How can you use Leverage for Your Business?

Got leverage?Leverage is a powerful tool. We’ve talked about it at length here. If you missed it, check out SOBCon IS Leverage.

Which is a great definition – and a very abstract one. Let’s make it more immediately applicable for you.

How can you use Leverage, the cornerstone of what SOBCon IS, for your business?

Leverage can be used to get feedback from others – While you’re in person at SOBCon, you can share your troubles with the rest of the people at your table. Don’t worry – they won’t judge you. Chances are, they’re going through the same thing you are – or they just got through what you’re going through. A few years back, I sat at a table with 4 other business owners. We all were struggling to get feedback from our customers. Feedback that we desperately needed to move our businesses forward in a new direction. We talked about survey tools, and the best time to send the survey e-mails, and all sorts of other things about surveys.

We found a solution we all agreed to – and then one person at the table said “What if instead of surveying all our customers, we each agree to call someone else’s 5 best customers and find out what they love (and loathe) about working with the other business owner. Then we can all get honest feedback, not have to worry about our customers feeling like we’re fishing for compliments, and we can all help each other.” And so we did. Instead of a boring e-mail survey, that we all had been delaying for weeks (or in some cases years), we helped each other as soon as the event was over. Simple. Easy. And something I never would have thought to do had I not been at that table.

Leverage can be used to amplify your message and your audience – When you make a friend, you make one more person who might share your work. When you join a community, you get a bunch of people who might share your work. Because SOBCon is such an intimate event, if you want to, you can connect with nearly everyone in attendance, and you can find just the right people to amplify your message and share your work, as well as tons of people who you can share their work, and amplify their message. The collaborative part of SOBCon is one of the most wonderful and amazing parts to me.

Leverage can help you create a better product, something better than you could create by yourself – Everyone has unique talents and skills, and everyone looks at things a little differently than you do. Or maybe it’s just me. I find that

Leverage can be used to test an idea out before you release it to the world – What better test than to work with your peers – and with people who have no idea what you do – all in one? Leverage offers a great way to run an idea past a bunch of people in a short period of time and create your own pre-launch team to gather feedback and make your product or service even better. You might even get a customer or two out of it, like SOBCon alum Jesse Petersen has done with his WordPress design business.

Need more Leverage?

Join us at SOBCon in Chicago, June of 2014. We’ve got Leverage. We are SOBCon.

And if you come, you’ll be Leverage too. You’ll be able to tap into the great minds that have previously gotten Leverage from SOBCon, that are looking to Leverage SOBCon 2014.

SOBCon is Leverage. Leverage is SOBCon.

The only question that remains is are YOU Leverage? Are YOU going to be at SOBCon? Leave a comment and let me know. I can’t WAIT to meet you!

Image courtesy of wikipedia commons

What is Leverage?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of leverage, and I realized I never asked myself a key question: What IS leverage? What does leverage really mean? Intrinsically, I guess I’ve known it for a long while, but honestly, I didn’t know if I could define it. It just sounded like a good word to use. I thought it would make me sound smart.

So I did what any person who wants to get smarter do. I asked all my friends.

Actually, I didn’t. I didn’t want anyone to know I didn’t really know what leverage meant. So instead, I searched for it – on Google – and here’s what I found out leverage meant.

leverage

The last definition is one that really resonates with me: Use (something) to maximum advantage. That’s one of the kinds of leverage I want and the kind of leverage I need to help my business. I want to use things to their maximum advantage, in everything I do for my business. But it’s not exactly what I thought leverage meant, so I kept searching.

another definition of leverage

Some more good definitions here.

To improve or enhance.

The mechanical advantage of a lever.

Getting better at helping me understand leverage – but still not perfect.

So I kept looking through the results.

I found this definition of leverage over at Business Dictionary:

The ability to influence a system, or an environment, in a way that multiplies the outcome of one’s efforts without a corresponding increase in the consumption of resources. In other words, leverage is the advantageous condition of having a relatively small amount of cost yield a relatively high level of returns.

That’s exactly the type of leverage I want. That’s what I thought leverage might mean, and now I’m sure it means, and it all makes sense now.

Small amount of cost. High level of returns.

Guess what?

SOBCon IS LEVERAGE!

That’s right – LEVERAGE! The last kind. I think the BEST kind. It’s the network of people who can multiply your efforts to influence a system. It’s the smart action plans that rapidly grow businesses. SOBCon is the leverage that will get you results!

And I can’t wait to get some more leverage at this year’s SOBCon.

What about you? Does knowing what leverage os excite you? Scare you? Encourage you? Make you want to invest even MORE into your business, knowing you might get a great result? If you really want to get more leverage, now is the time to register for SOBCon.

What keeps @SheilaS coming back to #SOBCon?

Note from Phil: One of my favorite people to learn from at SOBCon is Sheila Scarborough, a Navy veteran and one smart social media for tourism peep. She’s someone who doesn’t hold back and would let us know if we weren’t holding up our end of the SOBCon bargain. What follows are her reasons why she keeps coming back to SOBCon, and why if you’re waiting to buy your ticket, you should move NOW! SOBCon is NEXT WEEK! SIGN UP! Or keep reading and find out why Sheila says you should be in Chicago next week!

Phil: Who are you – and what is your business focus?

Sheila ScarboroughSheila: I’m Sheila Scarborough, and I guide you to the good stuff. Together with Becky McCray and Leslie McLellan at Tourism Currents, I do training in social media for tourism and hospitality. We help you put your town on the map …. the word-of-mouth map of the social web.

PG: When did you attend your first SOBCon – why did you sign up – and what did you expect to get out of it?

SS: I attended the very first SOBCon in 2007. I came because I trusted Liz Strauss and the community that she’d built during Open Mic Night on her blog.

PG: Did you get what you expected (or more or less or just different) from your first SOBCon?

SS: It was a stripped-down affair – an airport hotel at O’Hare, nothing fancy – but I didn’t care about the venue. I cared about meeting Liz and other people who did what I did….blogging. The cool thing about my first SOBCon is that I roped in another travel enthusiast to attend, Wendy Perrin. She’s the Director of Consumer News & Digital Community at Condé Nast Traveler magazine and at the time, was the only one on her staff who blogged and had a clue about social media. When she attended with me, and said, “These people do what I do! They understand me and don’t think I’m a freak,” that was the BEST feeling. I’d brought her to her tribe. It was a perfect first SOBCon experience.

Here’s the deal:  when you can get in on the ground floor of something great, DO IT. I went to the first SOBCon. I went to the first SoMeT (Social Media for Tourism conference.) They’ve since taken off like rockets, but the first ones were like a pickup basketball game – informal, playful, low-cost, “Hey, let’s see if this’ll work.” Support (with your wallet and your presence) the people who hustle and make a new thing happen. It matters.

PG: How many additional SOBCon events have you been to?

SS: Every one held in Chicago. I adore Chicago! Go on a CAF (Chicago Architecture Foundation) tour while you’re there. The fact that CAF is terrific at social media is merely a bonus.

PG: What keeps you coming back for more SOBCon?

SS: Great speakers who don’t talk for very long, including me when I was honored to speak at the event. :)  Small, self-selected Mastermind groups. My Tourism Currents business partners. The extraordinary S. Anthony Iannarino who clears my head every year, and makes me laugh.

PG: What has been the biggest impact on your business because of SOBCon?

SS: We are all about tourism and social communications. After SOBCon, people think of us first when it comes to that vertical. Yes, we’ve gotten referrals and business from SOBCon.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for the first time?

SS: Review all of the conference attendees ahead of time, and pick 2-3 to meet. Read the SOBCon blog posts so you know what to expect. Bring your “Big Picture” eyeglasses. This event is for big ideas, not chicken-poop tactical stuff.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for a second (or more) time?

SS: Who did you meet before who blew your mind? Carve out gobs of time to talk to them in more depth, but make sure you’re giving them as much help and value as they’re giving you.

PG: Anything else you’d like to share about the event or anything else?

SS: There are very few conferences like this where you can really drill down and think about your business – with expert advice – over a couple of days. Do not miss the opportunity.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the program and get your butt signed up!

What makes @shersteve come back to #SOBCon over and over?

Phil Gerbyshak & Steve SherlockThis episode brings you one of my favorite people, and one of the most interesting SOBCon testimonials yet, Steve Sherlock. Steve isn’t your traditional businessperson attending this conference. He’s got a much more varied background – and will show you the diverse audience we have at SOBCon each year. Enjoy!

Phil Gerbyshak: Who are you – and what is your business focus?

Steve Sherlock: My name is Steve Sherlock. I am frequently seen with a tri-corner hat. I reside in Franklin, MA which is the first town to have been named for Ben Franklin. I first wore the tri-corner at the Welcome/Registration Desk for PodCamp Boston 2 and it has become part of my brand since then. I volunteer on many organizing committees for unconferences in New England; PodCampWesternMass, PodCamp Connecticut, NewBCamp, WhereCamp, and JobSearchJamSessions to name a few of them.

My focus is to use social media for social good. I started as a citizen journalist for Franklin Matters and have evolved to assume the title of “Community Information Director”. In that role, I do full and live reporting from as many Town Council and other Franklin meetings and events as I can to share the information about our budget and the business of Franklin to create an informed voter. I have helped some of the local non-profits set up their websites, blogs, etc. while training some of their folks to carry on their communications. I am currently leading the Board of Directors for the Franklin Food Pantry as we re-brand ourselves to be “a community resource for food and more.”

I am fully employed in an IT Security role and all that I do on the social media front is in the off hours to give back to my community.

PG: When did you attend your first SOBCon – why did you sign up – and what did you expect to get out of it?

SS: Phil, you and I have talked frequently about “taking the blog off the blog.” SOBCon is room full of great folks to meet and learn from. Having missed the first one in 2007, I came to the second SOBCon in 2008 and have been fortunate to make every event since then. To meet in real life, folks who had been participating in online conversations over the years bring everlasting value.

SOBCon 2008 - Joyful Jubilant Learning Reunion

For example; you, Terry, and I had been active in the Joyful Jubilant Learning community, we got to meet Joanna Patterson, who had come all the way from the UK for SOBCon 2008.

PG: Did you get what you expected (or more or less or just different) from your first SOBCon?

SS: Yes, the learning opportunities within the mastermind table setup is worth it. I have made some lasting friendships and connections from actively participating around these tables.

PG: How many additional SOBCon events have you been to?

SS: As mentioned earlier, I have been fortunate to have only missed the first one. As long as I can, I do plan on returning. The business around social media is continuing to evolve. You can come and find enough information and knowledge to go your own way, or if you are fortunate enough to have this as part of your personal learning network (which is what I do), I return each year to learn the latest from the best.

PG: What keeps you coming back for more SOBCon?

SS: You can’t stand pat. You need to be learning all the time or you will fall behind. Life is continuing to evolve and each year when I come here, I have had a slightly different focus. My citizen journalism for Franklin Matters is still going strong. I still am finding non-profits in Franklin who want to learn and put social media to use to help themselves. The Franklin Food Pantry is really putting social media to social good as we go through our re-branding and strategic planning effort. Where else can you in a couple of days learn as much in a meaningful way as at SOBCon?

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for the first time?

SS: Come with a problem statement in mind and use that to help focus your discussions during the mastermind sessions. Having such focus will enable the meaningful discussions and internalization of the ideas and concepts from the speakers into what you need to take away to accomplish what you need to do. You can adjust it slightly while here, or even after you leave. The knowledge may just provide enough insight to realize that you would be more successful doing what you need to in a different way.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for a second (or more) time?

SS: I’d use the same focus as for the first timers, but then look to connect with those you had at your mastermind sessions for at least one of the two days and then switch. There are so many good folks in the room, after you get a lay of the land day one, adjusting your tablemates for day 2 is okay and likely will be beneficial.

PG: Anything else you’d like to share about the event or anything else?

SS: On the one hand, don’t be bashful, yet on the other, don’t be overwhelmed by the star quality of the room. We all come to SOBCon to learn and share with each other. The serendipity of the connections is open for those who are ready to take advantage.

PG: Thanks Steve. You’re a star, and I can’t to see you again VERY soon!

Why does @LeslieMcLellan Love #SOBCon?

Note from Phil: In my never ending quest to find out why people keep coming back to SOBCon, today I’m honored to share Leslie McLellan’s interview with you. From the moment I met Leslie, I knew she would be a perfect fit in the family – and wow – she did NOT disappoint. Heck, she works with Becky McCray and Sheila Scarborough in Tourism Currents – and they are wonderful alums, so she’s a natural to fit in with this conference. Of course, she brings her own brand of awesome to the table, and has her own reasons for attending SOBCon more than once. If you’re on the fence, read on and learn why Leslie McLellan loves SOBCon.

Phil Gerbyshak: Who are you – and what is your business focus?

Leslie McLellanLeslie McLellan: I’m Leslie McLellan and am thrilled you asked me about SOBCon! I have been in rural destination marketing my entire career (which is more than 20 years mind you) and along the way have worked a lot with small businesses too. I was a “traditional” marketer until late 2008 when my marketing budget for the resort town of Lake Arrowhead, CA was slashed to ZERO. That forced me into the world of social media and the destination had wonderful success because of it. One of the first people I met online was Becky McCray and it was from her postings that I learned of Liz Strauss and started following her. One year ago, I joined Becky and Sheila Scarborough (another SOBCon alum) in their business – Tourism Currents. In addition to being part of the Tourism Currents team, I am currently building a multicultural tourism marketing program for the city of San Jacinto, CA.

PG: When did you attend your first SOBCon – why did you sign up – and what
did you expect to get out of it?

LM: My first SOBCon, in real life, was last year in Chicago. However, I had followed tweets from earlier SOBCon’s for a couple of years. Since I joined Tourism Currents a few weeks before last year’s event, Becky and Sheila suggested I attend and we use SOBCon as a planning conference for our business. When they suggested that I was so excited, yet I was also very intimidated. SOBCon is for thought leaders and I wasn’t sure I was worthy to attend. I also thought it might be a bit “over my head” as I’m not a terribly techie person. BUT, I knew I would learn from the best so while nervous, my adrenaline was pumping!!

PG: Did you get what you expected (or more or less or just different) from
your first SOBCon?

LM: SOBCon passed my expectations in every way. It wasn’t over my head at all, I was able to contribute just as much as anyone. The sharing of ideas, the openness, was simply incredible. When you’re at SOBCon, everyone cares about your business just as much as you do and you respond in kind. It’s nothing short of an amazing experience.

PG: How many additional SOBCon events have you been to?

LM: None yet, but I CAN’T WAIT for my second SOBCon this May in Chicago.

PG: What keeps you coming back for more SOBCon?

Two things:

1. The “ideas” that everyone provides for each other. Last year I was surprised by how the smallest, seemingly insignificant comment that someone would make would provide someone else with a huge idea that they could run with. SOBCon is filled with “cream of the crop” thought leaders and for the duration of the conference, that’s what you get and what you give – tons, let me repeat that, tons of wonderful thoughts and ideas that can move your business forward immediately. Everyone there has some expertise/insight to share and the sharing doesn’t quit with the end of the conference. That leads to my second reason for coming back…

2. The people. It’s crazy, I’ve never felt so much a part of any group from the get-go. There were no awkward “feeling out of place” moments. I was part of the group right away. SOBCon attendees have a bond that continues throughout the year. I talk regularly with many of the SOBCon “family” so anyone who is thinking about attending should look at the cost of the conference and truly spread that out over the entire year as the SOBCon community continues to share all year long. SOBCon is not a once and done conference, it lives on 365 days a year.

PG: What has been the biggest impact on your business because of SOBCon?

LM: Since I was new to Tourism Currents, SOBCon allowed us to lay out our goals and plan our business direction. What we accomplished at SOBCon has driven Tourism Currents all year long.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for
the first time?

LM: Be ready to rock and roll! You hit the ground running and your brain doesn’t turn off until you get home. The ideas flow continually, so be prepared to take the most comprehensive notes you’ve ever taken and be ready to implement what you learn as soon as you get home. This is the very best conference you can attend if you want to take your business to the next level. End of story.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for a
second (or more) time?

LM: Since this is going to be my second time I’ll share what I plan on doing and that is stretch beyond my initial SOBCon comfort zone and mix and mingle with people I don’t know as well (which is what we all need to do at anything we attend). But at SOBCon, there are so many interesting people that it’s very hard to break away and continue meeting new people. The group is so high caliber that it’s to each of our benefits to get to know as many attendees as possible.

PG: Anything else you’d like to share about the event or anything else?

LM: I’d like to reiterate what most people say about SOBCon and it’s the absolute truth….This event is “one of a kind.” There’s nothing else like it, nothing else goes as in-depth into your business as SOBCon, and if you’re ready to be successful, really successful, this is the one thing you should attend each and every year.

What are you waiting for?

Tickets to the 10th SOBCon are still available – but just a few. Sign up NOW and get connected to folks like Leslie and more!

Why Does @SWoodruff Keep Coming Back to #SOBCon?

Recently I had the chance to catch up with clarity therapist Steve Woodruff to find out why he keeps coming back to SOBCon. Steve offers some great insights into why you should come to SOBCon Chicago, now just a few short weeks away, and he reminded me I need to mix it up a little more at this SOBCon. 

Phil Gerbyshak: Who are you – and what is your business focus?

Steve Woodruff: My mission is to help individuals and businesses discover their “fit” in the marketplace. I do this through a process I call Clarity Therapy, whereby we dig deep to uncover the client’s professional DNA and purpose, and then craft a go-to-market strategy and message around that. I also seek to make beneficial connections to help clients find optimal customers and resources. I believe in the Collaborative far more than the Corporation.

PG: When did you attend your first SOBCon – why did you sign up – and what did you expect to get out of it?

SW: I attended my first SOBCon in 2010, after Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker double-teamed me and insisted that I come. They must have sensed that there would be a lot of common ground, and they were right. While I expected to make new friends, I was pleasantly surprised at the deep network relationships that arose out of SOBCon, which continue to this day.

PG: Did you get what you expected (or more or less or just different) from your first SOBCon?

SW: I’ve been to many conferences over the years, and what I appreciated immediately about my first hours at SOBCon was the obvious sense of trust and friendliness in the room. The in-depth conversations with people in small groups, and one-on-one, were unmatched by any prior conference experience. The small size of the group helped facilitate richer interactions.

PG: How many additional SOBCon events have you been to?

SW: I’ve been to every Chicago event since, so 2013 will be my fourth. It’s like a homecoming in some ways, but always with some great new people to meet.

PG: What keeps you coming back for more SOBCon?

SW: I love the people that come to SOBCon. As a solopreneur, the people I meet through SOBCon have become some of the most valuable people in my network. Many are now great friends. SOBCon is an annual energy boost and idea-generator.

PG: What has been the biggest impact on your business because of SOBCon?

SW: As I began to launch my Clarity Therapy business, a core of people I met through SOBCon have been a huge encouragement and a great sounding board. They’re a great source of perspective, creative energy, and referrals. My SOBCon colleagues are my built-in QA department for new ideas!

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for the first time?

SW: Open your heart as well as your mind. Egos are checked the door, and you never know what new directions you may take after interacting with a smart bunch of pay-it-forward peers.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for a second (or more) time?

SW: Move to a different table each day. Be sure you “mastermind” with a variety of folks, especially new attendees who are there for the first time.

PG: Anything else you’d like to share about the event or anything else to share?

SW: SOBCon is a great mix of introverts and extroverts. Some conferences can feel very intimidating for those of a “quieter” nature. SOBCon is a wonderful environment for those who value substance over noise.

Steve WoodruffTo learn more about Steve, visit his website at http://stevewoodruff.com or to learn more about his clarity therapy, he came up with this awesome 60 second Clarity Therapy piece that will clear it all up for you.

And what are you waiting for? Sign up for the 10th SOBCon today!

Become a Media Superstar for Your Business

You’ve seen the expert guests on television, in publications and online. And you’re thinking to yourself, How did they get that nice exposure? Well, it wasn’t magic and these folks weren’t “discovered.” Rather, they took specific steps to get the attention of media outlets that could help spread their message to relevant markets.

Jill SalzmanWe’re so lucky to have PR & media superstar Jill Salzman, speaker, author and founder of FoundingMoms.com as guest host for our March 2013 Sobcon chat on Thursday, March, 21. We’ll be discussing these questions about working with the media:

  • What are first steps to developing a PR plan for your business?
  • What’s the best way to approach the media?
  • Tips for working with bloggers?
  • Any “don’ts” when dealing with the media?
  • Should you have a press kit? If yes, what should it include?

More About Jill

Jill Salzman is currently growing her third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs.  A graduate of Brown University and law school, she started a music management firm and then launched a baby jewelry company before creating her current venture. Jill has been featured in national media outlets including People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily Candy Kids, NBC5 and WGN TV.  

She is the author of Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, a columnist for NBC Chicago, has been published in The New York Times and gave her very own TED talk on 11/11/11. In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls.

Join us Thursday, March 21, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central Time for our Sobcon Twitter chat and get started on claiming your fame!

Wondering about the Return on #SOBCon (ROS)?

When many people think of attending a conference, they wonder what their return on investment will be for the time, energy and money they need to invest it takes to attend a conference and be fully present. While certainly we could list many reasons why you’ll get your money back and more, multiple time past attendee Steve Woodruff shares his thoughts about the Return on SOBCon in a much more interesting way than we could.

If you’re a high quality, collaborative, smart, pay-it-forward type of person, I’d encourage you to take a look at Steve’s post Return on SOBCon - and so would he. If you’re not one of those people, but you’d like to be, we’ll still welcome you to SOBCon. :)

Want to know who these people are? Check out this year’s SOBCon lineup.

Why Does @HackmanJ Keep Coming Back to #SOBCon

Hackman_Joe_fixedRecently I had the opportunity to spend some time with Joe Hackman, to find out why he keeps coming back to SOBCon. Is it for his business – or for his personal life – or both?

Phil Gerbyshak: Let’s start with an easy one, so folks who don’t know can get to know you more. Who are you – and what is your business focus?

Joe Hackman: I’m Joe Hackman the youngest of six siblings, 3 boys and 3 girls. My most important work has been as the father of my now 7 year old son. In 1991 I dropped out of College to start a job that was not fulfilling and 5 years later quit that job to start one I love. In 1997 my company Managed Solutions began providing IT services to small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m now located in the East Bay Area in a Town called Danville. In the Bay Area it is easy to enjoy outdoor activities year around including hiking and mountain biking. As an Air Force brat born in Hawaii it would be very easy to go back to live there, tomorrow. You might catch me advocating personally online for Trust in Education, Asante Africa Foundation, Rotary, Pancreatic Cancer and other causes. For me the Pancreatic Cancer advocacy is very personal, having lost a parent to the disease in 2000. I am immensely grateful to people who work to inspire and help others.

PG: When did you attend your first SOBCon – why did you sign up – and what did you expect to get out of it? 

JH: My first SOBCON was Chicago 2011 and I have been to Portland and Chicago every year since. The background story was yet another “Liz Strauss story” nearly everyone at SOBCon has one.

PG: Did you get what you expected (or more or less or just different) from your first SOBCon?

JH: With no expectations and walked away inspired with many great new friends. Many of the things you experience at SOBCon will shape the way you look at your business as well as your personal life.

PG: How many additional SOBCon events have you been to?

JH: In addition to the first Chicago event in 2011 I went to one more in Chicago and 2 in Portland, 4 total.

PG: What keeps you coming back for more SOBCon?

JH: The opportunity to interact with brilliant, cool people that I know and make new friends that I haven’t met yet. I always feel like the time and money I invest in attending comes back to me many times in the form of ideas, opportunities and connections to a special group of people.

PG: What has been the biggest impact on your business because of SOBCon?

JH: There are actually two areas. One is the incredible network of people to connect with and the other is the valuable mental tools you gained to see business in a different light. Having always taken my business very personally, I now appreciate my customers more than ever. The quality of people I am working with today is simply incredible. SOBCon tends to instill a sense of being open to opportunity, you realize it is everywhere and it’s just a matter of being ready and willing to embrace it.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for the first time?

JH: Go! Be present, be open minded, participate and be amazed.

PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for a second (or more) time?

JH: Be prepared for new experiences; be sure to mix with old and new friends alike. Just realize that however great the people are that you know are, there are many more just like them you have yet to meet. Increase your chances of making those great connections by rotating tables and attending random events, Karaoke anyone?

PG: Anything else you’d like to share about the event or anything else?
JH: Just a few things:

  1. Phil Gerbyshak is the king of hugs.
  2. Elizabeth Marshall and Judy Martin are awesome at Karaoke.
  3. Becky McCray is the first person I met at SOBcon.
  4. Les McKeown thinks I am handsome.
  5. I love Marc A. Pittman’s Bow-Tie thing.
  6. AJ and Melissa Leon are role models for living.
  7. Amber Cleveland will always have your back.
  8. Dennis Charles and Susan Giurleo are great Masterminds.
  9. Sean McGinnis is a jack of all trades and master of some.
  10. Tim Sanders can transform your way of thinking in 15 minutes.
  11. Connie Cermak and Connie Burke are great to hang out with.
  12. Jeannie Walters has some amazing friends.

One could go on all day with random gems of a SOBCon experience… this is what I referred to regarding the quality of connections. Like many things, you have to experience it to fully understand.

Thank you Joe! Passionate awesome stuff!

So – Are you on the fence about attending SOBCon 2013? Hopefully Joe’s story offers you some insights into how you could benefit by attending this event. I hope to see you there – and I’ll definitely give you a hug – if you’re into that sort of thing. :)

So what are you waiting for? Go get your ticket to SOBCon, so you can have SOBCon memories too!!

What Keeps @BeckyMcCray coming back to #SOBCon?

Over the coming weeks, we’re featuring some of our alumni talking about why they keep coming back to SOBCon. These are people that have been to SOBCon multiple times, and they continue to invest their resources in your community. This week we feature small business expert and co-author of Small Town Rules Becky McCray sharing why she keeps coming back to SOBCon.

I’m skeptical of most conferences, because too many are all talk. Presenters get up and lecture, while we all listen patiently. I seldom feel like I learned anything I couldn’t have learned from just reading an article or book from the speaker.

SOBCon is different. There are presentations, but they come with variety. Some are single presenters taking us through a theme, some are panels or Q&A. But every time, we come back to small groups around the table.

The magic is in those small groups. It’s usually 6 people, all working together on the theme or model that we just heard about. I get to pick how much and how intensively I share about my own business. The more I share, the better ideas I get from my table team. Everyone in the room is there because they have committed to work.

In the two and a half days, I always gain new insights on my own business, and I always feel like I’ve done good in helping others.

Joe Sorge and I talked about SOBCon in this interview, starting at: 18:09:
http://tpn.thepulsenetwork.com/Business/kitchen-table-talks/ktc-of-the-week-becky-mccray/

Thank you Becky.

For small business insights from Becky McCray, visit Small Biz Survival or check out her book Small Town Rules, co-authored with fellow SOBCon alum Barry Moltz.