Small business advice diary by Karen Waugh
Due to the overwhelming demand we have had for our free PR advice days, we decided to run two days back-to-back for July.
July 26th was another blisteringly hot day. It’s a funny coincidence, but our last three free advice days have all been in clear blue skies and nice sunny weather, which just seems to add to the spring in our step we get when we run these days. Luckily though, Guy managed not to go head over heels on a dodgy pavement this time, which was a plus.
Anyway, we hit the road at 08.45am, and once again I picked our CD choice of the day – something that’s become as routine to us as reading the papers. Having been to the Queen & Adam Lambert show at Hammersmith a few weeks ago, Mr Lambert was the choice of the day – a great and upbeat selection for the sunny weather.
We met four small businesses during our first advice day, including a wedding shop, an innovative iphone refurbishment company, a local charity raising melanoma awareness and finally, Cath, who was planning to set up a small business for the first time.
Cath is giving thought to launching a new handmade silver jewellery business. My first impression on meeting Cath was that she exudes energy, and her plan has a defined style with a clever twist. Her product was impressive and it was clear that she was not prepared to compromise on quality. We talked about PR and marketing plans - and some specific ideas on messaging, social media, a website strategy and her plans for developing new markets. Together we discussed a range of interesting ideas and a launch strategy for the autumn, which we will help her with.
In our other meetings, we discussed a range of affinity, news and creative ideas that would help each of the organisations we met to bolster their public and media profile. On the back the national research we conducted among small businesses earlier in June, our advice days also underlined that many great and interesting small enterprises don’t have the budgets for much marketing and are not always aware of the benefits of simple and cost effective PR options that they can do themselves to help grow their businesses.
For our second day, the sun still shining, we ran an outdoor workshop in the glorious sunshine for a local financial adviser who was considering branching out into a new segment. Julia had bags of energy, vision and drive and the task was to build PR into her broader thinking. She embraced our ideas, our challenges and together we are helping her assemble a communications plan that should really help her make her new venture a success.
Over these two days, it was once again very clear that these business owners are passionate, driven and have a lot to be proud of. Small businesses really are a hub of ideas. That said, the economic climate is tough and many are aware that achieving success is challenging in this market. We get a lot out of meeting people and doing our little bit to help them. It is clear there is so much more to be done in this sector and we will maintain our commitment to supporting it well into 2013.
Thanks and our best wishes to the businesses we met and worked with last week. We’ll be back on the road again in September with our free advice days – and we hope the sun will once again shine.