Ajay Pattani is an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member from Chicago and founder (and reigning ping pong champion) of Perfect Search Media, a search and social agency named to the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest-growing companies. Ajay went to the 2017 Inc. 5000 conference, and he's taking the lessons he learned there to heart for the new year.

This year, Perfect Search was honored on the Inc. 5000. It was a highlight!

I felt fortunate to attend the Inc. 5000 conference in Palm Desert, California. It was a privilege to hear inspiring speakers and to meet accomplished, creative entrepreneurs. With 2018 around the corner, I've reflected upon my experience and crafted New Year's resolutions inspired by the conference. Could any of these work for you?

Be Proactive in Taking Emotional Risks

Dr. Brené Brown spoke about "Daring Leadership: The Four Pillars of Courage." Dr. Brown is a wonderful speaker and professor. If you haven't checked out her TED Talk, "The Power of Vulnerability," I highly recommend it.

At the Inc. 5000 conference, she spoke on the importance of being proactive and taking risks. One standout anecdote was about her daughter, who was placed in her least favorite stroke in an upcoming swim meet and wanted to drop out. Despite her reservations, she swam anyway. Yes, she came in last―but she felt like a winner. Sometimes, just trying something new or scary is a form of winning.

Acknowledge Random Luck

In his talk, "How to Build a Billion Dollar Brand," Brian Smith, the Founder of UGG, emphasized that random moments of luck matter in business.

I appreciated his humility in sharing the mistakes he faced throughout his journey. Smith's passion for the product also shone through. This excitement for the UGG brand made him a sales phenomenon―and he was a stellar speaker, as well. My takeaway from his presentation was that results matter more than credit. Life is a team sport, and luck is part of the game.

Keep Your Options Open

Michael Dubin is the founder of Dollar Shave Club. Its success was swift, from a company with US$3.5 million in revenue in 2012 to being bought for US$1 billion by Unilever in 2016.

Dubin's presentation, "How to Build and Sell a Billion Dollar Business," focused on the importance of brand voice. I appreciated his points on how his strong team created a strong brand strategy, which then created a strong company.

He also offered his perspective on being acquired. Dubin explained that he and his team focused on how their partner, Unilever, could help advance the goals of Dollar Shave Club, instead of how Dollar Shave Club could help Unilever. That's a valuable angle to consider.

Cherish Your Health

Daymond John of Shark Tank fame spoke about, "The Power of Broke: Lessons in Business and Life from Daymond John."

While I enjoyed his thoughts on how he became a self-made millionaire and entrepreneur, I was struck by his honesty about his recent cancer scare. He reminded me that you can have all the business success in the world, but there's no point in doing so unless you have your health. That is the most important lesson of all.

Other Highlights

I was pleased to see the Entrepreneurs' Organization's booth at the Inc. 5000 conference, and there were about 50 EO members in attendance. It was wonderful to see the success of the EO community represented so visibly.

I'll end with a hot travel tip: I had planned to rent a car to get from LAX to Palm Desert, but then a friend told me about Tesloop, a new city-to-city transportation service. You simply book a ticket, a driver in a Tesla picks you up from the airport, and you relax for a few hours with Wifi and snacks en route to your destination. It was an awesome experience; I highly recommend it if you're traveling in Southern California during the holiday season.

Published on: Dec 27, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.