|Small Business Information|
Public Relations: Antidote for Small Business Failure
When small businesses fail, the wreckage is often assigned to undercapitalization, among other mistakes. Seldom is failure attributed to a lack of effective communications that might have modified the behavior of sales prospects in a positive way, thus averting bankruptcy.
In my view, raising money for new businesses is a skill best left to others, but smart, aggressive communications is not. As the entrepreneur, you cannot rely on your financing source to create the broad public exposure your business needs if it is to survive. Ideally from Day 1, you must take the lead in this vital effort accepting the fact that good results come only after careful planning and implementation of a realistic and workable public relations strategy.
Before you achieve real growth and prosperity, your target audiences must not only become aware that your company exists, they must be motivated to take action. Doing something about how your business is perceived means a well-planned public relations program that can reach, persuade and move those prospects to action.
At the root of it all, is a simple truism we all know but tend to forget: people act on their perception of the facts. If the small business owner is to have an effect on those perceptions, he/she must deal with them promptly and effectively.
So the question for you, Ms. or Mr. Small Business Wannabe, is, have you thought about some of the unattended perceptions out there that could nudge your fledgling business closer to bankruptcy than success? Perceptions that, if left unattended, may well result in actions that run counter to those you and your banker may desire?
* If sales prospects are unaware of your product or service, you will not get them as customers.
* And if those customers don't remain convinced of the value of your product or service, you lose them.
* If employees believe you don't care about them, productivity suffers.
* If a minority person believes you discriminate when you don't, a host of unnecessary problems may ensue.
* If community residents don't perceive your business as a good place to work, you have employee hiring and retention problems.
* If insurance carriers perceive you as a bad risk, they don't provide the business coverage you need.
* If journalists are suspicious of your motives and you don't convince them otherwise, you get "bad press."
* If business people believe what some competitors say about you, that joint venture you want so badly may not come about.
* And, as you grow bigger, if government regulators believe your products are not completely safe, sales will almost certainly be negatively affected.
Obviously, small businesses have limited resources. Still, there are certain cost-effective activities you can undertake to reach your target audiences. And considering the survival nature of this topic, while some expense is involved, you may wish to research nearby public relations professionals willing to partner with you during the early days of your enterprise.
Together, you may move in this direction:
First, rank your external audiences as to importance. For example, #1 customers; #2 prospects; #3 employees; #4 local and trade media; #5 your local business community; #6 community leaders, and so forth.
Second, as time permits, interact with members of each audience and jot down their impressions of your business, especially problem areas. This will help you set your public relations goal.
Third, prepare tailored messages that not only provide details about your product and service quality and diversity, but address problems that surfaced during your conversations.
Fourth, consider the most effective means for communicating each message to each audience. This may include everything from simple meetings, briefings and news releases, to media interviews, facility tours and special promotional events.
How will you know that your efforts are changing perceptions for the better? Over time, you should notice increased awareness of your business, a growing public perception of the role your business plays in the community; and, of course, growing numbers of prospects.
Such results are tracked by speaking on a regular basis with people among each of your key audiences, by monitoring print and broadcast media and by interaction with key customers and prospects.
Remember what is at stake - nothing less than the survival of your business!
So, keep an eye on what's most important, and remember that people in your community or marketing area behave like everyone else - they take actions based on their perception of the facts they hear about you and your business.
And that means you must deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by reaching and persuading them to your way of thinking, thus moving them to take actions that lead to the success of your business.
Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at bobkelly@TNI.net.
Robert A. Kelly © 2005.
Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and association managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University, major in public relations.
Visit: http://www.PRCommentary.com; bobkelly@TNI.net
Starting a Small Business: Balancing Risk and Reward
In a perfect world, starting a small business would be risk free, but just as with everything else; the degree of risk determines the value of the reward.
Small Business Survival
In today's economic climate, the first priority for the small business entrepreneur is survival. A glance at newspapers, business journals, or cable news channels reveals a succession of corporations striving to stay on top of their game, and often failing, to slow the growth of outsourcing or to show real growth within their market space. In such times, knowing how to achieve long-term success is more critical than ever.
Justice In Action
During the 1980 presidential campaign, candidate Ronald Reagan vowed, if elected, to appoint the first woman to the United States Supreme Court. Six months after his inauguration, President Reagan kept his promise ? nominating a member of the Arizona Court of Appeals. The Senate soon confirmed her by a vote of 99-0.
Franchising and Royalty Payments
If you are thinking of turning your current into a franchising company you will need to determine a fair and equitable franchise royalty fee. There are a number of questions you will need to ask yourself in determining this fee such as what services you will provide to your franchisee team and what that will cost. You will also need to take a look at the competition to determine the amount that you can honestly charge without forgoing cost conscious franchise buyers.
Making Direct Mail Work for Small Businesses
If you own a small business, then you know the value of affordable and effective marketing. Unfortunately, many traditional and online advertising methods are becoming quite expensive. This article will explain direct mail guidelines and methods.
Knowledge is Power
Why does research and education play an important part of the business relationship?
Don?t Wait for the Perfect Plan
1. Don't Spend Too Much Time Planning
Loose Lips Sink Ships - The Fastest Way to Put Yourself Out of Business
I agree that knowledge should be free, but the next person I see revealing their hard attained business practices in a public forum, I am going to feel the need to approach them, make them choose their own switch from an outside tree, then whip them with it.
Looking for a New Office Chair?
Perhaps you are building a new home office or you are redoing the one you have. Or, maybe you are looking for an office chair to replace that broken down model sitting in your office. Regardless, the office chairs of today offer more then just comfort. Choosing an office chair can be as much fun as getting a raise! Well, maybe it's not that good, but it's still a great moment!
Proper Care and Feeding of the Business Owner
That sizzling sound you're hearing may be a symptom of a major hidden cause of businesses closing their doors. It's called burnout. And you may be its next victim. Often the last thing a business owner considers is his or her health and sanity. The burnout that results from overwork and stress can deliver a death blow to the very enterprise you've been giving your all to create. Setting a course for your business that includes the proper care and feeding of the business owner is a critical success factor in every business.
The Failures Guide to Small Business Success
How many "get rich schemes" have you joined? Or have you invested in numerous legitimate business endeavors only to have them not work for you? Have you started you business and now facing a complete shut down? Do you consider yourself a failure? Are your loved ones pressing you to give up?
Image is Everything - Secrets to Cleaning Car Fleets
A recent survey indicated that clean Taxi Cabs Fleets have higher tip rates and repeat customers. How do you wash a taxicab? You do them four at a time and you go up and over and up and over when you are drying them. If they have a little taxi cab sign, dry that last. But you do the rest of the car the way you do a regular car. The only difference is you are going to spray three, four, five, sometimes six cars at a time. Then another crewmember is going to follow behind you and do all the windows really well. You do a quick vacuum with a taxicab. Seriously, you do not want to be in that taxicab for more then a minute or a minute and a half. Now most taxicabs are usually scratched and they look like crap. This is something you are going to have to deal with. This is just the way they are going to look which is good for you because they are not expecting a perfect job. They just want them to look clean because they have their logo on them. Taxi companies are very low budget operations and low cost will get you the account. Some taxicabs are owned by independent contractors. You will need to charge more since the volume is not there. Staging areas at big airports are a good place to find lots of taxicabs.
Professional Car Care Businesses You Can Start
If you are in the professional car care business you may be looking to expand your business, for that no one can blame you. But which add on service makes the most sense? You will have to make an honest assessment of your current clientele and decide that for your self. If you own a fixed site detail shop, a car wash or a mobile automotive appearance business there are many options to look at. Maybe you do not wish to add services right now? You will want to add services later, simply out of customer demand. Here are just some of the things you may wish to add as profit centers, these are fairly straight-forward and considered industry standards:
Lawyers Everywhere Telling Regulators What Laws to Make
The Federal Trade Commission decided to sit down and revamp the franchise rule of the 1970's. They started to do it in 1995 and postponed it then had some comments collected in 1997 and then in 1999. One thing, which is very interesting is most all the comments came from attorneys who specialize in either suing franchisors or suing franchisees. A little conflict of interest isn't it. Worse off; the government looks at their comments closely when determining new rules of law. Lawyers are out to make money suing business people, not helping free-enterprise, few of them have ever worked an honest day in their lives.
Starting An E-Commerce Business: Baby Steps
Starting your own e-commerce business can be quite the adventure. There is nothing wrong with falling head over heels in love with your ideas and plans and becoming overly excited, but always remember, feet first. Creating a business from scratch is like a child learning to walk. You need to grab on to something solid, feel around, get a sense of balance, and take baby steps.
Have You Thanked Your Competitors Today?
Competition in the business world is often viewed as a negative thing, but it doesn't have to be. Competition can benefit you, your competitor, and especially your customer!
Small Business Failures in America - Cash Flow Issues
We are noticing an increase in the length of time it takes Large corporations to pay on their invoices to our team. Fortune 500s are tending to pay their vendors more slowly, which will hurt the already strapped small businesses in America. These same small businesses employ 2/3 the population and do a great service in supplying the needs of corporations.
Shortcuts Will Kill Your Business
Think of your business as a living, breathing, organism. It requires you to give it a large portion of your time and effort in order for it to grow and flourish.
Debt Collection Techniques
Here are some sound debt collection techniques that can be followed by businesses to mitigate the bad debt crisis:
432 Page Franchise Report by the FTC
The Federal Trade Commission is upgrading the franchise law and they have made a report. Recently I have been reviewing the FTC's franchise rule report page by page. I have was shocked to learn that after commenting on the first two paragraphs in the first page of information directly following the table of contents, it took me 19 pages. I see now the reason for the 432-page report on franchising; the FTC has put forth a 432-page report and used the mass data approach to BS and Baffle potential commenters. It appears to be working. No one wants to bother to read and understand it all. However one franchisor, one entrepreneur sees this for what it is worth. So on to the next paragraph we go, I wonder how many pages it will take to comment on the next line of malarkey?
|home | site map|