6 Ways To Encourage Your Office To Tap Growth Fast

New growth is achieved by being different and heroic, but with big corporations hording their cash and banks refusing to loan small businesses much needed finance, the US has more than a fiscal cliff on its hands – it has growth crisis that threatens to stifle the very core of America’s economy: small business owners.

Within any entrepreneur’s purview all manner of initiatives and schemes exist to boost business growth. Sadly most can’t through lack of time and resources. The vital ingredient to pursuing opportunity without regard to resources currently held lies in creating affordable actions and simple communications that generate new business opportunities with warm contacts. To help beat the bushes there are eight practical initiatives you can apply to drum up your staff’s involvement, rapidly creating a simple program of actions that can kick-start a river flow of opportunities.

Value creation is determined by how tightly your business is run and the quality of your customer relationships – retaining 5% of your customers can add 25% to the bottom line. Satisfied clients and suppliers are a great place to start by simply asking who in their company/market you might be able to help. This is an effective way for your client servicing teams to engage their clients and vendors to generate opportunities, whether it’s inviting the client to discuss this with your CEO through to the power of proactive proposal writing by the team that provides the most immediate impact.

How did you feel the last time you received a genuine hand written note? Send notes to a handful of influential people either at a client’s business or a prospect you know. It’s amazing how effective it can be to trigger “why should I care?” from the client. Yes, it’s laborious and your handwriting better be in reasonable shape, but the approach works, especially if you make sure the approach is promising lots for them, not you!

Business often suffers when you’re unaware of your brand’s standing because your client quite literally doesn’t believe that you can do what you say you can do. Therefore, more often than not, we need to give to get for an opportunity to meet with a prospect. To demonstrate your diverse grasp of the category consider emailing an article or some recent research from a related field that shares an invaluable perspective on the client’s business (including clients you haven’t talked to in years) with an outline of the actionable insights you wish to share that will benefit the client in multiple.

multiple job offers

Don’t be frightened by Possibility, She makes a great mistress. Write a provocative byline with a strong POV and send it to the editor of a magazine, paper or blog your customers and competitors read. You might get lucky and its published or at least they’re open to hearing more about you. If all fails you now have a strong POV to present, tout in a sales letter, host on your web site and use as part of an office wide social media outreach campaign for the company.

It’s not actually who you know, as the saying goes, it’s how you use who you know. Encourage the office to identify 25+ people – commercially important to your business – invite them to an informal group discussion (8-16 attendees) on a hot topic at a salubrious location for breakfast or after work. Aside shared insights, the goal is to make an appointment with each attendee post event, and approach those who did not attend using the outputs from the discussion as a lever for opening a conversation.

Consider having the team send a thank you gift (as simple as a good book) to a few people who referred you or gave a reference for you. It might have been some time back, but the act of recognition is rarely refused and showing appreciation inevitably leads to a follow up opportunity where new ideas you have prepared can be discussed. Remember, nine times out of ten, people will answer back when spoken to.

People are a brand’s greatest asset and to lead a team you first need to be in the team; when a business shares a deep and broad connection with its employees, they go above and beyond what’s expected of them. When employees are excited and focused, servicing customers who are satisfied, the business runs well. These initiatives are simple to accomplish and if engaged with enthusiasm they will entice the office to be involved to pool their knowledge and get them vested in the success of the business. The difficult part is follow-through.

Nothing in the world takes the place of persistence and determination. Build momentum by creating a low cost competitive initiative that is team based using all of these actions to rapidly promote the business. If you have the benefit of a new business professional representing your company the task becomes a lot easier to orchestrate, especially the art of following up. While being fully prepared for delays the key is to have fun with the program by coordinating it enthusiastically versus efficiently, and with regular office alerts on progress, impact will be felt within weeks. The future favors the bold.
Let’s grow.

8 Tips to Success in PR by Rick Rice

8 Tips to Success in PR

Posted: 24 Aug 2012 07:24 AM PDT

These 8 tips to succeeding in PR are about more than writing well or liking to work with people—public relations is really all about selling. And it’s also about solving problems, understanding your clients’ businesses and many, many other things.

One of the reasons I opted to get a degree in public relations (and yes, it is a Bachelor of Science degree) is because I didn’t want to follow in my successful father’s footsteps. He was a salesman (or as he liked to call himself, a peddler), and I wasn’t the least bit interested in sales as a career path. And, while I was getting that degree, nobody disillusioned me that I was starting a career in sales. That quickly changed.

In PR, Selling is Everything!

For better or worse, it didn’t take long after stepping into my first job to figure out that selling is just about everything in PR. I may not sell valves and regulators as my dad did, but I’m always peddling ideas, concepts and sometimes, even products. You can talk about convincing or persuading all you want, but trust me: when you accept that a job in PR is a job in sales, you’re going to move your career ahead much faster.

Selling is Solving Problems

My dad was a very successful salesman and eventually owned the company. He always gave some credit for that to a Dale Carnegie course he took when he moved from being an engineer to being a sales engineer. He said it taught him that selling was about satisfying people’s needs. When I asked him what the keys to success were, he said it boiled down to much more than just knowing your product better than anyone else.

He told me it doesn’t matter how great your product is. If it doesn’t solve your customers’ needs and let them sleep soundly at night after buying it, then you can’t sell it. He said his job was really understanding the needs of his customers and finding ways to satisfy them.

Great PR Requires Understanding Your Clients

Dad and I talked a lot about this. As a salesman, in addition to solving problems for his clients, it was also his job to understand his customers’ different plants and processes at least as well as they did. Beyond that, he had to know what  constituted a win for each of them. He had to make sure that all the links in the chain on his side of a transaction were in place to deliver not just the product, but winning experiences for his customers.

You need to study and understand the space your customers live and breathe in. Who do they compete with for support within their organization? If you’re a consultant, you need to do that analysis for each and every client. You can’t give good advice or create winning scenarios if you don’t understand the competition in every area. And no, you don’t need an MBA to get a grasp on the competitive environment. Here are some great tips on how to collect this information.

A Career in PR is a Career in Sales

If you’re going to be successful in PR, you need to create winning experiences for your customers. You have to figure out what they and their organization need. You also need to understand what they’re really looking for—and how to deliver it. In between, you need to know what everyone in the delivery chain needs—reporters, bloggers and thought leaders, to name a few—to help you get the win for your client.

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

When you opt for a career in PR, you also have to understand what makes every organization run is money. I think everyone in business (not only PR pros) should know how to read income and cash flow statements and understand a balance sheet. If you don’t, read a book or take a basic accounting class. Money is what matters even for charitable organizations and the bottom line is what most executives really care about. You should, too.

Whether you’re an employee or a consultant, you should know the financial condition of the organizations you work for and with. Yes, I know that is math and numbers. Get over it. You can’t avoid it. I don’t understand algebra to this day, but I can pretty reliably tell you if an organization is winning or losing based on those three financial documents. That’s how the people who matter most keep score, and so should you.

PR is Also Psychology

There is also a bit of psychology necessary when you’re a PR professional. If you’re smart, you’ll learn about basic human motivations and apply them to the organizations you work with. Observe what motivates them and how others respond. Bottom line—if you don’t know what keeps the people important to the organization up at night, you can’t really sell them anything. People buy or support something based on how they think that choice will make them feel about themselves. You have to make them feel good about choosing you.

Lawyers Are Your Friends

Some of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made or advised my clients to make were the result of understanding legal issues and preventing problems from happening as a result. When you’re offering PR advice to clients, make sure you have some understanding of the legal issues that can come into play in terms of what could come back to bite you or the organizations you work with. Make friends with the attorneys. Ask smart questions. Lawyers will respect you if you respect them and their function. And, trust me. It’s a good idea to know the legal team before you find yourself in a fast-moving crisis situation. That’s why I always ask for a briefing from the legal department when starting a new assignment. It’s just good business.

Respect the Reporters

Lastly, if you’re going to be in PR, it’s critical you understand and respect reporters and others who can influence the outcome of an assignment. They’re not there to serve your purpose. They have their own jobs that are tough enough. Know why your message is important to them and the people they serve. And tell them that. Don’t beat around the bush and dance around words. Shoot straight with them and respect their time, brainpower and obligations and they’ll typically do the same for you.

There you have my tips for success in PR. These are just some basics you need to know. Success in public relations is so much more than a good writer. Knowing how to create and execute a great campaign is entry level for this business.

I’ve said it before. Being a successful PR person means being one of the best-informed and most curious people in the room. You have to show a willingness to learn, an ability to listen and an understanding that PR is really all about selling something to someone.

What do you think? What would you add to this list?

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