By Grace Lavigne, columnist
If there’s one thing that every small business can benefit from at one point or another, it would be teaming up with a public relations person or firm, says Cher Murphy, president of Cher Murphy PR. “Not only can it take business to the next level by garnering name recognition and increasing sales, but it can even be helpful in managing crisis situations.”
The challenge of promoting a small business is often differentiation from competitors, says Tim O’Brien, owner of O’Brien Communications. “Many small businesses are small players in large business sectors. To create awareness, any business has to be able to convince its targeted audiences it is uniquely better in some way.”
“It definitely takes a different approach to help a small company or ‘solopreneur’ than it does a larger firm,” says PR specialist Hope Katz Gibbs, founder and president of Inkandescent Public Relations.
The distinctive goal for a PR agent working with a small-business owner is to uncover their expertise and find the story behind their business, and then coach them to express it well, says Gibbs.
“It’s not always easy, as you can imagine,” Gibbs admits. And sometimes clients suffer from what she calls the “Trifecta of Small Business Failure,” which is when they have one of these three attitudes:
“I can do it all by myself.”
“I’m going to hire you, but not take your advice.”
“I want success—but only how I want, when I want it, where I want it.”
So if you’re a small-business person, remember: “There are many ways that PR can help boost the bottom line of a small business. It all comes down to evaluating and choosing the right agency, and then working with them as a team to meet challenges and make things happen.”