Small Business or Startup?
When living in a time of sprouting entrepreneurs, and with an intrigue to become one, you might catch yourself asking what the difference is between a small business and a startup?
When I ventured into the uncharted realm of ‘solopreneurship’ I caught myself asking the very same thing.
Essentially both are small businesses in nature with just a slight difference in functionality, characteristics, and purpose.
Small businesses, startups or anything of the like is born and bred by entrepreneurs. People like you and I. Either a one-person show or a group of individuals whereby a business is devised of a solution originated from a problem, targeted for a large audience. In the end, they are the warriors who had an idea, a vision and worked tirelessly to execute it make it a reality.
The single thing that sets a startup apart from a traditional ‘mom and pops’ is that they are known to be more technical in nature usually; an app, program software or web tool designed and developed to serve a bigger market. It may include partnerships, multiple shareholders or investment funding which provide a business model that can be rapidly scalable.
While hard work and grit are inherent commonalities, here are 5 linear but vital components to any startup.
1. A solution to a problem
2. A website, and workspace
3. An audience or target market
We can no longer deny that our world is leaning towards a digital revolution or better yet what I argue to be a long-awaited variation of the enlightenment age. The succession of a New Age Philosophy causes us to acknowledge our capabilities and become self-sufficient thanks to advances in technology and the explosion of digital tools apps and programs to get us further. We are more connected, informed and engaged. Why does this matter? We are now at an advantage.
Everyone and I mean anyone, has the ability to participate. And it shows.
“The U.S alone now has 27 million entrepreneurs and Canada behind them with 2.7 million as of 2015” cites inc.com and the Globe & Mail.
So if that’s you, we thought it would be best to first describe what we mean by digital PR. In other words, why having a well-established website and a positive online presence are prudent and the lifeline to your new business as it is synonymous with growth. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The Reason Entrepreneurs Don’t Hire PR Firms
Among many entrepreneurs, PR is one of the most under-utilized marketing tools and for good reason. Most small businesses would never consider hiring a PR firm simply because it can really cut into expenses and others won’t even think about it.
Well, I wouldn’t be the first to say that firms can be hefty overhead. We get it.
Here’s the issue with this. To think that what you have created is enough to generate some sort of buzz couldn’t be further from the truth. The media or even readers won’t look your way until they know what makes your product or service buzz worthy. What makes it different and why do people care? Until then, it’s….so what!?
People who believe that PR is a luxury are either unaware of the dramatic changes and impact it can have on your business or they are just not even informed about what public relations really is and how it can serve your business. PR can be elusive to a new entrepreneur, however, nowadays, there are far more options when it comes to the field of public relations and in some ways has taken on a whole new meaning. PR, Image or Creative Consulting and Social Media Marketing are dominating the industry and now becoming more prominent in the entrepreneurial sphere. The definition of exposure and growth has ultimately changed leaving it in the hands of the content creators, tech-savvy enthusiasts, and digital nomads.
Small courses on how to crush Google Adwords and how to create Insta-worthy photos have overshadowed the intricacies of older public relations practices.
Digital PR Today
Traditional PR has been defined as “a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics according to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Put simply, PR is a communication process that is looking to build, repair or manage between either brand, company or individual and the public. Diverse strategies to accomplish this would be in the realm of event coordination, crisis communication, reputation management, trade shows, sponsorship opportunities and/or press release distribution.
The communications and media landscape has changed drastically in the last decade, whereby we don’t just communicate and disseminate information through traditional forms, but everyone has the ability today to create and impact trends and influence a large following. PR today has evolved and expanded predominantly onto the digital world new methods can consist of partnering with bloggers and influencers who have become key players in the social media sphere, content creation, and writing.
Millennials have discounted old forms of media outlets like newspapers, tv, and radio and focusing more on anything web related. The facts show that they are a big part of why the game has changed and the facts show we can’t ignore it. PR today has adapted to this growing marketplace and has taken on new practices.
What Does This Mean For Your Business
With so many tools and apps online today, the skillset and talents are changing constantly. Having to keep up can be challenging especially when beginning your business, startup or website. Getting on top of industry trends and getting on board to get your business out there is equally important as creating an impeccable product or service.
Publicists generally have a Rolodex of media contacts who they engage with, whereas if you’re starting out, you may not have access to the Toastmasters and the heavy hitters just yet. This is precisely why building your brand and a social online presence is vital.
Starting with a social media portfolio whether you have a website or not will do many things for your business when starting out.
Here are 10 reasons why.
- You have control over your message and any product placement
- Your company’s voice and vision is always communicated
- Helps you generate feedback based on direct engagement
- Builds your brand and identity
- You can make mistakes and practice with design
- You can manage reputation and resolve customer issues
- Induce trust, credibility, and authority
- Able to consistently promote
- Drive traffic
- Potential to generate buzz and virality
If this is all new territory to you, then it might be wise to pass the baton and allow someone else to take the reigns and help you grow so you can focus on your business or product and continue being the creator that you love to be.
Hiring A Digital Publicist or Creative Consultant
With so many applications, tools and apps and the size of the social media scope, it’s more important than ever to get it right. This is why outsourcing these tasks can be monumental and the biggest time savers for you and your business. Taking on marketing, extensive content creation and promotion could prolong success and without taking any metrics into account could also involve a monetary loss.
We understand the worry and difficulty that comes with the overwhelming task of having to start a business, therefore hiring a Digital PR or Creative Consultant could make all the difference. This could entail consulting or implement practices for growth hacking, social media, press releases, coordinating relationships with bloggers and influencers and content creation, media kit development and so on.
When it comes to being on the web and producing digital content, results are tangible, adjustable and authoritative. Digital platforms are far-reaching where content is shareable with the potential for a strong and immediate impact.
The digital PR process is robust combined with marketing that entails measurable and insightful results and growth, such as tracking user experience and feedback, monitoring engagement, clicks, heat maps, metrics, A/B testing and reviewing sources of where your audience comes from that could expedite change to accommodate your industry landscape.
The ideal end goal is to grow and provide the right product for the perfect audience.
“Companies or startups try new iterations until they achieve what growth hackers call Product Market Fit. The end goal is to have the product and its customers in perfect sync with each other.”
This is growth hacking. Here’s a startup example.
Instagram grew from a location-based social network to attract a core group of users and more than $500, 000 in funding when the founders realized their users flocked to only one part of the app.
In a world where shares dominate and viral content is valued and sought after, the elements of PR has brought on a new set of principles and professionals. If you know you want to be online then digital PR is the way to go. Don’t let the confusion and overwhelm stop you from being a creator and innovator. Let us take off the burden from you and help you build your brand, business, and online presence.
Holiday, R. (2013, 2014). Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer On The Future Of PR, Marketing and Advertising. P.33-34