5 Entreleadership Takeaways

A Veggie Business Tale

Hello business builders!

While all those people with “real jobs” are settling into summer mode, you’re getting ready for another week of wearing all the hats and doing all the things. Unless you’ve figured out how to write that pontoon off as a business expense. In which case, good on you. Sneak peek at this issue:

  • I’m fresh off a trip to Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership Summit in Nashville! Get my top takeaways and speaker highlights below. Nightlife details have been omitted to protect the innocent.

  • Meet a man who most certainly knows more about vegetables than you. Farmer Lee Jones of The Chef’s Kitchen, together with his dad and brother, evolved the family farm into a specialty vegetable empire. They now host an in-person farm market and heavily leverage e-commerce.

  • A few quick pieces of news, including a pretty kickass report on entrepreneurship from a top e-commerce platform. Hint: It’s not BigCommerce.

Appetizers from Entre

Last week our leadership team from my real job attended Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership Summit in Nashville. There were 11 speakers over three days and, since this is a newsletter for people building businesses, I thought I’d share some of my top takeaways with you.

First… A Note on the Experience

I’ve watched the Summit on livestream for at least five years, but I’m glad I was able to attend in person. The Ramsey crew puts on one hell of a show. The opening night reception was a live show at the Grand Ole Opry. Staff was nice, MC was great, food was good, and the AV presentation made you feel like you were about to see KISS instead of a guy who hates your mortgage.

Around 2,600 people at Entre Summit

See what I mean? Cool looking, right? Ok, onto the takeaways.

1. We are All Weirdos

The theme of this year’s event was “Built for This”. It was the name of Dave’s opening keynote and was on banners all over the place. Several speakers echoed the theme that entrepreneurs are just built differently. Dave shared some data on it.

I love how many owned their individual weirdness on stage. Like Pat Lencioni going down a rabbit hole and then having to ask someone in the audience what he had been talking about! 🤣 Freaking love that guy.

2. Be Effing Thankful, Damnit

Several speakers highlighted the importance of gratitude in business and life. Irish-born Brian Buffini listed it as a way to “Find Your Emigrant Edge” and John O’Leary had us all do a timed exercise to list what we were grateful for. Then we shared with neighbors.

There’s gobs of science on gratitude being a thing that changes you. As my former pastor once said, “If you can’t think of anything to thank God for, just thank him for ladybugs. They’re kind of cool.”

3. Business as a Higher Purpose

Dave’s second keynote was on “The Nobility of Business” where he talked about business as a service to the community and the world. He talked about a Jewish friend of his who described work as a form of worship. I jotted a note from John O’Leary’s talk where he said, “We are called to be used for good.” That is some powerful shit.

Running a business is hard. Remember why you’re doing it and ask yourself what more you can do to be used for good. When you think of it this way, the day-to-day grind of running a business becomes empowering, rather than a thing that happens to you.

4. Love Thy Humans

Entre is a leadership conference so of course there’s a lot of talk about working through humans. Pat Lencioni is the king of this. He gave a great talk that combined his concepts from Working Genius, The Advantage, and The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. Ken Coleman followed that up with a talk about how you can’t actually motivate people.

Communication and trust were undercurrents of most talks. Read any of the above mentioned Lencioni books if you want to work on these.

5. About that Oxygen Mask…

Well, Dr. John Deloney was there and, in addition to making the stage more attractive as one attendee pointed out, he did his usual thing of addressing healthy brains. Here are a couple quotes from his talk that will probably make you feel called out:

“Our calendars and bank accounts have become scorecards for our lives.”

Dr. John Deloney

“If busyness is your drug, then rest will feel like stress.”

The only Entre speaker to get hit on while on stage.

Chef Maneet Chauhan talked about being generous, especially with yourself, and realizing you will make mistakes. Mountain-climbing badass Alison Levine (who liked a post I made on LinkedIn so we are now basically besties) talked about the importance of mental toughness and moving forward despite our fear.

All this to say, you can’t pour from an empty cup, put on your oxygen mask first, etc. etc. If you run a business, part of your job is taking care of you. Full stop.

One Final Note

Overall, I loved the conference. If there was one thing I would change, it would be the tendency of some speakers to get political. Now, I understand it’s a Dave Ramsey conference and some of that is to be expected, it’s just not what I attend business conferences for.

The worst offender of this was Dr. Jordan Peterson, whose somewhat distracting two-color suit made him look like a Canadian Dr. Strange in a Boyz II Men video. I know his talk was on psychology, but would really have liked him to tie it back to business more. Since he was the closing keynote, it was kind of a dull end to what had been a really exciting show.

If you’re thinking Summit is something you and your team should do next year, they’ve already announced it will be in Dallas and tickets are available. There’s also an on-demand option from the 2023 event if you want to check it while simultaneously half-watching Workin’ Moms on Netflix.

Veggie (Business) Tales

One business owner you couldn’t miss at Entreleadership last week was Farmer Lee Jones of The Chef’s Garden. He stood up the first day to answer a question from the MC, Joe Leavitt. Later in the conference, Leavitt came on stage dressed in Jones’s trademark bib overalls and red bowtie. Dude is a walking lesson in personal branding.

The Jones Farm story is also a masterclass on how to pivot. The family’s traditional crop farm went belly up in the ‘80’s, when interest rates were sky high and a hail storm wiped out their crop. The rebuilt the farm through farmer’s markets and eventually ended up selling to gourmet chefs across the country.

But when Covid hit and restaurants shut down, the business went direct-to-consumer and now you can get edible flowers or purple carrots delivered straight to your door.

With the threat of recession looming, it’s a worthy reminder that sometimes you have to revise the dream.

News You Can Use… to Build Your Dream

Entrepreneurs be in… Delaware?: E-commerce platform Shopify has used its data to develop the Entrepreneurship Index. I love an interactive digital read and this one is fire. A couple quick notes. I am serious about the Delaware thing. Go look. And can you guess what percent of entrepreneurs are rural? Answer below.

Waiting on Waitstaff: Following the latest U.S. monthly jobs reports, there are still a few industries that haven’t fully recovered from Covid. If you’ve noticed a service slow-down or reduced hours at your favorite local watering hole, this piece from CNN explains why.

Location, Location, Location: Where you choose to start a business has a massive impact on its success. If you have location flexibility (meaning you are not, for example, married to a dairy farmer), check out this list of best and worst cities for a launch.

Thank You

As speaker Brian Buffini explained at Entreleadership Summit, “The two most important words in business are ‘Thank You’”. So thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m enjoying this project so much and hope it helps you build your dream!

Your turn 🎙️

What did you find most useful from today’s edition? I’m dying for feedback, here, people!