There is something amazingly exhilarating about sitting in a coffee shop overlooking picturesque Lake Michigan knowing that the entire world is just waiting at my fingertips to be explored.

As I’m reveling in that wonder and the potential of the unexplored I run smack into reality by breaking my blog. IE7 seems to have a little trouble with the Ajax side bar widget manipulation in WordPress for some reason. And that caused some of my widgets not to display.

Ah, well. I’ve been meaning to put FireFox on Gorgeous’ laptop for a while now. Since I didn’t put a wireless card in mine in the craziness before the conference, I’m using hers while she preps for the mother of all rummage sales later in the week.

My SOBCon Lessons

I sat down to write up a couple of the biggest takeaways for me from SOBCon this year. If we don’t make the effort to evaluate where we’ve been and what you’ve learned in an effort to improve, then we end up spinning our wheels and never move forward.

There were two things that really hit home for me this past weekend.

Lesson 1:

Keep your customers first and your chances of success go way up

Throughout the planning of the event our team was constantly asking, “how will this work for the attendees?”

Everything we did was filtered through a customer experiential lens. And that paid off in a big way.

All of the informal feedback we’ve gotten so far seems to indicate that the event was a smashing success. Sure we’ve gotten some constructive criticism about how we can make the next SOBCon even better.

But the one thing that was completely lacking was negative feedback. And we asked folks if they had any.

By keeping the customer first in our minds and our planning we created an experience that our customers seem to have loved.

That’s a lesson that we can all bring back into our businesses to improve them. Ask yourself the same types of questions.

What processes does your business have that affect your customer experience? How can you improve your customer’s experience so that they leave and say wonderful things about your business to all their friends? And hopefully allow you to see the grand prize by become repeat customers!

Make your customers an even higher priority and you will grow your business.

Branding is Important

I heard Christine Kane kiddingly say something to the effect of, “If I hear the word ‘brand’ one more time I might just have to scream.”

There was a lot of talk all day long about branding at the conference. From David Armano, Andy Sernovitz, the Iowa gang of Mike Sansone, Drew McLellan, and Mike Wagner, and even Liz Strauss.

And I could understand Christine’s “frustration” with the focus.

But the whole thing really hit home for me during the blog critique discussion of Dawud Miracle‘s blog. (You know. That’s the session where the presentation laptop crashed…)

It seems one of the biggest branding challenges Dawud faces is in choosing a direction, an area of focus, for his branding.

I’m sorta in the same boat. There is a ton of stuff I can do, and do quite well.

But what am I going to do?

And what changes should I make to my blog to enhance that effort?

Those are big questions.

Because the bottom line is we all have a brand of our own at some level. Even if we don’t try to work at it. We are all perceived by folks out there some way. Is that perception what we want? Does it even come close to aligning with reality?

Focusing on branding ourselves, our blogs, and our businesses intentionally can help improve the bottom line of our businesses. And that is what business blogging is all about.

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