With my businesses, I’ve seen huge growth spurts when I let go of my perfectionist and controlling side and delegate. I focus on my natural gifts – the tasks I can spend all day doing and still be energized afterwards and also make money at. Getting PR, joint ventures, business development and creating winning teams and products are my strengths. Accounting, website maintenance, administrative and repetitive tasks are necessary, time consuming and do not contribute to revenues coming in, so I delegate those.
It’s hard at first, to find the balance between profitability and hiring someone to help you. What I’ve found is the initial dip in profits eventually corrects itself as my team becomes more efficient and I can truly focus on what I love to do and work on the business, instead of in the business. At the end of the day, you are working on a business that needs to be profitable in order to survive. Right?
You may consider outsourcing PR to a consultant or agency if you provide products or services that are difficult to differentiate in the marketplace.
Professional publicists can help you with key messaging that will resonate with your target customers and media. PR professionals can also help you with more advanced publicity techniques and pulling together more comprehensive media lists and editorial calendars.
You would be staggered by the sheer opportunity that exists out there. Last year when we pulled from our database the media that are doing “holiday gift guides”, we came up with more than 300 opportunities! There’s no scarcity of places that you could promote your company.
If you do choose to work with a consultant (PR firms/agencies tend to cost twice as much, but have more resources than individual consultants), here are some things you’ll need to consider:
Goals. The positioning of your company in its market is essential. Determine how you want to be perceived.
Expectations. Assessing the newsworthiness or perception of your company’s products, services and other announcements is key. Be realistic.
Budget. Levels of communication programs vary. Costs vary too. Establishing a budget will keep you on track and allow you to wisely appropriate funds in the right projects.
Expertise. Familiarity with your specific industry is a plus, as it reduces a learning curve. However, experienced communications professionals can often hit the ground running.
References/Reliability. Past and present clients provide a proven track record and allow you to get to know working ethics and style. Make sure to check references.
Long-term vs. Project Basis. From your own goals, determine what you’ll require. Working on a per project basis allows you to complete existing projects, carry-out specific programs and helps companies with limited budgets. A long-term partnership can give you the advantage of having the same person strategically plan and execute your entire PR program for consistency and easier management.
Also remember that PR programs typically take a few months to gain momentum because media publishing schedules are often a few months ahead. So if you want to get into Oprah’s December issue, sometimes you may have to think about Christmas in July!
As with any outside consultant, you need to feel comfortable with them and their expertise – otherwise you won’t get your money’s worth. There are many companies out there that would love your business…find one you like!
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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