When you start your own business, and you ARE the business, there is no time. As the chief everything, from CEO to janitor, you’re focused primarily on what will bring in the money, so you can survive long enough to scale. You don’t have time for much else.
But that doesn’t mean you can just skip it. Even the busiest entrepreneurs need to advertise. You need to build and promote your brand and protect your image in an increasingly touchy and difficult media environment. When one angry customer can derail you for days, it doesn’t pay to skimp on marketing.
But there’s still not enough time in the day, so you need a plan that is effective, efficient, and easy to implement and run. While no PR is entirely “set it and forget it,” there are some things you could be doing that won’t burn time you don’t have and will deliver on your need to fashion, promote and protect your brand narrative.
Begin with a good story. When it comes to connecting with people, there is simply no substitute for a good story. Instead of being a business that does a “thing”, you become people connecting with other people through your unique offer. This simple shift can increase consumer interest and build trust in your brand. Remember, people want to connect, and they hate to be “sold.”
Invest in continuing education. You need to be at the top of your game, and you need to understand what’s happening in your industry. In today’s marketplace of ideas, where information is easy to obtain in seconds, your customers have fast and unlimited access to information. Some information will be good, and some will not. Both scenarios create opportunities.
When you really understand what you’re talking about, you can impress the former group and earn their trust, and you also stand a better chance of correcting the latter group without them thinking you are either “wrong” or “rude.”
Make a point of meeting people. You need to focus some portion of every day on connecting with top influencers in your industry, whether these are industry leaders, top consumers, reviewers, journalists, broadcasters, or opinion makers, you need to cultivate key relationships. The point here is not just to sell them, though. In fact, that should not be your primary goal in the interactions. You need to get to know them, learn what they’re looking for and build their trust.
Focus on Contributing. In every interaction, you want people to feel as if they are better or have more thanks to interacting with you. As a solo entrepreneur, your resources may be tight or tied up in other things, but you can contribute to people in other ways. Look for opportunities to give to the people in your circle rather than changes to ask them for something. Very few things build trust faster than gratitude.
Know your purpose and perfect your pitch. This sounds like two things, but they are so closely connected that, in application, they are one and the same. The idea here is to understand what makes you unique and why you’re in business, so well, that you can quickly and easily explain it, at any time and in any context, in a way that is understandable and repeatable.
Whether you bump into someone in an elevator or you have a chance to speak for 2 minutes or 2 hours, you need to be able to leave people with a very specific idea of what you can do for them.
About Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is one of the most exciting personalities in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has won numerous business awards, is a well-respected entrepreneur and has transformed businesses through strategic and aggressive PR strategies.