Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 #SMTulsa conference summary via Storify

Cheryl Lawson did this terrific story summary of my SMTulsa talks using a tool called Storify. I thought I'd share it here with you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What makes us get involved?

Catholic church
Michael Jones left this as a comment on my article Small Town Survival of the Fittest at Small Biz Survival a few months ago. I just ran across it again today, and I think it's worth giving some thought.

"I like your emphasis of getting personally involved. Your post is timely for me. The leader of a small catholic college in our small town (7000 population) gave the invocation at Rotary today . . .he asked God to make us grateful . . .and then explained that being grateful moves us to action and giving back to our community. A good thought to contemplate. Thanks for your post."

Being grateful moves us to action. 

So if we help each other be more grateful, are we helping our communities? 

Worth thinking over. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

That's not real

Out my airplane window
How damaging is the phrase, "that's not real [whateverthetopic]." Like, "that's not a real small town" or "that's not real work."

I was having a conversation about small towns. The other person said, "Retail isn't real economic development."

The more I think about that, the more it worries me. Who decides what's real? I'm thinking absolute statements of what qualifies as "real" crowd out the search for relative solutions.

I know I can only do one thing for small towns. I can help make more prosperous entrepreneurs, and then they can help the town with more resources to decide for themselves what's real.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Alva's Co-working Fridays

Co-working is open to anyone, especially if you work from home, run your business from your laptop, or spend too much time on social media.This is your chance to get some time with others, share ideas, or just get some work done.

When? Every Friday, at 1pm - 5pm (CST)
Where? NWOSU Campus: Room 120, Shockley Hall, 1038 8th Street, Alva, Oklahoma

Bring your laptop, tablet or smart phone. Desks and wifi provided, along with some basic office-y stuff like a copier available down the hall.

Organized by Becky McCray.
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, including Laura Girty and Jeanne Cole.
Supported by Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Need more info? Here's how you can get it:
  • Tweet to @beckymccray
  • Call Laura Girty or Jeanne Cole (580) 327-8608
  • Leave your question in the comments right here

View Alva Co-working in a larger map

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Building in time to process

SOBcon table
At SOBCon, we work together to build our businesses. Photo by Elja Daae
Just back from one of my favorite annual events (SOBCon), and I'm trying to make sure I don't just stuff my notes in a folder and forget about them. I'm planning some time today to think and process.
  • I held a phone call with a friend who happened to be attending a major conference of his own. We shared our takeaways and thoughts as he was driving home and I was waiting to head to the airport. 
  • I did some processing and thinking on the plane. I copied notes into the paper handbook from the conference. I copied ideas and actions into my personal notebook. Why copy over by hand? Because that act of re-writing gave me a chance to re-think and refine. 
  • Today I'll take those goals and action ideas and turn them into specific things to do and put them into my system. I'll add some things to items to do this week, and others on the waiting list. 

One new attendee said she knew she had a three hour drive home, and she couldn't do much work there. Then once she's home, it's right back into all the regular things that need done.

One person who has attended several times said he usually takes five or six weeks before he digests the lessons from the event. He doesn't set aside special time for it.

My friend that I called said he had set aside special time on the morning after the conference and before his drive home to do his review. BUT the night before, he sat down and made goals and a plan for what he would be thinking about. If he hadn't, he said, he knew he'd waste that time on unfocused activity.

When I mentioned this need to Kyle Golding, he said if you built time to review and process into an event, people would just use the "extra" time to review and check their phones, social media, text, basically wasting it.

Meeting organizer Liz Strauss said people would skip review time and do their own thing. They would see it as "non-content time" and therefore less valuable.

I'm thinking there is some way to make this work.
  • Build a 1.5 hour time slot into the very end of your event. 
  • Label it as something people will value. (The most effective label would depend on the group.)
  • Have a facilitator lead a short (15 minute?) session to help people set their goals for the review. 
  • Let people self-organize into small groups or work on their own. 
  • Turn off the conference wifi. (That's just mean, but you know it reduces temptation. And if people really need online, most can use their phones. Or make a separate zone or room with wifi available.) 

I'd love to hear about any events that plan for time to plan your "re-entry."