Learning lessons from the GrowCo conference
GrowCo gives attendees the opportunity to learn from the best in the industry with more than 600 people attending – including CEOs and thought leaders – workshops and networking opportunities. Here are a few insights Pavlo Phitidis came away with after attending the world’s biggest three-day business growth conference.
“Beyond profit generation, American views on business reach deeply into the context of where they are built.”
We saw this on our first day as we orientated ourselves in New Orleans when visiting Southern Candy Makers, Melbas PoBoys and a Cuban Cigar Factory. New Orleans, a city that was flattened by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, faced a R3 billion rehabilitation challenge in the aftermath of the storm. Many business owners with deep histories and roots in the region united behind the challenge and built businesses that reached deep into their communities. The models they used are still profitable and sustainable today.
The GrowCo schedule
Immersed in the process of learning, we attended fireside chats with founders who had built fast-growing businesses and seminars presented by business growth experts.
The focus of day one was understanding the differences between growth and it only ended at midnight. We gained insights into getting the timing right, breaking and rebuilding your business while building it through the growth cycle, raising capital, leadership and team dynamics through the growth cycle.
Day two was broken down into nine seminars and fireside chats and was about staying at the top. It was about how, once you get into growth, you can accelerate it without becoming broke and remaining ahead of the competition.
Invest in lifelong learning
The fastest-growing and most successful businesses I work with have business owners who invest in lifelong learning. This was no different at GrowCo. South African business owners had travelled from across the Atlantic to learn the GrowCo lessons for their own businesses. We found them, spoke to them and got their take on what they were bringing back home.
Insights from the conference and the city
Conferences are full of people – and we met loads of them. There were great ideas from new businesses. The Baby Barista was one such example. The interest we generated on cross-Atlantic business became palpable. From cowboys to corporatising small business, interest in South Africa’s entrepreneurial business environment was keen. We also enjoyed seeing some big names in the American entrepreneurial ecosystem visiting the conference. They shared their insights, mobilised the attendees and inspired many through their own stories.
Finally, we managed to squeeze in some time to visit New Orleans. From Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, visits to the docks serving the great Mississippi River, historic graveyards, swamps and groves, and visits uptown and across town, we gained insights and truths about the remarkable cross-section of southern American society and life.
It was a valuable trip. It was insightful. It was vital. We get so stuck in our own narratives governing the big issues in South Africa that focusing on and getting down to business becomes a challenge in all the surrounding noise.
It’s a trip like this that helps you to step up and get out of the noise to take the lessons learnt back into your own business and accelerate it to its next level in service of yourself and South Africa. This valuable trip was made possible by Nedbank and American Express.