- Created on Tuesday, 04 September 2012 14:21
- Published Date
- Written by Joanna Williamson
It's Day 2 of Inc. Magazine's GrowCo conference. By now, I've learned to break down my business model visually, learned that if you weren't embarrassed by your first launch you're doing something wrong, and listened to a former President speak about his vision of the future of our economic climate. As if that wasn't enough, I was still trying to pinch myself back to reality after the previous night's invitation to GrowCo's VIP cocktail party. In an intimate and relaxed setting, we had a chance to mingle with the top leaders of the conference, ask any questions we had, dig deeper into a presenter's topic or an author's book or just sit and enjoy an evening with some of the great entrepreneurial minds of our time.
Day 2's headliner was Damon John of FUBU and Shark Tank fame. He was scheduled to speak and attend a book signing later in the day. The anticipation of hearing him speak was almost palpable. The lights dimmed and the music started blaring. For a second, I couldn't tell if I was at a business conference or a rock concert. Then a video kicked on and filled the two mega screens on either side of the stage. I'm all for making business principles sexier, so it was a nice change of pace to see something so polished (though at one point I began to wonder if the rather long and flashy introductory video *was* Damon John's presentation). But, then he took the stage, and began mesmerizing the audience with his five point S.H.A.R.K. approach to branding.
Just as Mr. John is sharing the story of his gritty start in the t-shirt biz, all the cell phones at our table start to buzz, ping, or whistle in a modern day version of passing notes in class. It was a text from Inc. Magazine, a last minute change in schedule. Turns out, Mr. John had heard about our military entrepreneur delegation and wanted to spend more time with us than a regular flyby book signing would allow. When Natalie Thomas and the Inc. Magazine team heard that, they worked their magic made it happen. Not only did they purchase each of us a copy of Mr. John’s book, but immediately after the presentation we were to be escorted to a private book signing.
To say I was stunned doesn’t quite do justice to how I was feeling at that point. Honored? Privileged? Thankful? Those words come a bit closer. And that's my whole point about the entire GrowCo experience. I could write for days on end about each presenter and what I learned, but the message that was more important to share was the sense that Inc. Magazine had a genuine desire to see each and every one of us succeed. That somehow, by supporting us, they had created a tangible connection to all military entrepreneurs and by extension, military families as a whole. My entire experience was permeated by not only their sincere spoken promises to support military entrepreneurs, but by their concerted effort to extend every opportunity available to us. And that kind of support, my dear colleagues, doesn't come around very often.
So when I tell you now, that Inc. Magazine is once again extending an invitation to you, our military spouse entrepreneurs, to be part of their special delegation of military entrepreneurs for its annual Inc. 500/5000 conference in Phoenix, Arizona, my hope is that you will realize it for the one in a million opportunity that it truly is. You don't have to be a million dollar company to apply, you just have to want to see your business grow. You don't have to have a shiny corner office, you just have to want to have an office that isn't in the corner of your dining room.
I dare you to be a part of one of the most profound entrepreneurial events you will ever experience in your business career. Go on, go right now and apply. It may be the smartest thing you ever do.
Application deadline has been extended for military entrepreneurs.
(Joanna Williamson has not been compensated for any part of this endorsement.)