Memorial Day Weekend coming at ya!!! So happy, I need a break.
So the craziest week ever has come to an end. Not only was our primary federal funding grant proposal due (I guess that is only important if we want to get paid) we also had a few folks over for a little event I like to call the Ohio Growth Summit. Yeah 200 of my best friends (small business owners) came over to do some business. It was quite a day. I'll be doing a recap over at the OGS site next week once I'm fully awake (not much sleep this week) but I wanted to share a couple of personal insights here with my loyal reader (wait am I up to three now?).
First of all it was totally incredible. When I started the Ohio Growth Summit in 2005 I think this is what I envisioned. A totally engaged audience learning, growing and committing to growing their businesses. The speakers, the content, the networking and the food were all incredible (we all know the food is really the key). This was the biggest event since 2009 when Chris Brogan keynoted. I think the difference is that in 2009 people were interested because Chris was there, which a great reason. This year, however, I think the appeal was because it was the Ohio Growth Summit, the brand had taken center stage. Having said that the brand is only as good as the value that it delivers and we had the most incredible speakers this year. Nate Riggs, Mike Whaling, Keith Speers, Rick Coplin and David Rivers really created super breakout content and brought in true rockstars to be part of OGS. They deserve so much credit for our success.
Then there were the keynote presenters. Keynotes for OGS are typically people that we pay to bring in to the event. I look for a combination of valuable content, quality presentation skills and someone that speaking at OGS is about more than picking up a check. It's pretty easy to get the first two parts but it takes a little more to find the third. Overall we have been pretty successful in getting the right people. The best ones are the ones that come to the event and are part of the overall experience. I'm happy to say this year we nailed it with Paul Evans and Gini Dietrich. They both were so accommodating and easy to work with and were all about making the experience remarkable for the attendees.
I've know Paul for awhile and he came highly recommended by Carrie Wilkerson, whose opinion I value greatly, so he was a no brainer. Paul did not disappoint. He had the attendees hanging on his every word and really set the stage for the attendees to be ready to learn and grow. Paul told me if we needed anything beyond the presentation just to let me know. I think he would have worked the registration table handing out name tags if I would have asked him.
Gini was the reason that there was an OGS12. This is a difficult event to coordinate for our team. It takes a lot of time and effort and it is only part of what we do. I knew I wanted Gini in Columbus this year. I knew her from our social media connections but she needed to to be here live and in person. To say I was excited to have her here is an understatement. I tracked/stalked/probably better make it tracked, her flight progress online to make sure I knew when she was in Columbus. I tweeted when she was in town, in the building, on stage, everything. I even parked her car. Let me tell you she was so worth it. Gini was remarkable as I anticipated. Not just as a speaker but as a truly great person. Today I got what may be the greatest honor ever, being Gini's Follow Friday recommendation on the Spin Sucks site. Check it out. She says a lot of nice things about me, I guess I fooled her. Seriously it means a lot to me and I will never forget it.
Finally I must acknowledge the team that worked behind the scenes to make OGS12 happen. The entire SBDC team was critical to making things happen. Two people in particular Ariana Ulloa-Olavarrieta and Tonya Wilson. Tonya has been the go-to person for me for the past five years both on the Summit and other SDBC programmatic needs. She has stepped up time and time again to make the Summit a success and this year was probably more above and beyond than usual. She put up with my crazy ideas and deadlines. I don't know how I could do half the stuff I come up with without Tonya.
This is Ariana's first Summit as a member of our team. She stepped up and it was like she had been involved for years. Actually there was a time in the early morning where Tonya was doing some last minute computer work and was not on-site so I started calling Ariana Tonya when I needed something (What do you want I was running on NO sleep). She always had a smile on her face and even when I was stressing she was calm. They both did great and without them we could not have held this year's event.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge the contribution of Amy Schmittaur. Amy was the OGS social media presence. She not only got the OGS brand out in front of everyone she was there to recommend strategy, help with the technology and slap me in the face and tell me that I needed to do more like make videos to promote the Summit. That is way out of my comfort zone but it helped. People saw them. I can't tell you how many times I apologized for how bad I was to people who told me they saw my videos and liked them (they were probably just being kind about liking them).
The Ohio Growth Summit is a lot of work so are we going to do it again? Yeah I guess you all talked me into it. OGS13 will be here before you know it.
Now on to this weekend's business long run. Remember these are articles that I have come across this week that would be good to look at to improve your business. Summit over and my grant is submitted. Time to get my run groove back this weekend. Not sure how many miles I'll get but I promise I enjoy every one of them and be reading these posts when I'm done:
Aweber vs Mailchimp Title Bout at andynathan.net ~ Which one will be best to help you get your list on?
Communicating Via New Technology: The Twitter or The Egg at Thought Leaders ~ What comes first the Tweet or the reason to Tweet?
2 Most Unfortunate Reasons Your Blog Doesn't Get Link Love at 12Most.com ~ You need to get links to get noticed but you need to be noticed before you get links...Solution?
What to do About that Chip on Your Shoulder? at Both Sides of the Table ~ Edgy “change the world and eff the establishment” chip is different than “all you haters suck and why won’t anyone back me wah wah wah” chip.
Be sure to get out and put in your mileage this weekend so you are ready for your business marathon.