I was invigorated and inspired by many of the thought-leaders, authors and business leaders that spoke before the over 800 person crowd, in Denver last week at the Gazelles’ Scaling Up Summit.
An accomplished entrepreneur and innovator in the fields of Internet, e-commerce and entertainment, Jeff was entertaining and enlightening but more importantly incredibly inspiring, a leader working to change the world.
“If you want to change the world, unleash an army of entrepreneurs. 10X Growth doesn’t have to be about “business growth”. Think about it as making an Impact, making a Difference in the World.”
Best known as a founder and CEO in the Priceline.com family of companies where he led the development and launch of Priceline’s consumer company, Priceline Yardsale. In 2010, Jeff received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Entrepreneurship from the National CEO Council and was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for Entrepreneurs by the International Association of College Entrepreneurs.
Not only has he been wildly successful as an entrepreneur and business person, but Jeff fits to a “tee” my definition of an Enlightened Leader and is a wonderful role model. He freely admits his mistakes and mis-steps, tells engaging stories that taught his audience of over 125 Coaches frank truths about work and life and Gold Medal athletes, and is both thoughtful and self-reflective. And, over the past five years he has taken his commitment to doing good work in the world beyond our borders, traveling the globe to help entrepreneurs, young people, women’s groups and other business leaders have a positive impact.
“If you want to change the world,” he told us as he started his talk, “Unleash an army of entrepreneurs. 10X Growth doesn’t have to be about “business growth”. Think about it as making an impact, making a Difference in the World.”
There were many wonderful takeaways as you can imagine and I’ll certainly be applying them as I do my own planning for the coming year. But here’s few of my favorites…
1) You don’t become an entrepreneur. You become a problem solver who sees this ‘thing’ that needs fixing. Then, you become obsessed with solving the problem. Everything else is a detail.
2) Every time you encounter a problem, ask these 3 questions:
1) Does this problem affect a lot of people?
2) Is there a better way to solve it?
3) Is there a Value equation? In other words, is solving this a business or a hobby?
3) The most scaleable companies are the ones that don’t push their product, they get pulled. A good sign: People will whip out their wallets and can’t wait to pay you for what you do.
4) Don’t chase money. Chase Excellence.
5) Track your Competitors but respond to your Customers.
Stop and Question Everything.
About Talent, Culture and the power of Focus
6) Human Capital is the most valuable asset you can acquire. Hire the best talent, doing whatever it takes to retain them, including picking up the laundry. (See his Inc article about to learn more about when he did just that!)
7) Schedule time to Go Find Talent. Schedule time to build your Culture too.
8) Simplicity WINS! Make sure everything you and your employees do leads to one of your Goals. Goals lead to Objectives to Strategies to Tactics to Tasks to Skills. Each one of your employees should be able to articulate the Skills that help them to do those Tasks that support the business to move toward and accomplish your Tactics that support your Strategies.
About the Power of Brand
9) Find your Gold Medal talent…it should be distinguishing, memorable and powerful. Then, build a Brand around that asset. Sales are linear, marketing creates growth, but Brand creates Scale.
10) Today you go out and pursue sales and customers. Exponential growth is when they come to you.
11) If your Company was a person, who would she be? How does she dress? How does she talk? Then use the personality to guide every form of external communication. And change your company to fit your Brand Asset and Personality.
12) You can’t build a solution for someone you don’t know. Get out of your office!
13) Market to ‘intent’, not activity. Then, engage people at the point of intent.
14) The truth is that customers choose you for ONE reason that appeals to them most.
About the Power of Excellence in Execution
15) It doesn’t matter what your next idea is. It matters that you Execute!
16) Have a relentless focus on Operational Efficiency and Streamline!
And my absolute favorite…
17) “Ideas are welcome but Execution is Worshipped.”
Jeff is currently a founder and partner of ColorJar, a venture accelerator firm that helps small business owners launch and grow new business ventures.
Tags: Business advice for the mid-market, Leadership Development for Small Business, Overcoming small business challenges, Small business advice, Small Business help, Strategic planning for small business