26th June, 2015 No Comments
In a previous life, I ran workshops for charities and NFP’s who were looking to maximise their PR efforts often with little or no budgets. These workshops were always interesting and I came away thinking most of the time, these businesses didn’t need any formal training in PR, they just had to understand what makes a good story and who to tell it to. So here are my top tips for any small business that doesn’t employ a PR professional.
1 Do your homework
What sort of story are you selling – news report, feature, human interest? Is it for local/regional or nation press? What is the hook – why would anyone publish this story?
2 Know the audience
What audience does the publication or website reach? Knowing the audience will influence the details you provide.
3 Develop key messages
It’s critical to develop up to three core messages you want to communicate about your company and this should include how you are different or better than your competitors. If you don’t have a company ‘boilerplate’ or mission statement it might be time to develop one.
4 Skip the jargon
It’s easy to fall into the habit of using industry jargon and acronyms. Make a point to avoid these whenever possible. If you do need to use a term that the average person might not understand, make sure you explain it.
5 There is no such thing as ‘Off record’
No matter what a reporter says, you are never off the record. Anything you email or say could end up printed. Just be aware.
6 Be mindful of what you say
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly, only that every conversation is a professional encounter, not a social one.
7 Respect deadlines
Reporters work to lots of deadlines and you can earn their respect and build a relationship by adhering to them. Also, make sure you return all phone calls and e-mails promptly if you want to become a regular ‘go to’ spokesperson for your industry or sector.
8 Don’t ask to see the story
Reporters want to protect their independence. Showing a story to a source before it runs violates this, so don’t ask! However, you should offer to provide any additional information the reporter may need and offer to check key facts before publication.
Any lessons you can take away from the story will help you next time! Ask others who saw/read/heard you for feedback. This is especially true if it doesn’t get published – ask why not so you can understand for next time.
10 Keep Going
It takes time to build a relationship, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have much success at first. Be determined and develop a thick skin – you may get a long of rejection before you see anything in print!
These guidelines were written with publishers and broadcast media in mind, but many of the same principals apply to digital and social media. You are the best ‘voice’ of your business. Inject your passion for your company into your PR and you will reap the rewards!
Submitted by Enterprise First
3rd June, 2015 No Comments
The making of a business begins with getting the recipe for success right and in the correct measure. In the set-up stages of making an omelette you need to plan the meal, ensure you have all the ingredients, the quantities required and know the order in which they should be mixed and cooked. Starting a business works in the same way which also requires a similar plan of action and in many cases supported with advice from someone more experienced who can help to avoid the newbie pitfalls.
1 The recipe
The first thing to consider is the formula for your particular business omelette and if it has been done before. If it has, the information gained can be invaluable to help refine your recipe and speed up your version.
If your omelette is unique or sprinkled with your particular style of creativity then you will greatly benefit from testing the market and seek consumer opinion of your product or service recipe, solicit opinion, gauge reactions and even offer samples for consumption in order to get the most reliable results before using your expensive ingredients and valuable time in the exercise.
With the evidence and confidence of market demand you will be ready to document the perfect recipe and execute the grand master plan.
2 Good dose of operational management
Off course to make a great omelette you need the necessary tools and resources in order to produce the business delights we now know people want. This will include having good suppliers that offer ingredients that are affordable, that you have the necessary people, skills, equipment and premises to achieve the scale and quality of craft or service you are aiming to deliver.
3 Liberal shot of sales & marketing
Now that you have produced your lovely new omelette you will need to spread the word as liberally as possible and make sure the people who will potentially buy your omelette become aware of how wonderful it is and that it is worth every penny. The variety of promotional tools and methods at your disposal are vast e.g. social media, internet, leaflets, advertising, word of mouth, recommendations etc. This is a good time to look at similar successful businesses or people again and see how they have done it successfully. Also to critically review your own skill levels, the need for further training and tap into available advice & professional support.
4 Level cup of budget control
It is great that you are now selling lots of omelettes at the standard your customers expect and is accessible when they become peckish. Hopefully the potentially award winning recipe is costing you a lot less to produce than it is selling for. If not, something is going wrong.
To head off any problems and loss of control of your finances it is a good idea to have a clear and organised system for keeping track of your expenses and accurate records of income stream to avoid cash flow problems. This should help you to stay in profit, legally compliant and most importantly in control of your budget.
5 How to start your business?
Starting your business omelette doesn’t always come with a recipe for success and this article opens the way to understanding the benefits of planning yours. You can also access further support for more in-depth information; training and most importantly 1-2-1 consultations with a business adviser who will help you to get the mix right when starting your own business.
Written by Fardad Amirsaeedi, NBV Enterprise Solutions