Small Business on the Grow in the Big Easy

According to the Small Business Administration more than 65 percent of all jobs are created by small businesses. With that, it should be no surprise that there are events designed to celebrate and contribute to their success. One such event is GrowCo by Inc. Magazine. Most entrepreneurs are familiar with the magazine's annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Unlike many publications, such as Forbes and Fortune, this publication is devoted to companies still in growth mode. Its event, like the one this month in New Orleans (the 10th through the 12th), is designed to help small businesses become larger and GrowCo has been doing these for years now.

"With GrowCo now in its 16th year, we are extremely honored to have Sir Richard Branson join us in New Orleans," said Bob LaPointe, president of Inc, about this year's event. "The timing is perfect as small business owners and entrepreneurs are now, more than ever, seeking new insights and ideas on how to move their businesses forward." Branson tops the list, but others include many other success stories.

For example, John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market will also be speaking. He is co-author of the new book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Conscious Capitalism. Mackey has devoted most of his adult life to selling natural foods and building a better business model. He helped build a $10 billion Fortune 500 company that is now one of the top 20 supermarket companies in America.

Also, Lewis Schiff will be speaking and he is the executive director of Inc. Business Owners Council, a membership organization for Inc.'s top entrepreneurs. He maintains a blog about behavioral entrepreneurship on He has co-authored two books, The Influence of Affluence: How the New Rich Are Changing America and The Armchair Millionaire. His new book, Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons, which focuses on the wealth-creating behaviors and attitudes that work best in the new economy, was published by HarperCollins in March.

According to organizers, "GrowCo, Inc. Magazine's Grow Your Company Conference, is the leading business forum of its kind. Focused exclusively on growth strategies, the three-day event includes an unprecedented line-up of business experts, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities."

The great list of speakers can be both a "pro" and a "con" to such an event. I always get worried when small business oriented conferences bring in big business leaders to discuss how to grow a business. Unfortunately, many of these speakers are merely managers (and even bureaucrats) rather than entrepreneurs. Still, this list looks like people who know business, and the topics look relevant to any company in growth mode. For example, there is a real emphasis on quantifiable goal setting rather than wish making, with which many small business owners struggle. Furthermore, the networking opportunity with other entrepreneurs is always a positive latent benefit.

In this troubled economy it is always reassuring to find organizations, media, and events that want to bolster the back bone of the U.S. economy, which is small business. GrowCo has made that goal a significant part of Inc. Magazine's business model.

Kevin Price is publisher and editor in chief of US Daily Review and Host of the Price of Business on 1110 AM KTEK in Houston, Texas. He is the author of Empowerment to the People and has twice received the George Washington Honor Medal in Communications from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge. His column is nationally syndicated and he is a frequent guest on major media around the country, being found on Fox News, Fox Business, and other networks. For more see