They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but yesterday I learned that is not true. I traveled to Dallas to attend Entrepreneur Magazine’s 5th Annual Growth Conference. Amazingly, this conference is free. Thanks to the generous support of The UPS Store, who underwrites the entire conference, I was fed breakfast, kept caffeinated throughout the day, and enjoyed a delicious free lunch. Most importantly, however, I was stimulated, inspired, motivated. And I laughed, a lot.
The keynote speaker was Barbara Corcoran, whose bright pink suit was matched only by the bright pink hair of Entrepreneur of the Year Limor Fried of AdaFruit Industries. Barbara managed to simultaneously make the audience laugh, think, nod in agreement, and clap. She reminded me of one of the most important concepts in marketing and sales: “Everyone wants what everyone wants, and nobody wants what nobody wants.” She also gave various examples of “jump and the net will appear.” She never had better ideas as during those times when her back was against the wall. She works best under pressure, and is most creative when times are bad. And she holds a grudge, specifically against Donald Trump.
The highlight of my day was Grant Cardone, whose session was entitled “Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life.” I walked in to his session a few minutes late, the room was completely packed, and I instantly felt a jolt of amazing energy. His message was one of positivity, action, and possibility. “Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison,” he said.
In these times of continued uncertainty, Cardone made it his mission to remind the audience that we are not born uncertain. We are born positive and curious. Uncertainty is manufactured – by the media (good news does not sell), education (which teaches us to be conservative), and what he calls the “middle class epidemic.” The “middle class epidemic,” he explained, is this idea that average is now ok. “Average levels of activity is the worst possible thing for this country and for businesses.” We need “massive action.” We should stop playing defense. “Conservative business owners lose market share,” he admonishes. Instead, we need to focus on growing revenues, what he likens to playing offense. That’s the only thing that matters (this reminds me of Barbara’s earlier comments that “sales are the cure-all”). With massive levels of activity comes pressure, of course (again, he and Barbara seem to agree). But pressure is not bad, pressuring a customer is the best thing you can do for her, as long as you are certain of yourself, of your product, of your business. Indeed, “time and pressure make diamonds.”
I left Cardone’s session feeling like I could really do anything, feeling like no dream is out of reach. I left thinking I should have even bigger goals, in fact. I left with a new mantra: “Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison.”