Tag Archive | "entrepreneur"

10 Habits Of Ultra-Likable Leaders

If you want to be a leader whom people follow with absolute conviction, you have to be a likable leader, reports Forbes. Tyrants and curmudgeons with brilliant vision can command a reluctant following for a time, but it never lasts. They burn people out before they ever get to see what anyone is truly capable of.

When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the best and worst leaders they have ever worked for. People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under the leader’s control, such as approachability, humility, and positivity.

These words, and others like them, describe leaders who are skilled in emotional intelligence. TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that leaders who possess these qualities aren’t just highly likable, they outperform those who don’t possess them by a large margin.

Becoming a more likable leader is completely under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ). Unlike innate, fixed characteristics, such as your intelligence (IQ), EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with effort.

What follows are 10 key behaviors that emotionally intelligent leaders engage in that make them so likable.

1. They Form Personal Connections

Even in a crowded room, likable leaders make people feel like they’re having a one-on-one conversation, as if they’re the only person in the room that matters. And, for that moment, they are. Likable leaders communicate on a very personal, emotional level. They never forget that there’s a flesh-and-blood human being standing in front of them.

2. They’re Approachable

You know those people who only have time for you if you can do something for them? Likable leaders truly believe that everyone, regardless of rank or ability, is worth their time and attention. They make everyone feel valuable because they believe that everyone isvaluable.

3. They’re Humble

Few things kill likability as quickly as arrogance. Likable leaders don’t act as though they’re better than you because they don’t think that they’re better than you. Rather than being a source of prestige, they see their leadership position as bringing them additional accountability for serving those who follow them.

4. They’re Positive

Likable leaders always maintain a positive outlook, and this shows in how they describe things. They don’t have to give a presentation to the board of directors; they get to share their vision and ideas with the board. They don’t have to go on a plant tour; they get to meet and visit with the people who make their company’s products. They don’t evenhave to diet; they get to experience the benefits of eating healthfully. Even in undeniably negative situations, likable leaders emanate an enthusiastic hope for the future, a confidence that they can help make tomorrow better than today.

5. They’re Even-Keeled

When it comes to their own accomplishments and failures, likable leaders take things in stride. They don’t toot their own horns, nor do they get rattled when they blow it. They savor success without letting it go to their heads, and they readily acknowledge failure without getting mired in it. They learn from both and move on.

6. They’re Generous

We’ve all worked for someone who constantly holds something back, whether it’s knowledge or resources. They act as if they’re afraid you’ll outshine them if they give you access to everything you need to do your job. Likable leaders are unfailingly generous with whom they know, what they know, and the resources they have access to. They want you to do well more than anything else because they understand that this is their job as a leader and because they’re confident enough to never worry that your success might make them look bad. In fact, they believe that your success is their success.

7. They Demonstrate Integrity

Likable leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say that integrity is important to them, but likable leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Even a leader who oozes charm won’t be likable if that charm isn’t backed by a solid foundation of integrity.

8. They Read People Like A Book

Likable leaders know how to read people as unspoken communication is often more important than the words people say. They note facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice in order to get what’s really going on with their people. In other words, they have high social awareness, a critical EQ skill.

9. They Appreciate Potential

Robert Brault said, “Charisma is not so much getting people to like you as getting people to like themselves when you’re around.” Likable leaders not only see the best in their people, but they also make sure that everyone else sees it too. They draw out people’s talents so that everyone is bettering themselves and the work at hand.

10. They Have Substance

Daniel Quinn said, “Charisma only wins people’s attention. Once you have their attention, you have to have something to tell them.” Likable leaders understand that their knowledge and expertise are critical to the success of everyone who follows them. Therefore, they regularly connect with people to share their substance (as opposed to superficial small talk). Likable leaders don’t puff themselves up or pretend to be something they’re not, because they don’t have to. They have substance, and they share it with their people.

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7 Steps for Successfully Running Your Day as an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs usually keep a densely packed schedule to try to fit as much work as possible into their waking hours, reports Entrepreneur. There’s always something else to be done and more you’d like to achieve, so how do you keep your day running efficiently without being overrun by the demands on your time?

There are some tricks I’ve learned over my entrepreneurial journey that have served me well in running my day successfully. If you commit to practicing these steps daily, you’ll get better at keeping them over time.

Here are seven steps I’ve learned for effectively running your day as an entrepreneur.

1. Start your day the night before.

The night before is really when your new day begins. I’ve found over the years that by approaching bedtime with a routine I can effectively start the next morning with all systems go.

Begin by ensuring you know what’s on the calendar for the following day. Go over appointments, calls and any other important deadlines in the day so you have an awareness of what’s on the agenda. Next, get anything you need in the morning set aside and ready at night. For example, if you bring lunch, have it made and ready to grab, set your gym bag, etc.

Finally, set yourself up for good sleep. Turn off all electronics that could beep, buzz or light up during the night and disrupt your sleep.

2. Move first thing.

Getting out of bed and making your body move is a great way to get the blood flowing and the brain synapses connecting again. If you aren’t in the habit of moving first thing when you get up, this may feel a little strange at first, but trust me, it works.

Even if you aren’t a morning person, grab your gym bag and hit the gym or put on your shoes and walk your dog for 30 minutes. Fresh air and movement start your body and your brain off right for the day and you’ll have more energy and a clearer head when you’re done.

3. Tame your brain.

Meditation or a mindfulness practice is an essential workout for your head. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes in the morning to practice and can really help you manage your day, and your life, effectively.

Meditation has been proven in study after study to help you deal better with stress and improve the adaptability of your mind. Work your head out every morning with some kind of mind-strengthening exercise. Try the Headspace app for a free introduction to what mindfulness and meditation can do for you.

4. Get help with staying organized.

If you aren’t an organized or punctual person, then get the help you need to become one. This can be with an organization app such asTrelloWorkFlowy or Evernote, or by hiring someone part time to assist you with task, time and calendar management. If you want to have efficient days then you need to be organized.

5. Remember to eat.

Your body and brain need fuel. Don’t forget that food is an important part of the day’s routine. This sounds simple but so many times entrepreneurs run themselves into the ground, skipping meals and forgetting to eat, only to grab the quickest (and often unhealthiest) thing they can. Don’t fall victim to this trap.

Snack frequently and remember to eat the right kind of healthy, fuel-providing food you need to stay energized all day. If you struggle, there are snack-delivery options such as Nature Box or home-delivery healthy-meal-prep options such as Blue Apron where literally everything you need for dinner is delivered to your door.

6. Batch your time.

Time batching is an efficient way to get the critical uninterrupted productivity time you need. Ensure that there’s at least one hour, preferably two, of batched time for you to problem-solve, think, brainstorm and otherwise handle the work you need to do without being disturbed. It’s a highly efficient way to get a lot done in small bursts.

7. Disconnect from work.

Last, but not least, when you leave work in the evening, disconnect from work. This may not be as crucial if you’re still young and single, but it becomes a crucial practice when you have a partner or a family. Your time outside of work greatly contributes to your time at work, so give your significant other and family the focus and attention they need and leave the work at the office.

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23 Tips for Running Your Business from Anywhere

Running your business from anywhere while traveling the world is no myth, reports Small Business Trends. Drew Gerber, founder and CEO of Wasabi Publicity, has done it for a good portion of his career.

Growing up in Utah, the travel bug bit him early. Over the past 10 years, he has grown and run his fledgling company from Atlanta, Budapest and eventually Stara Moravica, Serbia. For other entrepreneurs looking to do the same, take a look at the tips below.

Running Your Business From Anywhere

Gain a New Perspective

One of the biggest benefits of traveling is that it can help you see things in a new way. If you’re feeling stuck or stagnant in your business, a change of location could be a huge benefit. Gerber told Small Business Trends of his decision to travel, “I wanted to have a different perspective. Too often in life we get stuck in old patterns, views and beliefs. Changing your location will always shake things up.”

Evaluate Whether You Can Take the Leap

Some businesses are better suited for international or virtual work than others. While Gerber says he reccomends the lifestyle to anyone who isn’t tied to a brick and mortar business, you have to really evaluate whether it’s something that can work for you and your business. Is it something that really appeals to you? Are you able to do most of your work remotely or do you rely too heavily on in-person business?

Take a Trial Run

If you’re unsure about whether moving to a new location or taking your business mobile is right for you, try it out on a short-term basis first. Schedule a trip or two to your location of choice and take your work with you. See how well you’re able to keep up with everything before risking it all to pack up and move.

Have Processes in Place Beforehand

If you do decide to take the leap, you need to do some prep work before you go. There are a lot of little things that go into the early stages of running a business. So building those processes while also managing a move could turn out to be too much.

Build Up Essential Contacts

Building up your contacts and client base is something else that can often be easier when you’re stateside. So include that in your prep work before you actually head out.

Practice Remote Work Before Moving

To ensure that your business can actually survive if you’re not in your original location and available to meet with people in person, act as though you’ve already left for a while before you do. Do all of your communicating online, don’t schedule face-to-face meetings, and see how you’re able to manage everything.

Find a Place Where You’re Comfortable

When considering a place to start your travels, it’s best to choose a home base where you’ll be able to work comfortably. Gerber says of his choice to move to Budapest, “I look at it more like Budapest chose me versus me choosing the location. Everything just lined up in such a magical way; making great friends, finding the perfect flat and making the right connections. I just knew this was the place for me.”

Consider the Cost of Living

Cost of living should be another factor in your decision. If you can save money by choosing a home base that has low rent costs and other expenses, it can help your business in the long run.

Make Business Connections in New Locations

Your business could also potentially benefit by the people you have the opportunity to meet while visiting different locations. Try to set up meetings with people in your industry wherever you visit. Or at least be open to meeting new people wherever you go while running your business from anywhere in the world.

Have Patience When Dealing with Immigration and Visas

Gerber says that the biggest challenge for him when moving from place to place has been dealing with immigration and visas. So you need to plan for this part of the process to take a bit of time, though it can vary depending on which destinations you choose.

Stick with One Time Zone

If you move to a different time zone but still mainly work with clients or partners in the U.S., you’ll need to choose some regular work hours so that you don’t end up with a confusing or tiring schedule. Gerber says, “If you work during the day in Europe and then business hours U.S. time, it’s easy to work nonstop. I recommend that you pick the hours you’ll work and spend the other time off.”

Have a Set Schedule

Aside from just choosing a time zone, you’ll also need to come up with a specific schedule that works for you. Do you tend to be more productive in the mornings and evenings, but not so much in the afternoons? Do you work better with a four-day work week? When you’re running your own company remotely, you have the freedom to choose exactly how and when you want to work, but having a routine is still important.

Block Out Distractions

Visiting new and different locations can be exciting. But you can’t let all of that excitement get in the way of your work. During your set work hours, don’t drift off to thinking about all the fun things you could be doing in your new location. Stick to work and leave the fun for your off hours.

Create a Comfortable Workspace

To build a truly productive schedule, having a dedicated workspace can help. Create an office at your home base that will help keep you focused and comfortable.

Purchase the Right Tools

Your office space should have basically the same home office must-haves that you would use anywhere. But you should also consider some mobile business tools in case you ever take your operation on smaller travels or choose to work from different locations on occasion.

Use Skype to Communicate with Anyone

Skype and similar online communication tools are essential to anyone doing business remotely. Gerber says that Skype is one of his most important tools for running his business from anywhere.

Rely on Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is another important thing you’ll need if you’re going to move your business from place to place. A good cloud storage solution can keep your data and documents safe and allow you to access them from all of your different devices.

Learn to Network Online

Even if you have an existing client base before taking your business on the road, you need to be able to network online to build it even further, and to stay in touch with existing clients and colleagues. Use email, social media, and any other tools at your disposal to nurture and build your relationships online.

Always Have an Internet Backup

A reliable internet connection is essential to working remotely. But finding reliable signals abroad isn’t always possible. So you should always have a backup like a WiFi hotspot just in case.

Enlist Some Virtual Help

Busy entrepreneurs can benefit from hiring assistants to help with things like scheduling and email. So busy entrepreneurs who work remotely can benefit from hiring virtual assistants to help with some of those very same tasks.

Take Breaks

Running your business from anywhere in the world and working from new and exotic locations can trick your brain into thinking you’re on vacation all the time. But don’t let that stop you from taking actual breaks and vacations. You need them once in awhile to refresh.

Maintain Your Work Ethic

You do, however, still need to maintain the same work ethic, patience and other qualities that help build a successful business.

Enjoy Your Travels

Overall, the ability to work from anywhere is a great privilege that few ever get to experience. You need to work hard to build your business. But enjoy your life and your travels as well. Gerber says, “It can be easy to get so wrapped up in work that you forget to enjoy the experience. Don’t forget why you traveled in the first place!”

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5 Superpowers of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are superheroes. They strive to solve the world’s problems, inspire social change and improve quality of life, reports Entrepreneur. They perform heroic feats with scarce time, limited resources and against all odds. Yet, most entrepreneurs toil away in obscurity and often shy away from media. Young people grow up idolizing the figureheads of mainstream media, which today is limited to musicians, athletes and movie stars. I want my children to know there is another class of superheroes in our midst, entrepreneurs. So, I dedicated my two years as a Kauffman Fellow to identifying the patterns of these amazing role models.

I have been a venture capital investor since 2007 and I have worked with incredible entrepreneurs and investors almost every day since. Over the past two years, I have interviewed CEOs and investors of the most successful startups to determine the character traits most highly correlated with entrepreneurial success. At some point it hit me — these entrepreneurs are truly heroic archetypes, and that the results of my research should be expressed in the form of a graphic novel. So today, I am unveiling the entrepreneurial superpowers that matter most along with the announcement of my graphic novel, Silicon Heroes, which launches today on Indiegogo. My goal for Silicon Heroes is to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs with the characteristics and skills that power startup success. All profits from the Indiegogo campaign will be donated to Girls Who Code and Code.org.

1. Passion

Startups are emotional roller coasters that test the mental fortitude of founders. Every day brings new and unexpected challenges — and entrepreneurs can hide under a rock or they can rise to meet them. Successful entrepreneurs have a fire inside of them that motivates them to push farther and faster than normal. Passion is not just love for your product, team or market. It is the intensity, work ethic and determination that enables sustained effort over a long period of time. Lastly, passion is infectious. Passion can be the glue that brings a group of strangers together and galvanizes them to success on their startup journey.

2. Charisma

Great entrepreneurs are always recruiting. They are recruiting talented people to their team, recruiting investors to fund their dream and recruiting customers to their product vision. Charisma comes in many forms but ultimately, it is the ability of an entrepreneur to motivate people to align with his vision of the future. At the earliest stages of a company, this involves recruiting founders, finding seed capital and signing up the initial beta customers. At later stages, this can mean leading acquisitions, securing partnerships or evangelizing the vision at a conference.

3. Speed

Speed is one of the only advantages a startup has over a large incumbent. The lean startup framework centers around the mantra of “build, measure, learn” — build a prototype quickly, measure how users engage, learn from the experiment and then iterate quickly. Cycle time is a critical component for how fast a startup can move through these steps.  As a result, the best entrepreneurs set up their company’s organizational structure and decision-making processes to maximize speed. Another critical aspect of speed is coordination — once a decision is made, an entrepreneur needs to make sure everyone is on board and rowing in the same direction.

4. Focus

Startups are constrained by resources and time. The best entrepreneurs manage these two limited resources through intense prioritization. Founders need to focus the majority of their energy on the most impactful levers that can drive their business forward at any given time. There are simply too many non-essential activities that will take time but not ultimately make a difference. Focus is required to constrain resources into the highest priorities and execute.

5. Flight

Entrepreneurs are constantly encountering new challenges. The best founders exhibit a type of mental agility that allows them to fly through constant adversity with ease. These founders actively seek out advice from mentors, help from their networks and new ideas from books. These founders have an insatiable appetite for learning and are never defensive when given outside counsel. Furthermore, these successful entrepreneurs are able to synthesize new information quickly and creatively apply it to their business. This mental agility is particularly critical for first-time entrepreneurs, as they are constantly on the verge of ineptitude as their businesses scale quickly. Entrepreneurs who have achieved this level of intellectual agility reach new heights by standing on the shoulders of their network until they can fly.

Strengthen these superpowers to achieve your aspirations.

Successful entrepreneurs will possess some or all of these superpowers. These elements of character should excite future entrepreneurs, because all of these traits and skills can be learned, fostered and developed. The key is the self-awareness to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and invest in developing the superpowers you need to achieve your aspirations. Anyone has the potential to be a successful entrepreneur with the right role models and help along the way.

Are you the next superhero?

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24 Tips for a Killer Business Communication System

Choosing a business communication system for your company is no small task, reports Small Business Trends.

Whether you’re a solopreneur working from home or a growing business with a full-fledged office and staff, your business communication system is what gives you access to your customers, suppliers, and anyone else you might need to contact.

Here’s a list of tips for choosing a business communication system that will help your business thrive.

Understand the Critical Importance of Communications

Picking out a business communication system isn’t something that should be taken lightly. So don’t just pick a provider because it has a recognizable name or was the first company you came across. Do some research to make sure you’re getting the best value and the features that your business needs.

Be Able to Communicate from Anywhere

Few small business owners today stick to just doing business from one location. And with a cloud communication system, offered by some VoIP providers like Nextiva, you can access your business communication system from a variety of devices. You don’t have to stay put in your office.

Find a Provider with Good Support

Customer support is one of the most important factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a communication provider. So talk to other business owners, read reviews, and do some online research to find out which providers have the best support for their systems.

Focus on How You Want That Support Delivered

More specifically, you should find out exactly how the providers you’re considering offer support, and make sure they align with your preferences. Yaniv Masjedi, VP of marketing for Nextiva, said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends: “Some people like receiving support over the phone and some people would rather communicate with you over Twitter, Facebook, live chat or email. So if you prefer to communicate with a company in a particular way, look into it and ask people at the company,” he said.

Ask Where Service Reps are Based

For those who prefer to receive customer support over the phone, Masjedi says that the location of agents is often an important factor. If you want to make sure that your customer support reps are based in the U.S. or in a particular geographic area, specifically ask that when doing your research.

Call Their Customer Service Department

One of the best ways to get all of this information is just to call companies directly. You can use this to gather information, but also take your own experience into account. Masjedi says: “Call their customer service department and see what it’s like. Are you waiting on hold for a really long time or do they answer the phone right away? Waiting on hold for 45 minutes when you’re having an issue with your communication system is the last thing you want to experience.”

Shop Around for a Good Idea of the Services Available

The market for business communication systems has expanded in recent years due to new technology. So there are plenty of options to choose from. Once you’ve called and asked about a particular provider, do the same for several other companies and then compare them.

Compare Prices Including Affordable Business Options

As the market has expanded, so have pricing options. VoIP services offer options that are often more affordable for small businesses. And as with any business decision, price should be a part of your determination.

Take Some Time to Uncover Hidden Costs

But you shouldn’t just take the price of each service at face value. Some providers offer introductory pricing or only offer certain prices if you sign into a long term contract. Look into those factors before just choosing the lowest price option.

Read Reviews and Look for Warning Signs

Reviews can be a great source for information about different companies. Do a quick search of your top choices and look out for any warning signs if people have concerns about support or reliability.

Understand Your Company’s Needs

With so many different features and types of plans, there’s something for basically any business. That means you need to choose a plan that is best suited to your type of business. If you need mobile options, choose a plan that includes those features. If you want faxing ability included, choose a plan that includes that. Think about the features you want and compare those specific plans from different providers.

Find a System that Fits the Size of Your Business

There are also plans that are best suited for different business sizes. If you have a few employees, you probably don’t need a system that’s set up for hundreds. But if you have a decent sized team, don’t just stick with the system you had when you worked at home by yourself.

But Also Seek Out Scalable Solutions

But even though you don’t want to pay for more than you need, a solution that can grow with your business is a definite plus. Find one that gives you the ability to add lines or team members. Or at the very least, don’t sign up for a long-term contract if you plan on outgrowing it within that time frame. Masjedi says: “So many businesses start small and then within a few years they have hundreds of employees. So you don’t want a phone system designed for ten employees or less. You want a provider that will support you as you grow.”

Learn How Often Updates Are Provided

With so much growth happening in the industry, you don’t want to miss out on new features that could be helpful just because you’re stuck in a contract. Before signing up for anything, ask about new features the company is working on and how often they update their technology.

Don’t Overlook Small Features

Even little features can make a big difference when it comes to your business communication system. For instance, Masjedi says that many of Nextiva’s customers really appreciate the ability to change outgoing or hold messages easily. If you have a little pet peeve with your current system, or something small that you wish you could do with it, ask about that when looking into providers. There’s no detail too small.

Take Your System Mobile

Mobile communication systems are becoming popular now that many of them are cloud based. Companies such as Nextiva even offer mobile apps that business owners can use to take calls on their business lines from anywhere.

Look for Options Like a Separate Business Line

For certain entrepreneurs, just having a separate number for business operations can be a big plus. Masjedi says that lawyers in particular tend to appreciate the ability to make and receive business calls on a separate line, even if they’re actually using their personal cell phone, because it lets them avoid giving out their personal number.

Explore Any Innovative New Features

There are countless ways to use different communications systems. So if there’s a feature or ability you’d like, there’s probably a provider that’s offering it. For example, Masjedi says that some businesses really appreciate Nextiva’s vFax feature, which allows them to send virtual documents as faxes even if you don’t have an actual fax machine.

Find Out About Analytics

Analytics can be another useful feature. Even if you don’t currently use them, they can help your business in a variety of ways. So it’s a factor that’s worth looking into.

Collect the Data to Grow Your Business

Analytics information can provide you with data that you can use to expand your operations. Masjedi offered this example:

“If you’re a dry cleaner and you close at 5 every day, but you see that calls are coming for some reason on Saturdays until 7, you’ll know that maybe you need to keep it open an extra two hours on Saturdays,” he said.

Use Recorded Calls to Train Employees

Many phone systems also give you the option of recording calls. You can use this feature to evaluate phone service and even use the calls to train employees and improve your service.

Draw on Technology to Optimize Your Team

You can also use call recording and analytics to keep an eye on employee habits. You don’t want to see team members spending all day on needless calls. So you can use the data to make sure everyone is on task.

Don’t Rely on Your Provider for Every Small Update

Another main benefit of VoIP and similar services is that they give users the ability to update parts of their service on their own. This doesn’t mean that you can’t call for service or help. But if you just want to update your outgoing message or something small, you can do it without having to sit on hold or call a company rep out to your location. So if that’s something that’s important to you, find a provider that gives you the option of managing parts of your account on your own.

But Make Sure They Will Help When You Need It

But good service is still essential to your operations. Make sure that your provider is open and available to help for anything you might need, not just a small set of options on on their pre-recorded phone menu.

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7 Secrets to Making PR Work for You

Do you do public relations for your business? Many small business owners neglect PR because they think it takes too much time or requires hiring a PR person or agency, reports the Small Business Administration. Others think their businesses just aren’t newsworthy or that they can’t write a good press release – so why bother?

The truth: PR is a great way for any business to get noticed – for free. “Earned” publicity – publicity that comes from a blog, newspaper, or magazine writing about your business – is far more valuable than “paid” publicity (that is, advertising). Prospective customers trust earned publicity more, and it has long-lasting results in terms of building your brand and your credibility.

The nuts and bolts of PR have changed a bit in recent years, with the advent of social media and the rise of the Internet, but the basic rules of PR still hold true. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Get to know your target. Just as in any type of marketing, understanding what your target market wants and needs is key to success. In this case, your target market is the media – journalists, bloggers, TV and radio reporters, etc. To find out what they need, pay attention to what they already write about. A local reporter who covers the retail industry is the perfect person to pitch your new store to, while the reporter who reviews restaurants won’t care.

2. Craft your pitch and press release. There are many websites that provide templates for pitches and press releases. PRLog.org is one my company uses, but PRNewswire and PRWeb.com offer useful tools, too. Following a template helps by suggesting how and when to use hyperlinks, photos, and other elements to add interest to your pitch or press release. Of course, format isn’t the only thing that matters when writing a pitch or press release. You need to find a “hook” – something timely, interesting, or newsworthy to the media person you’re pitching. If your retail store sells children’s toys, for example, a pitch about the “10 Hottest Holiday Toys for 2015” will get parenting magazines or mom bloggers intrigued.

3. Hit the target. Send your pitch and press release to your target media members. Email is the generally accepted method today; you can find most media members’ emails on their publications’ websites. Use an attention-getting subject line that clearly states what you’re offering without being boring.

4. Follow up. Develop a spreadsheet of media contacts with contact information to help you manage your PR efforts. After your first pitch, follow up if you don’t hear back – but don’t be a pest. I’ve noticed a disturbing tendency of PR people emailing me the day after (or even later the same day) I get their pitches to follow up. Give people some time to get through their emails before you hit them with a second attempt – but do follow up; emails often fall through the cracks.

5. Make an offer. Spell out what’s in it for the media if they take you up on your press release. Provide some useful data (such as statistics from a survey you’ve done), an interesting or compelling quote, an offer to serve as an interview source, or an invitation to your grand opening or other event.

6. Be active. If your business targets local customers, getting out into your community is a great way to get PR. Become an active member of local networking groups, Chambers of Commerce, and other business organizations in your area. Local media often reach out to these groups when they need quotes or interview subjects, so being involved gives you a better chance of getting press.

7. Make the most of it. Once you do get publicity, make the most of the attention by posting the article on your website, framing it in your store, and generally spreading the news about your 15 minutes of fame. Also be sure to thank the journalist or blogger for the attention – that helps build relationships and leads to more publicity.

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