Nodding off

One of the opportunities that comes with being named to PROFIT Magazine’s HOT 50: Canada’s Emerging Growth Companies is an invitation to GrowthCamp, a full day of inspirational and educational sessions for Hot 50 companies. Less than four hours after closing down MDB Insight’ hospitality suite at the Economic Developers Association of Canada Annual Conference in Quebec City, Brock and I were on a flight to Toronto and the GrowthCamp. I walked into the Westin blurry eyed and looking for a cup of something heavily caffeinated. But better than an over-steeped Earl Grey, GrowthCamp was what I needed – a non-stop 12 hour blast of energy. Listening to great speakers like Robert Herjavec (of TV’s Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank) and Brian Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research all day really does make you forget you’re running on little sleep.

While these people are rightly paid very good money to deliver a challenging and motivational message, I found it was the breakout sessions with fellow entrepreneurs where I got the most value. All day we talked about the greatest challenges facing our businesses. Even though they were all in very different sectors with different types of customers, I found my head constantly nodding as I could completely relate to their issues. These people (most younger than me I have to admit) gave me great ideas from their experiences of building a business – from financial management and market diversification to brand awareness and human resources.

I love the consulting side of my career – understanding the hopes and dreams of local business and community leaders then giving them aspirational and practical plans to overcome their challenges and capitalize on their opportunities. One of my biggest roles as an economic development consultant is to help my clients (and their Councils, boards and community members) appreciate that the businesses in their community are their customers – to think the same way that every HOT 50 entrepreneur thinks. In that respect, I know GrowthCamp has armed me with many more tools to deliver this message. A measure of my success is to think of how much nodding my past clients would be doing if they found themselves at GrowthCamp.