Many small business owners and solopreneurs have one-person marketing and PR departments. A common complaint I hear is the lack of time to do PR. What a shame! PR, done right, has far-reaching benefits. This is why I’ve invited Monique Wells, a time management expert and coach, to write a guest post for us today. Monique tells us how we can MAKE time for PR.
So you’re a small business owner who wants to begin a do-it-yourself public relations campaign! You’ve got Elena’s arsenal of PR weapons at your disposal, and you are ready to get started.
Or are you? What about the errands that need to be run? The invoices that need to be sent? The phone and e-mail messages that need to be answered?
Don’t worry! There is a way of dealing with these mundane, repetitive tasks so that you will have time to devote to your public relations project.
I recently interviewed Brian Tracy, a time management and productivity expert whose principles and practices I admire. We talked at length about the concept of delegation for the entrepreneur or solopreneur, and what value it can add to your business.
When To Delegate
Brian spoke of what he calls “The 70% Rule,” saying, “If somebody can do [a task] 70% as well as you, [you should] delegate it, especially if it is not a major task…. As your business grows, you get someone to do the little things that are of low value so that you can do more of the things of high value.”
Given that solopreneurs by definition work alone, delegation means subcontracting or outsourcing, in today’s parlance.
Brian recommends casting a wide net when conducting your search. Tell people that you are looking for a virtual assistant or an on-site assistant and get referrals. Once you obtain a list of candidates, ask for references and follow up with those for whom the assistants have worked before. Be sure to ask about their work habits, their character, their punctuality, etc.
Never rely on your own judgment to make your hiring decision. Always solicit outside opinions. The end result – hiring the right person or team – will transform your life!
Brian stressed that the cost of outsourcing should always come from current revenues. If you don’t have current revenues, then you are not earning enough to hire a subcontractor.
Obstacles to Delegating
You may resist the idea of hiring an assistant for many reasons:
- Relinquishing power – you may want to retain 100% control of what goes on in your business
- Lack of trust – you may have had a bad experience with an assistant before
- Lack of time – you don’t know when you’ll find the time to train someone
But if you can imagine the benefits of doing so, and learn from the success stories of other entrepreneurs who have assistants, then you should put aside these concerns and decide that you are going to make the situation work for you.
Tips to Delegate Successfully
Whether your assistant is virtual or on-site, follow these steps to maximize the success of your relationship:
- Clearly define the tasks to be undertaken.
- State the expected results and explain their importance.
- Consider the resources required (if any).
- Identify the authority level that is being assigned – example: Does the person need to check with you before sending out an e-mail message for your business?
- Make deadlines clear.
- Inform those who may need to know that you have hired someone.
- Keep an open line of communication with the assistant and provide support.
- Evaluate performance periodically.
- Provide feedback on results.
There are many PR activities that an assistant can take care for for you, such as:
- Scanning traditional and social media for PR opportunities
- Sending out media pitches
- Collecting contact information for your media list
- Brainstorming story ideas
- Responding to PR-related emails and inquiries
- Updating your media kit
- Submitting press releases to traditional media and online PR sites
- Scheduling press interviews
As you can see, you don’t have to do all the PR work by yourself — even if you can’t afford to hire a PR professional or retain the services of a PR agency. You can delegate the smaller tasks to an assistant and free yourself to focus on your messaging, interacting with media, and giving interviews or content to obtain more exposure for your business.
Monique Y. Wells is the Paris Muse of Time Management™. She helps women solopreneurs who work from home “get over the overwhelm” that they experience during the workday. Monique owns two small businesses, and has over ten years of experience in maximizing productivity within the constraints of the number of hours available for work each day. Find her at understandingtimemanagement.com
Top image by Kirstea
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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