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Lessons from Inc. 5000 (and other conferences)

Posted on December 4, 2019 in

For the second time in three years, our firm was named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in America. We were honored to be recognized as part of this esteemed group of successful businesses. Because we made the list, we were also invited to attend the conference Inc. hosts for its honorees. The Inc. 5000 Conference is  a great event, filled with entrepreneurs attempting to quench their thirst for knowledge and growth. I recommend it to anyone who is growing their business.

Here are a few nuggets I learned along the way. First, there is always room for growth. In our first ten years, we grew year after year but not always at the same rate, sometimes at a declining rate. I am not complaining – growth is still growth. And that is what matters most.  But I was also inspired by the number of companies who have consistently made the list year after year, with some even moving up the rankings each year. That means they basically continued to grow exponentially. Think about it. If you go from $100 million to $130 million in a year, you have grown by 30%. But to achieve 30% growth again the next year would require an additional $39 million and more than $50 million the third year. Impressive. And inspiring.

Second, there is always room for learning. I love hearing new ideas or new ways of looking at a particular problem. That is why I am constantly reading books and magazines, listening to podcasts and attending learning events like this. My initial reaction to these invitations is to find an excuse not to go. I am too busy. Or I have heard that speaker or topic before. But I have learned that when I have the time, I should go. Sometimes, hearing the same advice again can have a different effect the second or third time around. Perhaps the speaker presents it in a different way that resonates with me more. This time it just grabbed me. Maybe I was listening instead of checking email.  Maybe this speaker explained it better. Or maybe I am a different person now. They say you can never swim in the same river twice. It is constantly moving and changing. I think the same is true for people. With each day, we learn new things and have new experiences. Maybe I had not encountered the problem the first time I heard the solution; so, I was not listening in the same way this time. This time I was ready to receive the information. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why I am learning differently this time. What matters is that I am learning. And I will seize every opportunity to do that.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the speakers at the conference.

Retired all-star MLB player and entrepreneur, Alex Rodriguez said “I have a PhD in falling down and a Masters in getting back up.” I love this quote. Nobody learns from success. We learn from failure. When we fail or encounter a serious obstacle in life or business, many people just ignore it and hope it will go away or resolve itself. I see that all the time with insolvency clients. They are hoping their creditors will just go away. They avoid their phones calls and ignore their emails, and they come into my office with unopened envelopes. No!  That doesn’t work! We should attack our problems, solve them, and learn from them. Thanks A-Rod!

Amy Cuddy, the award-winning Harvard lecturer and author of Presence, said this: “Our body changes our mind. Our mind changes our behavior. Our behavior changes our outcomes.” There is a lot packed into that one. If you know me, you know that I try to live by this, even though I had never heard it said that way. I don’t want this blog to sound preachy, but I will say this. Most of us take care of all of the machines in our lives but the most important one. We clean the filters on our air conditioners, and we give our cars premium fuel and oil changes. But then we don’t even think about what we put into our own bodies, and we don’t make the time for exercise and sleep. And many of us fill our own heads with negative thoughts as we take on our biggest challenges. As I am writing this, I am thinking this topic deserves its own blog entirely. So, I will stop there.

The next time you are “on the fence” about attending another learning event, go for it. Better yet, call me and I will go with you. After all, there is always room for growth and learning. Thank you, Inc. 5000!

About the Author: Jeff has been practicing insolvency law for more than 25 years. He represents clients on bankruptcy and bankruptcy avoidance, emphasizing corporate reorganization, workouts, creditors’ rights, and commercial litigation both in and out of bankruptcy court. He also provides insolvency-related transactional advice and has extensive experience with all aspects of bankruptcy sales and acquisitions.