Just as I have learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from my mother, I hope to glean my mother’s depth of wisdom regarding the business she founded and began building more than 31 years ago.
“Springfield Business Journal is in the relationship business,” she always says. “It’s all about the people.”
My mother, Dianne Elizabeth Osis, has run her business with that same overarching truth since Day 1. She’s not happy with the cover of SBJ unless there is a prominent photo of a face, not a building or a business. Better yet, if the reader can make direct eye contact with the subject, a connection is formed with the person and then with the story.
Further, my mother is a firm believer that every reporter will succeed to the extent that they learn to behave as somewhat of an ambassador of regional business news. Good reporters will earn the trust and respect of their sources by first treating them with respect, no matter who they are or what story they have to tell. They will make every effort to contact all concerned parties, to tell the whole story, to verify the truth of statements they’ve collected and to report with precision and accuracy. The most meaningful compliments often come on the heels of a controversial story when the sources express their appreciation for being treated fairly despite their preference to have flown under the radar altogether.
Likewise, our advertising account executives at Springfield Business Journal and Joplin Tri-State Business Journal will be successful to the extent that they can facilitate the planning and implementation of a meaningful media campaign with our advertisers and sponsors. This requires that they be good listeners and help to assess the unique needs of each business they seek to serve. A representative who hits the streets attempting to sell à la carte items from our varied list of product offerings won’t best serve the client or the publication. They must develop long-term relationships.
About 12 years ago, Springfield Business Journal decided to test the waters by delving into business events. It was our hope to create another touch point between SBJ staff members and our readers and advertisers. We anticipated that events would provide the opportunity to form more personal relationships with the people who are the news. This was certainly not our sole motive. We take every opportunity to be a conduit through which businesses connect with other businesses and through which businesspeople connect with each other. It also was our desire to bring recognition to the people and businesses that are positively impacting our region, economy and community.
I believe all of the above objectives have come to fruition through the cadre of Springfield Business Journal events – the latest of which is the sold-out inaugural Men of the Year scheduled for Sept. 16. People connect with people through these networking opportunities. Reporters are afforded those valuable opportunities to be up close and personal with honorees, guests and the very people who feed us news tips. Advertisers and sponsors have occasion to supplement what they do in print with personal contact. An unanticipated point of connection, however, was that event honorees would seek a connection with each other. When we became aware that Facebook and LinkedIn groups of SBJ’s 40 Under 40 and Most Influential Women honorees were popping up, we decided to take a more active role in facilitating these connections. I was particularly struck by the sense of community among the JTBJ 2011 Class of Most Influential Women, all of whom have directed their attention and efforts to recovery from the May 22 tornado. During the Aug. 26 event in downtown Joplin honoring their accomplishments, the women seemed eager to share their experiences and coordinate their efforts.
My mother is right. We are in the relationship business at SBJ Publishing Inc. It has just become more clear to me now than ever before that we are all in the relationship business. It’s always been about the people.Jennifer Jackson is publisher of SBJ Publishing Inc., the parent company of Springfield Business Journal and Joplin Tri-State Business Journal. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.