K2M CEO Eric Major will share his entrepreneurial journey as the keynote speaker at the second annual Loudoun Small Business Conference on May 14.
Major is quick to label what he has learned along the way of his journey not as wisdom, but as “lessons learned.”
“What people don’t realize is success as an entrepreneur is never a straight line. The highs are very high, the lows are extremely low,” he said. “It’s really about staying committed and always learning.”
Major’s entrepreneurial career began well before he started K2M, which today is a global leader of complex and minimally invasive spine technologies.
“I had always been kind of an entrepreneur without knowing what an entrepreneur was,” he said.
He recalls starting a ski club as a child and selling T-shirts so he could afford to go skiing. His professional career drew him to the medical field, where he started another company, later acquired, before founding K2M. Both of those companies had humble beginnings—in his garage.
There have been five major tenets, or lessons learned of his career. The first is passion.
“You’re going to be running into so many uphill battles along the way you’ve got to love what you’re doing,” Major said.
The second is staying committed, “even in the face of everyone telling you you’re crazy,” he said.
The third is differentiation.
“All the time as an entrepreneur you’re looking at the whiteboard or computer screen and saying ‘how can I be different?’ How do you stand out? If you’re doing what everyone else in the industry is doing you’re not going to break out,” he said.
Surrounding yourself with a quality team, including experts more adept at certain subjects than oneself is his fourth lesson learned.
And, finally, it’s all about execution, Major said.
“Everyone’s going to be looking to the entrepreneur. If you don’t have the energy, people around you aren’t going to,” he said.
While Major’s keynote address is scheduled during the lunch portion of the conference, there are many other elements to draw attendees to a conference that organizers will hope will be even bigger than the inaugural event last year.
Eric Byrd, manager of the Small Business Development Center at Leesburg’s Mason Enterprise Center, said one special feature of this year’s conference is a growthwheel self-assessment. The interactive online tool allows attendees to identify areas of the conference that may be best suited for them—from breakout sessions on crowdfunding, to tax codes, to employee hiring and retention. Byrd will lead conference attendees through an exercise of the growthwheel at the start of the conference, but it is also available online to use ahead of time.
For more information on the Small Business Conference, which kicks off Loudoun Small Business Week, go to loudounconference.com. Information on registration and the growthwheel, as well as a schedule of the day’s event, is available on the website.
The Schedule: Loudoun Small Business Week 2018
A full slate of events catering to Loudoun’s eclectic business community kicks off Monday, May 14, running through the following weekend. Find more information on Small Business Week at biz.loudoun.gov. Learn more about the Small Business Conference at loudounconference.com.
Monday, May 14
Small Business Conference
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, 45020 Aviation Drive, Sterling
Tuesday, May 15
Business Awards Workshop: How to Get Nominated, Get Noticed
8:30-10 a.m., Leesburg Junction, 215 Depot Court, #101, Leesburg
Connecting at the Nexus of Data and Health
Noon-2 p.m., The George Washington University Virginia Science and Technology Campus, Exploration Hall, 20101 Academic Way, Room 101, Ashburn
The Future of Packaging
5:30-7 p.m., Lost Rhino Tasting Room, 21730 Red Rum Drive #142, Ashburn
Young Entrepreneurs Academy Graduation
5:30-7 p.m., K2M Inc., 600 Hope Parkway SE, Leesburg
Wednesday, May 16
1 Million Cups
9-10 a.m., Mason Enterprise Center, 202 Church Street SE, Leesburg
Exporting Luncheon: Sell More of Your Products
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lansdowne Resort & Spa, 44050 Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg
Loudoun Tech Startups
5:30-7 p.m., Bungalow Lakehouse, 46116 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling
Movie and Panel: Farmers for America
5:30-8 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse, 20575 Easthampton Plaza, Ashburn
Leesburg Business Awards
6-8 p.m., Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, 60 Ida Lee Drive NW, Leesburg
Thursday, May 17
Innovation in the Defense and Intelligence Communities
8:30-11 a.m., Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, 21000 Education Court, Ashburn
Start Your Business
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gum Spring Library, 24600 Millstream Drive, Aldie
Unmanned and Ready for Business: The Sequel
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fireman’s Field and Bush Tabernacle, 250 Nursey Avenue, Purcellville
Loudoun Chamber After Hours Mixer
5:30-7 p.m., Burtons Grill, 21434 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling
Friday, May 18
How to Hire the Right Talent
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Brickyard Ashburn, 44927 George Washington Boulevard #265, Ashburn
Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20
Loudoun Spring Farm Tour
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., participating Loudoun County farms