) I have ever attended. From day one, the quality of the speakers and energy level of the attendees was simply amazing! And I must say, Nashville has proved to be an ideal setting for the event with the vibrancy of the local business community as well as the first class entertainment provided by Warner Music (Nashville). From Dan & Shay to the Railers to Ryan Kinder the Music City did itself proud making the conference both lively and fun.
Definitely, the highlight of the first day was the presentation given by Daymond John who is star of the hit TV Show “Shark Tank” as well as a mega successful entrepreneur. Daymond’s creative vision and strong knowledge of the marketplace helped him create one of the most iconic fashion brands in recent years. FUBU, standing for “For Us By Us”, that represents a lifestyle (hip hop) that was previously neglected by other clothing companies. Daymond’s presentation was not only informative but highly entertaining and I loved his “turn the corner” moment when he got LL Cool J to take a picture wearing FUBU apparel.
His 5 tips for success were simple but powerful 1) Set Goals 2) Do Your Homework 3) Adore 4) Remember You’re the Brand (that’s a big one for me!) 5) Keep Swimming. In the Q&A session I really liked his response to my question about Mo’s Bows and how he is mentoring a 13 year old Memphis entrepreneur who is a former Shark Tank guest. What a cool guy!
The highlight of day two was the presentation given by Jessica Alba and Brian Lee who are the co-founders of eco-friendly e-commerce startup The Honest Company, The Honest Company, helmed by Jessica Alba, Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee, and Sean Kane, was created to ensure that parents have access to non-toxic, ecofriendly, beautiful family products that don't break the bank. Also, I must say I appreciate Jessica Alba believing so much in the Honest Company and its products that she put her “money where her mouth is” by investing a significant amount of her own money in the company. Currently revenue at The Honest Company is around $150M but Brian Lee’s comment about growth was interesting. “You’re not changing the world at $500 million in revenue,” Lee recently said. “You start making a true difference when you’re doing billions in revenue. His advice to the GROWCO attendees about growing our businesses? DREAM BIG! Not a bad goal at all.
The highlights of day three were provided by world renowned business educator and coach Dr. Marshall Goldsmith who talked about understanding the practice of leadership. Dr. Goldsmith used a very entertaining style to get across some key concepts about employee engagement and productivity. I loved his comments about “if they don’t care, don’t waste your time” as well as “be happy now” Made a lot of sense to me.
Another entertaining speaker was Jay Rogers the founder of Local Motors Company who talked about the cars of the future being created from 3D printers. Some crazy cool stuff but if made a lot of sense to me given the capabilities of today’s technology and the dated manufacturing processes of major car manufacturers. Jay even had one of his cars on display in the hotel lobby which was pretty amazing.
GROWCO seemed to save the best speaker for last when Marcus Lemonis, star CNBC’s “The Profit” gave his remarkable presentation. From the start (when he put on the red shoes) to the end, Marcus held the audience spellbound with his personal story and philosophy on business. I must say I was particularly moved when he mentioned his lifelong struggles with an eating disorder and learning at an early age about overcoming adversity (abused by family member, etc.) I also really appreciated his comments and advice about “people doing business with people they can relate to” as well as leaders inspire employees by “doing their work with them.”
I also must say I was highly impressed in the Q&A session when Marcus offered to help a young female business owner who had taken over the family manufacturing business when her father recently died. The compassion he showed this young women was remarkable and genuine and I must say I have all new respect for Marcus Lemonis as not just as a TV star/successful businessman but as a caring human being. All in all, another great GROWCO Conference and I’m looking forward to leveraging some of the great advice and strategies to grow ISI not just in 2015 but in many years in the future.