So, You’ve Begun A PR Campaign, But Are You Prepared For Growth?
When you own a small business, the number one priority is to drive business immediately. The first thing you need to do before putting a marketing plan in place to generate awareness and drive interest in your business is to think through the steps you will take, or put into place, to handle the increase in business.
I’ve seen and worked with many great businesses over the years that failed to think forward to what would happen when their marketing plan, well, worked. At the end of the day, several were unprepared to handle the increase in sales and interest that a strong, target public relations program generated, and they eventually closed. What a huge loss for the consumers who were ready to adopt the company into their lifestyle!
On the flip side, I’ve seen small businesses triple, even quadruple, their growth in just over a year’s time with the right inclusions in the right media to the right audience.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to prepare for growth:
1. Is your current space large enough to handle increased stock of product and staff?
2. Are you prepared to add staff to delegate specific tasks to such as managing orders, billing/finances and customer service?
3. What steps are you going to take to insure timely delivery? Can you recruit family and friends to offer their time until you’re able to pay someone?
4. Are you willing to forgo a paycheck in order to put staff in place?
5. How much time are you able to commit to your business (especially if you have family) to handle the increase in business? Is your loved one prepared to assist you when needed?
6. What is the financial return you need to see immediately to afford to hire staff?
7. Can you afford to have enough product on shelf to manage a major influx?
8. Will you separate individual sales from those of long-term retailers?
9. How much money from each sale are you going to put back into an ongoing marketing program?
10. Tell your manufacturers and vendors about your marketing program so they can anticipate an influx of business and can therefore be sure to meet your demand.
11. How are you going to manage product development while managing a quickly growing business?
12. What are the next steps for your business once growth begins?
13. Where are you going to go from here to insure that growth continues?
14. Are you meeting your business goals? Do you need to morph them in order to keep up with changes in your business, the market and trends?
Now most of these apply to businesses with an actual product, but service-oriented businesses have a product, YOU! It’s important for you to consider these questions in terms of what growth means to your business and how you plan to manage it.
Next step, start a targeted public relations campaign that is ongoing and has long-term implications for your business. And the final question is how will you maintain your public relations push while managing growth? Just because you’ve gotten a few placements doesn’t mean you can afford to stop. You need to keep the momentum going to encourage continued growth. I bet you never thought about how your business planning and marketing plan all come together – this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Jennifer Fortney, Cascade Communications