Goldman Sachs Small Business Summit 2018
I recently attended the conference was for graduates of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. The program is a 12-week intensive course for business owners across the entire country, funded by Goldman Sachs. The program’s goal is to invest in teaching and providing tools for growth, uniting local business communities, and helping small business expand and hire more people to build our economy. I graduated from the program in August 2016. So far about 6,500 owners have graduated. The goal is 10,000.
The Summit was held in Washington DC on February 13 and 14, and had 2,200 graduates in attendance. It was truly awesome to see all of us together in one room. The camaraderie, shared experiences and power of a huge room filled with small business owners was overwhelming.
The entire Summit was amazing, inspiring and rejuvenating. What I learned is that we are not alone. Any challenge we face, is faced by every single other small business out there. We all go through difficult times and challenges. What differentiates the successes from the rest is the drive and passion to just keep going.
We heard some truly amazing speakers. They included Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, Loyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs), some senators and governors, Tyler Perry and his amazing story, and Sir Richard Branson. The woman who founded Spanx spoke to us – she too is an alumni of the 10,000 Small Businesses program. There was a panel of three owners who had been on Oprah! Some of the stories brought tears to my eyes.
There were consistent themes running throughout the Summit: small businesses create over sixty percent of new jobs; that every business faces incredibly tough points and obstacles – and through it all we just persevere. The most impactful take-aways were reinforced by Warren Buffet, who was the last speaker. He urged us to “delight the customer,” “treat our employees really well,” and “surround ourselves with people who make us better, and who in many cases are better than we are in certain ways.”
Warren Buffet, who I always thought of as a ‘numbers guy’ who looked at margins and growth curves, said he has never seen a business fail who followed those tenets.
I hope this Summit summary will motivate you even a fraction of how much this event inspired me.