Inkandescent PR founder Hope Katz Gibbs is the December 2013 cover girl of Evolution magazine

December 2013 issue, Evolution Magazine

Are you ready to Be Inkandescent?

By Hope Katz Gibbs, founder
The Inkandescent Group, LLC

Ah, the art of being yourself and living your dream — while making enough money to employ others and grow your marketshare. Isn’t that every entrepreneur’s goal?

Doing it with spirited passion, brilliance, and white-hot light is what makes the best companies stand out from the crowd, for they are “inkandescent.”

That’s the mission for The Inkandescent Group, LLC — a PR, content marketing and publishing company that I founded in 2008: www.TheInkandescentGroup.com.

I knew there were thousands of entrepreneurs who needed help with their public relations and marketing campaigns, but couldn’t afford the big guns in NYC. For the last five years, our PR firm “by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs” has helped businesses raise awareness of their brand and ideas.

Staffed by award-wining print and broadcast journalists, designers, web developers, and photojournalists, our team knows how to tell a great story — and has fun doing it. It’s been very satisfying to help other small-business owners craft their message, create stunning websites, write educational newsletters, and get quoted in the news.

Realize that Content Marketing Is Queen

Since getting in the news is what most entrepreneurs hire PR firms to do, we’ve been happy to oblige. We’ve gotten our clients mentioned in national publications such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as “The CBS Early Show,” and on Fox News, and more.

But what is the real value of that kind of fireworks if you don’t catch the embers? Sure, being quoted in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal is a great credibility builder, but if you don’t catch the embers — on your website, in a monthly newsletter, and on your social media pages — it’s just a pretty memory.

That’s why we focus on helping our clients develop a logical, methodical strategy around their PR and marketing campaigns. This includes using every article they write, every press mention they generate, and any accomplishment they achieve three times.

Embracing the “Power of 3” is also the reason we launched our own business magazine in January 2010. We wanted to give our clients, and other small-business experts, another means of sharing their insights and ideas with our growing network of entrepreneurs. After all, a tenet of journalism is to “show, don’t tell,” and what better way to show the world what you know than in thought-provoking and timely articles?

Our monthly magazine, www.BeInkandescent.com, now has more than 2,500 searchable articles, 50,000+ subscribers, and gets hundreds of thousands of visits a month. One key to the magazine’s success is that each issue is anchored by a theme specifically chosen to resonate with readers.

From recent cover stories ranging from “The Honesty Issue” in December 2012, to “Conscious Capitalism” in April 2013, to “The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs” in October 2013, the theme of each issue gives our columnists a new topic to consider from the point of view of their business and industry. In fact, each issue reads like an e-book on the various topics, and includes a Book of the Month, restaurant and hotel reviews, and a feature on one of the leaders from our TrulyAmazingWomen.com series.

Plus, sharing new content online is what google.com continues to make a priority in its Search Engine Optimization, so these regular articles are a great way to literally “raise the profile” of an entrepreneur or business. We also use the articles in each client’s monthly newsletter, a monthly press release, and on their website, which feeds into our Power of 3 strategy.

Make Your Own Fireworks

To make things even more interesting, in 2011 we launched a networking website to help entrepreneurs find the best business networking events to attend, from New York City to Miami Beach: www.InkandescentNetworking.com.

Then, in 2012, we added new media to the mix when we launched The Inkandescent Radio Network: The Voice of Entrepreneurs: www.InkandescentRadio.com. Each day, we feature a new podcast interview with entrepreneurs, authors, artists, financial planners, truly amazing women, and more.

In 2013 we decided to take our show on the road when we launched our speakers bureau, www.InkandescentSpeakers.com,

Embrace the 8 Steps to PR Success

“Making your own fireworks” is the foundation of our 8 Steps to PR Success, the topic of the speech I’ve been giving all over the country. It’s also the heart of our new book, “PR Rules: The Playbook — The Entrepreneur’s Guide for Super-Sizing Your Small Business.”

So take a page from our Playbook

1. Create a stunning website
2. Develop an explosive PR campaign
3. Make a splash in the news
4. Write a column in a magazine and launch your own radio show
5. Network wisely
6. Join a speakers bureau
7. Write a book
8. Pay it forward

Avoid the Trifecta of Small Business Failure

Following the 8 Steps alone, though, won’t ensure your firm’s success if you’re suffering from a malady that afflicts many solopreneurs and leads to the failure of their businesses.

The good news is that there are approximately 11.5 million entrepreneurs in the Untied States, according to Babson College’s most recent Global Entrepreneur Study. That’s a 13% increase over last year. What’s more, the study indicates that 534,000 people start businesses each month — with an average investment of $15,000.

The bad news, according to the Kaufman Index, is that almost half of all entrepreneurs go out of business within three years.

  • 25% fail in year 1
  • 36% fail in year 2
  • 44% go out of business in year 3

As a PR and publishing company, we see many entrepreneurs undermine their success by embracing a mindset that’s part of what we call, “The Trifecta of Small Business Failure.”

These are the three mistakes we see almost every entrepreneur make.

Do any of these sound like you?

  • The Control Freak. When it comes to your business, have you ever thought this, or said aloud: “I do it all by myself,” “You’re not the boss of me,” or, “Everything is horrible; the sky is falling!” Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to want to hold on tight to all the facets of their business. After all, being in control is why many people start their own companies. But beware: No one is good at everything, much less has the time to think of, perfect, and execute all the necessary tasks required to ensure their business succeeds. So let go — delegate, share, outsource! Collaboration is the key to success.
  • The Small-Picture Person. Do you understand the icing-and-cake metaphor? If not, you may not be making the most of your core competencies — your “cake” — by leveraging them to make more money. Start by identifying your core competency, then step back and look at the big picture. Find all the revenue streams available — your “icing” — and incorporate them into your business. For example, if you are a chef and you are only cooking for your restaurant, then you are leaving money on the table. Consider catering or selling some of your products online, or in local coffee and tea shops and farmer’s markets, and through co-ops. Don’t aim just to just break even; super-size your small business!
  • The Win-meister. If you’re a “win-meister,” the “win” comes only when you beat someone else. If your competition or colleagues have to lose for you to win, you are operating on an outmoded, inefficient philosophy. The paradigm has shifted! Embrace the 21st-century concept of winning — the win–win–win — in which you win, your customer and colleagues win, and so does the world at large. The Millennials work under this banner; if you’re not, you’ll likely miss out on the next generation of sales.

Reach for the Stars

What’s our value-add to the business community?

As business guru Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
No one knows that better than an entrepreneur. At The Inkandescent Group, we’re convinced the best way to create customers — and successful, sustainable businesses — is to be light.

That’s why we do everything we can to help our clients, readers, and followers develop strong PR and marketing campaigns so they can glow and grow.

What sets us apart is the fact that we insist on making this as fun as possible for everyone we work with. We know that most business owners love their businesses. They think of their company as their “baby,” and their team as a family. So long as they stay focused on that, getting their business in the limelight is easy — and fantastically fun.

That’s why we love this quote from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” which sums up our philosophy of business, and life.

“When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle. And this’ll help things turn out for the best. Always look on the bright side of life. Always look on the light side of life.”

Forget the fear. Stop worrying so much about what haven’t yet accomplished, and set your sights on the fireworks that are certain to come. Now go out there and make some noise.

Here’s to your incredible, indelible, Inkandescent success. For more information, visit www.InkandescentPR.com.