The lessons learned during Inc. 5000 were many, but all I keep hearing is the buzz--or bling, in her case--around Kendra Scott, co-founder of the $1 billion jewelry empire, that bears her namesake, based in Texas.
Scott shared that when her first big customer, Nordstrom, called to fill an order, the company asked to talk to Scott's distribution center. But Scott was filling orders from home and didn't have one yet. So what did she do to ensure the company signed on? She handed the phone to her mom.
"If your mom is doing your shipping, be confident that you are on the right path to building a billion dollar business," Scott said.
When we first started HelloAlice.Com we had a fake assistant named Olivia (who was actually played by our CEO, Carolyn Rodz). We blamed all of our early mistakes on Olivia, but she also got a lot of kudos for her customer service -- she even got flowers once, and a thank you note.
So, let's learn a few lessons in building a successful company from this humble self-made billionaire. To dig deeper on these lessons I have put together a collection to help you dig deeper in how to manage an effective team. You can take these quotes from Scott's fireside chat, and put them in your own values and business planning:
1. Make your employee's happiness a priority.
"Happy people will give you everything they have because they feel loved and they feel respected... It will positively affect your bottom line," Scott said. She made it very clear that you must value your employees and ensure they have personal satisfaction within their jobs.
2. Strive for the best.
"Don't play for second, play to win," said Scott. Even though she is kind and humble, she was very clear that she is consistently working towards number one. This is a virtue of most highly successful founders. They push to the limits every single day not matter what success the previous day brought to life.
3. You're only as good as your team.
"Every single morning I wake up and I am running a company bigger than it was the night before. The only way you can do that by hiring and managing amazing, brilliant, people." The stress here is on team. Founders are only as good as the teams surrounding them, so focus on talent as much as product.
4. Ask for feedback.
"Put yourself in your customers shoes everyday." Don't ever assume what your customers want and need. You must ask them for feedback consistently.
5. Don't settle. Find the right investors.
"I never realized how valuable that was. When you have the right people around the table, amazing things can happen." In addition to money, it is essential to ensure the right advice, talent and reputation are coming with your investors. (This advice was also given by Cindy Eckert, founder of pharmaceutical company Sprout, the day prior.)
As I am writing this, I am wearing my Kendra Scott necklace and thinking about the incredible founders that were at Inc 5000. Whether number one or number 5000, follow the advice of Kendra and own your path to being number one,