Small Business Development Center (SBDC) team: Mike Bowers, Tonya Wilson, Jeff Shick, David Rivers, Nancy Stoll, Omar Diop, Randy Morgan and Kevin Hammond. Based at Columbus State Community College, the team has years of entrepreneurial, investment, marketing, banking, manufacturing, sales, international and consulting experience. Few teams are better connected and positioned to assist entrepreneurs as they seek to start, grow and prosper their businesses. The OGS is in its seventh iteration, each year building upon and improving upon past conferences.
Nate Riggs started the conference with a clear picture that businesses foundations are shifting, offering advantages to forward thinking entrepreneurs. Nate’s call to action included creating values driven branding, consciously building, leading and empowering teams for success and fostering consistent engagement. Geben Communications’ Heather Whaling prodded business owners to communicate strategically, anticipating media influence and leveraging information and relationships to your advantage.
Tom Williams, founder of Innogage led a “digital natives” panel discussion on understanding the generation joining our workforce and how they are capable of effecting significant positive change. Charlie Wollborg focused on innovation and brand positioning urging us to be introspective and compete against ourselves – constantly seeking to improve. He also made it clear that success results from action, not complacency. Kyle Stuef clarified that choices between “old media” or “new media” are irrelevant absent an understanding of your brand’s promise and your customers’ expectations and experiences.
Jay Baer and Amber Naslund’s book The NOW Revolution. Being social encapsulates intentional relevance, attracting interest rather than forcing it, personalizing experiences, and empowered interaction consistent with core principals.
And that was just the first day. OGS Day 2 was even more packed with relevant, actionable information and unparalleled learning opportunities, including the significance of content, social media measurement and tools, use of improvisation in social marketing, crisis management and response in the Now Economy. Day 2 culminated with a fascinating panel discussion lead by Erika Pryor on the experiences and lessons involved in Team Cbus’ SXSW11 trip. The discussion was punctuated by humorous rapid fire tweeting, "multitasking", audience engagement and clear messages of involvement and relevance.
We’re all experiencing a fundamental shift in business, where every employee is now a potential point of customer first contact and support via social networks. Our customers are communicating continuously with us and each other, and what they are staying has staying power. The necessity of crafting strategy and empowering employees to capitalize on these new realities was brought home throughout the conference. I already have plans to participate in next year’s OGS12, and you should too.
Connect with our Ohio Growth Summit community and definitely plan to be there in June 2012.