Why Small Business Must Turn to PR

If small business had no important outside audiences, it wouldn't exist.

But since they do have external "publics," it's doubly unfortunate when those same small business owners seem unconcerned about the very outside folks whose behaviors can place a choke-hold on their business!

And worse, are so casual about public relations, the best way to move those behaviors in their direction.

Is that you? What's the problem? Can you think of any other way to marshall those groups of people you need so badly if your business is to succeed?

Face it. You must turn to public relations if you are really serious about getting those important outside people to support what you are trying to do.

And the best part is, there's no mystery about how to do it!

Start today by listing your important outside audiences in priority order. No doubt, customers and prospects will place #1 and #2. But think carefully about your local and trade media as well as community residents and leaders, suppliers and the like. The test for adding an external audience to your worry list is this: if left unattended, could its perceptions and behaviors hurt your business?

Since there is no other affordable way to find out how each of your target audiences perceive your business, products, services and operations, you must take the time to do it yourself along with your colleagues. Interact with members of that key target audience and probe their perceptions with plenty of questions. Watch for misconceptions, inaccuracies and rumors that need to be corrected. Stay alert to negativity of any kind.

This will let you decide how much you will try to alter perceptions among each audience. It also becomes the behavior modification goal against which you will measure your progress.

Now it's message time. What will you say to members of your target audience to alter that negative perception that surfaced during your conversations with them? Your message must be persuasive, so stick with the facts and present them clearly. By identifying honestly what is really at issue at the moment, you impart a sense of credibility to your comments, and their timeliness adds a compelling dimension to your message.

What's the best way to get that message to the eyes and ears of members of your target audience?

Here, you have an embarrassment of riches with dozens of communications tactics including news announcements, op-eds, letters-to-the-editor, speeches, community briefings, broadcast and newspaper interviews and many, many others.

Progress can best be tracked by interacting all over again with members of the target audience. While you'll ask questions similar to those you asked in your earlier monitoring sessions, this time you're looking for signs that your message got through. In other words, signs that your message succeeded in altering any negative perceptions of your business.

You should also monitor print and broadcast media, key customers and prospects for similar indications of success.

Should progress not be fast enough for you, you'll want to consider increasing the number of communications tactics you employ as well as the frequency of their use. Your message should also be re-evaluated for its factual basis and clarity.

Gradually, your monitoring will playback perception changes among that target audience, and that means the behaviors you seek will not be far behind.

It is this kind of success that tells us very clearly why small business must turn to PR if it is to realize its potential.

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at mailto:[email protected].

Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

About The Author

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental premise of public relations. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:[email protected]. Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com

In The News:

Small Business Struggles  NBC4 Washington
Small business debt load tops $150000  CanadianManufacturing.com

Profits are within 6 Degrees of Freedom

How far away is the person you need to meet?We... Read More

Postcard Marketing ? Low Cost Visibility

You need to be visible to attract customers, right? But... Read More

Business Debt Collection Letter Writing Secrets

Debt collection letters--an overview"Debt collection letter" in the singular may... Read More

Franchise Buyers Lying On Forms

The Federal Trade Commission which governs the franchise industry thru... Read More

Business Owners - Do You Actually Own a Job?

How many hours do you work a week? When was... Read More

Canon City, Colorado - Good for Small Business

Canon City, Colorado is known for it's 6 Prisons; State... Read More

Boat Detailers; Add-on Products and Services

As a Boat Detailing Specialist, you may want to offer... Read More

Bringing Home the Bacon

In general, all of us know how to accomplish the... Read More

Too Many Lawyers in Franchising Today

Attorneys and Lawyers are ruining the franchise industry. It is... Read More

Why is My Restaurant Not Full Every Monday Night?

In a quest for customers and to keep those customers,... Read More

50 Ways to Save Money

There are countless ways to save your business money. Unfortunately,... Read More

Starting an Aircraft Washing Service

To wash an airplane there are many items you will... Read More

Five Tips for First Time Entrepreneurs

It seems so long ago that I started my first... Read More

Effective Customer Interviews Make Life Much Easier!

One of the critical success factors for service-related businesses is... Read More

Overcoming Your Biggest Competitor

Before you read any further in this article, I'd like... Read More

Winning in Business - Lessons from Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong this week won an unprecedented 7th Tour de... Read More

Share Ad Expenses to Boost Profits

The challenges of the small business owner are well documented.... Read More

Breaking The Chains!

Everyday, customers and business owners are bombarded with billboards, logos,... Read More

Routine Maintenance of High Pressure Hot Water Motors

If you run a pressure washer business you need complete... Read More

The Triple A Way to Spark Your Companys Profits

Winning small and home based businesses today must continually shake... Read More

Setting Up a Pressure Washer Rig to Clean Concrete

Maximum efficiency in the cleaning industry is a key to... Read More

Do You Need Accounting Software for Your Small Business?

If you're anything like me then you dislike with a... Read More

Secrets to Washing Fleets of Trucks from a Nationwide Fleet Washing Service

Washing the exterior of a truck. Sounds easy right? Well,... Read More

The Power of Why: Your Psychological Ally To Marketing Success!

Here's why 'WHY' is such a profit-making marketing trigger."Stop taking... Read More

Computer Tips that Help Small Businesses Operate Profitably

When working properly, computers enable small businesses to make big... Read More