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Entrepreneurs, Thought-Leaders Unveil Tips at Inc 500|5000 Conference

Annette Beck

ABeckYou can't leave an INC 500/5000 conference without a list of great concepts and ideas to implement upon your office return. Such was the case as I travel back to Kansas City from a superstar lineup of speakers in Washington D.C. this year. Though the shutdown kept us out of the museums, Inc's lineup kept us in the meeting rooms, listening intently to likes of Jim Collins, Jack Stack, Marc Ecko and Kauffman's own Ted Zoller.

How to Lead in Any Environment

Jim Collins, distinguished author of Good to Great and the Social Sectors, kicked off the conference with a discussion around how to be a great leader, humility being the key.  His points include: “if your company is not a great company without you then it is not yet a great company”, “leadership only exists when people follow what they otherwise are not forced to follow”, and “if you have a charismatic cause of goal, you don’t have to be a charismatic leader”.

Ping Fu

Ping Fu dazzled the group with her 3D printed pink scarf, belt, bracelet and shoes.  Rumor has it that Lady Gaga is one of Ping’s shoe enthusiasts.   Ping, the 2005 Inc. “Entrepreneur of the Year” shared excerpts from her new book Bend Don’t Break discusses her young years in Shanghai, her migration to the United States—where, with the help of Research Triangle become a successful inventor and entrepreneur—and co-founding Geomagic.  Her inspirational discussion at INC focused on following your dream.  Follow Ping @pfugeomagic

Predictable Success
One of the most entertaining discussions came from Les McKeown.  His hand drawn chart, a new addition to the speakers in which artists would draw pictures and charts that depicted the speakers’ main points, captured the importance of an organization’s visionary, operator, and processor. From the visionary’s unwavering ability to chase squirrels, the operator who finds a way to get it done, to the addition of the processor, adding necessary controls after successful growth, Les charismatically lead us through the lifecycle of a growth organization through startup, growth and sustainability.  Congrats Les on my vote for the most enjoyable discussion of the conference. Follow Les @lesmckeown

Jab Jab Jab Right Hook

Gary Vaynerchuk, one smart social media guy.  If you need help getting your marketing plan into 2014, he’s the one to call.   From trading baseball cards, to selling wine online this social media superstar talked with extreme passion about knowing who and where your customer is.  An audience poll showed 80 percent of us record our favorite TV shows, almost all fast forward through the commercials.  STOP wasting money where customers are not!! Give, Give, Give, Sell is the theme of his book.  Many of the speakers, Gary included, emphasized that great companies understand the value of employees. “Love your employees, love your clients more than yourself and love employees 10 times more than that.” Follow Gary @garyvee

The Great Game of Business
Jack Stack shares an amazing story of how a group of individuals at a Springfield, Mo. manufacturing plant got together and bought the business to avoid a shutdown.  Without hesitation, he credits SRC employees’ understanding the game of business, and complete transparency is the cause for their success.  Employees fill out the P&L plan each week and know how they individually impact the ability for the company to reach their goals. From a potential shutdown, to an ESOP holding company, they have proven, that when everyone matters, great success can happen.

Business Brilliant

Lewis Schiff shared his LEAP theory.  Learn what you do best, Earn money by doing what you do best, find Assistance from the right people, and use Persistence to overcome diversity. His research of 800 U.S. households includes four sections, Middle Class, Middle Class Millionaire, High Net Worth, and Ultra High Net Worth.  My take away was that those who are not in the upper two groups, but want to be, need to focus more on what they do best, stop being involved in the delivery of the business, surround yourself with the right people, and if you fail, try it again in a different way. #bizbrilliant @lewisschiff

The Savvies of Social Media

You can see Laura Fitton’s full presentation at  Her book Twitter for Dummies, stresses that social is about being there regularly so they will miss you if you’re not there.  You don’t have to be in every social media venue, but you need to know where your customers are, and spend the time on the right channels.  Know your customers then use tools like Hubspot to follow and engage your customers. Note to self, one out of every eight visits to the Internet is on Facebook! @Pistachio

Marc Ecko

Marc Ecko’s catchy jingle “You You You are a Brand Brand Brand.” is the cornerstone of his successful journey.  Marc the artist, clothing designer, and entrepreneur uses the analogy of the human anatomy to illustrate the point of guts-to-skin anatomy of a brand in his book Unlabel: Sellling You Without Selling Out.  He has developed an authenticity formula to help entrepreneurs understand their business and grow their own brand. Follow Marc @marcecko

Thank you INC 500/5000 conference for a high-energy celebration of the top growth entrepreneurs in America.

Look for a recap from Ted Zoller senior fellow, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and director, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill, on his panel discussion What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

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