This month, we got to spend a little time in the Big Apple: The only city where everyone can be packed into one place like sardines and still mind their own business.

In a town where people are known for being blunt, unequivocal and packing energy like that of a fiercely shaken Red-Bull can, we walked away with some great pointers from the New York Times Small Business Summit 2012.

Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership, stepped out as the morning keynote speaker. Eyes peeled and Twitter blazing, here are five of our favorite takeaways:

“If you’re not afraid, you’re not paying attention enough.”

In other words, grow your business, fearlessly. The opposite of success is not failure. The opposite of success is no-success. Fact.

Now we’re not here to tell you, “You’ve got nothing to lose”. I mean we’re optomists but we’re entrepreneurs for goodness sake, that takes a spoonful of realism. But if you don’t try you certainly have nothing to gain – so eat 20/20 hindsight for breakfast and get back on that horse full-speed ahead. Doctor’s orders.

“Suck it up and figure it out.”

Contrary to popular belief, nice guys do not finish last – hermits do. Get out from under the covers and build your network. We know sometimes it’s exhausting, we know it can be daunting and we know that people (just like gardens) need to be weeded out. Just like anything else, networking is a job that takes patience and leverage.  The fact is that there are armies of smart and interesting people out there just waiting to engage with you and your business.

“If you build it, they will come? Total lie.”

Find them. They won’t always come to you. In the words of Coldplay, “Nobody said it was easy”. You’re an entrepreneur. Let this define you (please let considerable initiative and risk twinkle when reading):

“Finance is not what’s keeping your business down.”

First and foremost – it’s something else. Don’t be afraid to take inventory. The money is out there. If you spend all your time crunching numbers, the good news is: arithmetic is reliable. Two plus two will always equal four. Step outside your box beyond all that. Is it your network that is keeping you down? Or lack thereof?

“Be pretty Draconian about your relationship. By just exposing yourself a little bit, you’ll get something out of it.”

Social media is a beast. A big beautiful transparent beast. Use it to your advantage. New media now allows us the opportunity to take small calculated risks in a more personal form of content marketing.

Within reason and research, don’t be afraid to get personal. Truth can strengthen relationships and a little bit goes a long way.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area next week, please join us at UCLA next Tuesday night, July 17th at 6pm for a Fireside Chat with Scott Case himself, brought to us by DocStoc. For more news on upcoming events, check out our events page!