SOBCon08 Notes Lorelle VanFossen | Defining Your Business

Lorelle Van Fossen of Lorelle on WordPress talked about defining your business.

Purpose: to define and clarify your business in ten words or less

About the SOBCon08 notes series . . .

On May 2-4, Liz Strauss hosted SOBCon08: Biz School for Bloggers in Chicago. During the sessions, I typed notes to share with you. To presenters and attendees: please feel free to clarify and comment. I will share notes from each session along with how I’m using the knowledge to improve my reader/customer experience.

Notes from Lorelle's presentation . . .

Be responsible for everything your reader sees: every word, every link, every ad, every feedlink. Check your feeds to see if it works. You need to stand behind it.

When you leave a comment, put your name in the comment box.

Don't moderate comments. Comments are content. Do you want that on your site? Comment space can get quite negative - one person thinks of it as a garden and regularly weeds out inappropriate or negative comments.

Be very clear about what you're doing this for and who you're doing it for. Your business has to mean something to some/everyone else, not just you. Don't use jargon.

List all the words that describe your blog business. You want to get a good mix of friendly and understandable words.

Who's going to love what you do? What are your demographics? What do they do? Where do they work? What kinds of jobs do they have? Why do you want to do this? If it's about money, then be honest. Be up front: caring, sharing, changing the world - make that clear. Create a summary, then break down into your key elements.

Limit your purpose to ten words or less.

While we were working, Lorelle told us about Woopra, a service that tracks real-time web stats. One of the greatest features is the ability to talk to people on your blog. Woopra will change the way the web is. This is the first thing she's excited about. Lorelle's cards have a Woopra invitation code on the back.

My ten word statement: connecting people with relationships and promotions that differentiate them and generate leads.

Lorelle introduced me to the group and asked me to give my statement. On reflection, this is more about me than the person on the other side of the screen. The group says it's too long, the words are too big and there's too much jargon. [note: several people really like it.]

The idea is to walk up to someone and say "I blog about WordPress and blogging." Lorelle's statement: "I help people with WordPress and blogging."

Tell me what you do, don't write an ad, she says. Statements the group likes:

Help people who want to become debt-free and financially independent.

Capturing your organization's heart and soul through personal stories on screen. Tom Clifford, Corporate Filmmaker

I help people untangle disagreements so they love going to work. - everyone loves this one from Tammy Lenski, Conflict Zen

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Implementation and Reflection: The Trouble with Being a Creative Chameleon

I'm not the only once who grappled with the challenge of condensing my customer experience into ten words or less. Today, Kristen King writes about how her struggle with Lorelle's assignment led her to voicing her true purpose. At SOBCon, Kristin and I talked about how it's difficult to tell people what we do, but I don't think we covered the why.

For me, it's the constant reinvention of purpose - driven by projects - that consumes way too much time, energy and probably talent.

My first tag line, "Creating Business for Business" came from an expo I organized. The purpose: introduce independent creative talent with prospective clients. The committee threw out the tag, but a friend who's also a top-notch PR pro suggested I keep it. So I did, for eight years. Then, I came up with "Marketing Transformations." It's still on my card and yes, there is a process and logic behind the two words, but it takes too long to explain it. My twitter bio says: communications pioneer forging new frontiers. Is that descriptive enough? No, too much about me.

Helping companies tell stories that people relate to. - my second shot at the ten word assignment - will this work?

Part of the problem, maybe the whole problem, is that creative types like Kristin and me really do do lots of different things. My project portfolio covers an eclectic assortment of items: ads, annual reports, ezines, press releases, radio scripts, websites, blogs, presentations, teleseminars, virtual events, motivational speeches, sales training, branding evaluations, internal communications, event plans, photography, videotaping, a coloring book, copy writing, etc., etc, etc.

So, who I am and what people get from interacting with me depends on what I'm working on at the moment- or does it? Is there a common thread or at least a sub-theme in all of this creative churning? What do people get out of what I do?

Today I went to a social networking breakfast and wrote one word as my personal tag line: storyteller. That's it, that's the core essence of what I do. Every project starts and ends with a story. What do you think? Do I need more words? What's your ten word purpose?

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