Wednesday, April 29, 2009


How PR is like running a small business

I had the opportunity to sit down and meet with some local small business owners here in St. Paul the other day, and afterward, it came to me - if you are a PR pro, you are also a small business. Let me explain.

In today's economic climate, owning and operating a small business is tough. Consumer spending is down, retail numbers are horrible and even though consumer confidence increased in April (I completely disagree) business is still tough. There were a few businesses I spoke with that had sales that were similar year-over-year or even slightly up; but overall, most businesses were experiencing a decrease. As PR pros, we are facing decreasing budgets and the elimination of positions.

Businesses are having sales, creating promotional events and even attempting to re-brand, all in an effort of differentiating themselves from the competition. As PR pros, we need to take this time to re-do our image as well. Whether it's getting accredited, attending seminars and conferences or educating ourselves on other faucets of PR and marketing. Why? All in an effort to differentiate ourselves from the competition.

I see a lot of businesses starting to implement new aspects into their current business. One example, the popcorn and ice cream shop by my office has started to sell other candy, tins, root beer floats. They didn't have these items a year ago, but the economy is forcing them to do anything they can to increase sales. It's paid off as the business is already 20% ahead of where they were last year. As a PR pro, you better be dipping into social media, you better be learning SEO, you better be learning a new trade. Why? To increase sales, or in our world, your marketability.

What it boils down to is, like a small business, you need to be continually seeking to improve your craft and give consumers, businesses, etc. a reason to shop at your store. What are you doing to drive sales to your business? Are you adding additional good and services to your current inventory?


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