What We Learned at Inc. 5000

What We Learned at Inc. 5000

We want to share a few of the takeaways from our experience at last week’s Inc. 5000.

The diverse groups of entrepreneurs and managers for the Fastest-Growing businesses in the U.S. have one thing in common – a relentless drive. While the industries spanned everything from beauty products to broadband, many are wrestling with the same issues.

It’s okay to take a breath and recognize success. We’ve hit the Inc. Fastest-Growing Companies List twice. It’s a major feat that comes from hours of hard work from a talented team. We’re guilty of pushing forward without stopping to enjoy success. This was one of those rare milestones.

Evolve Digital Labs Inc. 5000 ranking

So what did @Derek Mabie and @Justin Watkins learn? How were some of Evolve’s guiding principles reinforced?

Shark Tank personality Robert Herjavec gave one of the best presentations and most energizing commentaries. He at times comes across like a sports coach with an edge that’s transformed into a competitive advantage at the Herjavec Group. ($250 million in annual sales.)

Herjavec reminds us “Business isn’t about competing on the days you feel like competing. It’s about competing every day.” We just put up a sign at Evolve that echoes that sentiment, “Attacking this day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.”

Attacking this day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind


Herjavec encouraged attendees to capitalize on strengths and leverage those strengths to deliver hyper-specific excellence. Forget your weaknesses.

  • Don’t apologize for being aggressive/competitive. Don’t lose the will to win, as complacency won’t bring home paychecks for employees, and just “being” will not suffice.
  • Derek and Justin also gained insight on how to build a successful sales team, identify the key personality attributes that work, and how to integrate those into a functioning, effective workforce.
  • It wasn’t surprising to hear staffing is a top challenge among growing firms. One we can relate to. (By the way, we’re hiring in St. Louis and Denver.)
  • Success can be lonely for some. Many are looking for mentors or trusted vendors to help carry the weight. Vulnerability is a great tool to leverage, wisely, so acknowledging you need to leverage all expertise and resources is key.
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, even if that means playing a giant Jenga game. It’s an opportunity to perfect your Jenga skills or commiserate with new people about work passions. (i.e. have a conversation about #JTBD.) You may also end up making great contacts.

As the Inc. 5000 conference wrapped up there was one obvious theme; everyone is looking for ways to grow their business. Maximizing growth takes a solid approach. While Evolve is eager to be recognized on next year’s Inc. 5000 list at the end of the day, it’s about surpassing a customer’s needs and expectations. As our clients grow we grow.