• April 2014

Are You Ready to Supersize Your Small Business?

Consider this equation: Effective business strategy +
Savvy communications plan =
Consistent sales and business growth.

Simple, right? And it’s something most small-business owners instinctively understand. But knowing the formula is the easy part. Succeeding at PR and marketing requires a strong PR and marketing plan.

That’s why we are proud to release, PR Rules: The Playbook The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Supersizing Your Small Business With the 8 Steps to PR Success.

In 176 pages, entrepreneurs gain access to our Inkandescent PR Playbook, which features our effective 8 Steps to PR Success. It has helped hundreds of small-business owners maximize their visibility—and we are confident that it will help you, too.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

Part 1—The PR Playing Field. What is the difference between PR, marketing, advertising, sales, and social media? In this section we feature insights from eight experts in each field to help you understand the landscape.

Part 2—The 8 Steps to PR Success. From creating a stunning website (Step 1) to paying it forward (Step 8), you’ll learn what each tool in the PR toolkit is (and what it isn’t), why it’s important, and how you can use the PR toolbox to supersize your small business. Here are the 8 Steps:

1. Create a stunning website
2. Develop an explosive PR campaign
3. Make a splash in the news
4. Write a column in a magazine and launch a radio show
5. Network wisely
6. Join a speakers bureau
7. Write a book
8. Pay it forward

Part 3—8 Case Studies + Inkandescent Insights. What do the big players do to make their businesses glow and grow? In this section you’ll find case studies of 8 of our Entrepreneurs of the Month who are rocking their PR and marketing campaigns:

You’ll also discover:

  • The three mistakes we see many small-business owners make = “The Trifecta of Small-Business Failure.” A sneak peek is in this month’s Tips for Entrepreneurs.
  • What you are up against when it comes to pitching your story to reporters. We asked our friend Gene Weingarten, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose humor column, “Below the Beltway,” has appeared weekly in The Washington Post Magazine since July 2000. In May 2012, he penned Flack Yourself, a biting explanation of why reporters generally have contempt for PR folks.

Weingarten granted us permission to run it as the preface to our “Playbook.” And, he provided this testimonial: Hope Katz Gibbs is far less pathetic, incompetent, and shameless than most PR people. Her book actually contains some smart advice, not that any of those clueless frauds will take it. Here’s what others are saying about the Playbook.

“PR Rules” is also sprinkled with quotes we hope will inspire entrepreneurs, including this one from “We Bought a Zoo:” You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.

Here’s to your incredible, indelible, Inkandescent PR success.The PR Rules team: Hope Katz Gibbs, Kathleen McCarthy, and illustrator / designer Michael Gibbs

Why PR Rules

From “PR Rules: The Playbook—The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Supersizing Your Small Business.”

By Hope Katz Gibbs, with Kathleen McCarthy

Illustrations and design by Michael Glenwood Gibbs

As a small-business owner, you want to be featured in the news, right? So you hire a PR person to pitch your story to the media, or you do it yourself.

Here’s why it’s a challenge: Many journalists are wary of PR specialists, who sometimes act like pushy salespeople. Reporters believe their job is to provide readers with legitimate news—not copy for an ad. And they know that publicists are being paid to pitch a story, and that doesn’t sit well with people who make a living sniffing out the truth.

The key is to think like a reporter. Know their publications, their audience, and the stories they like to tell.

At The Inkandescent Group, everyone on our team has worked as a journalist. The reason we got into the PR business is the same reason we wrote PR Rules: The Playbook — to help small-business owners figure out how to best spread the word about what they are doing so their companies glow—and grow.

So what does it take to Supersize Your Small Business?

For a preview, check out the comments of a few of the industry experts whom we interviewed for the book, who share their advice in this issue:

• PR guru Lee Woodruff, author and broadcast journalist
• Marketing genius Guy Kawasaki, author of “Enchantment”
• Social media specialist Ronnie Bincer, Google+ Hangout guide
• Master of the soft sell Buddy Teaster, president of Soles4Souls
• Advertising expert Erin Hood, a TV producer at WJLA-TV

Before you try to generate any PR or news interest in your business, answer these three essential questions about you and your business:

1. What do you do? Tell us in under 30 words (the fewer the better). If you can’t, people will assume that you don’t know what you do. So think it through.

Example: The Inkandescent Group is a PR and publishing company that helps entrepreneurs get more visibility using 8 Steps to PR Success. (21 words.)

Your turn: What do you do?

2. Why do you do it? Is your business your passion? Does it get you out of bed in the morning? If you didn’t do this business, would it crush you? If you didn’t answer yes to those questions—stop reading. You aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

But if you answered yes, you are on the path to success. Passion is the key to every entrepreneur’s success. It takes a whole lot more than that to be successful, of course—time, patience, capital, and human resources—and an amazing product or service. But if your business is not in your guts, like a child or a lover, then you’ll never take it to the level you dream of.

Your turn: Why do you do what you do?

3. How do you do it? Now dive into the nitty-gritty. The devil is in the details, especially when a reporter is quoting you, or, even better, writing a story about your company. So be sure your message about your business is clear, concise, and as specific as possible.

Example: At The Inkandescent Group, our mission is to promote, educate, and inspire entrepreneurs about best practices in small business. To walk that talk, our team provides a series of services that help businesses get more visibility, and accomplish their business goals, including: building websites, crafting newsletters and magazine columns, to hosting radio shows, networking, writing books, and getting out on the speakers circuit.

Your turn: How do you do what you do?

We’d love to hear what you come up with! Click here to email us with your ideas, and to order your copy of PR Rules.

Click here to find out if you are suffering from the Trifecta of Small-Business Failure.

Are You Suffering From the Trifecta of Small-Business Failure? Good PR Can Help!

From “PR Rules: The Playbook—The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Supersizing Your Small Business.”

Available in April 2014

By Hope Katz Gibbs, with Kathleen McCarthy

Illustrations and design by Michael Gibbs

Why do so many small businesses fail?

Because the very characteristics that make an entrepreneur want to start a business are the ones that cause them to stumble.

Sitting on our publicist’s perch at Inkandescent PR, we have been privileged to work inside more than 100 companies—from solopreneurs and start-ups to multimillion-dollar corporations. We have helped them create fireworks, and we have witnessed their trials and tribulations.

From these observations, we culled the philosophy of the “Trifecta of Small-Business Failure.” These three traits can trip up even the most experienced entrepreneur. If your business is struggling, odds are good you are suffering from one or more aspects of the Trifecta. Not sure?

Then see if any of these monikers describe you:

1. The Control Freak

  • The Problem: When it comes to your business, have you ever thought this, or said aloud: “I want to do it all by myself,” “You’re not the boss of me,” or, “Everything is horrible; the sky is falling!” If so, you aren’t alone. Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to want to hold on tight to every single facet of their business. After all, being in control is why many people start their own companies. But beware: No one is good at everything. Even if you are, there aren’t enough hours in the day to think of, perfect, and execute all the necessary tasks required to ensure a business succeeds.
  • The Solution: So let go—delegate, share, outsource! Collaboration is the key to success. Find partners you trust, and build your business.

2. The Small-Picture Person

  • The Problem: Do you understand the icing-and-cake metaphor? If not, you may not be making the most of your core competencies—your “cake”—by leveraging them to make more money.
  • The Solution: Start by identifying your core competency, then step back and look at the big picture. Find all the additional revenue streams available—your “icing”—and incorporate them into your business. For example, if you are a chef and you are cooking only for your restaurant, then you are leaving money on the table. Consider catering or selling some of your products online. Don’t try just to break even. Aim to supersize.

3. The Win-Meister

  • The Problem: In this scenario, the “win” comes only when you beat someone else—at the game of business, and probably in other aspects of life. In fact, for years this philosophy was a popular way to succeed in business. But that has changed. Today, if your competition or colleagues have to lose for you to win, you are operating with an outmoded, inefficient model.
  • The Solution: To be more effective, embrace the 21st-century concept of winning—the win-win-win—in which you win, and your customers and colleagues win, too. And best of all, the world at large wins, too. Many Millennials work under this belief. If you don’t, you are not only behind the times—you are missing out on the next generation of sales.

The good news is that a strategic PR and marketing campaign can help.

But only if you as an entrepreneur start asking for help and accept guidance from the professionals who have a different sort of experience. Having a sophisticated strategy is the key. So is being patient about the timeline for your business success.

You’ll know you are on the right path when:

  • Your sales exceed your expectations.
  • Reporters consider you an expert, and are eager to hear what you have to say.
  • Feedback from customers is glowing, and they want more of what you are selling—in ways that you may have never thought of. Open up to their ideas for innovation. It could take your company to a new place.

And that’s the goal of our 2014 book, PR Rules: The Playbook. In its nearly 200 pages, we encourage you to play with the ideas and exercises, and dive into the expert interviews. We hope the information will inspire you to think about your business, and yourself as an entrepreneur, in new and exciting ways.

Go ahead—laugh out loud at yourself. We’ve all made the same rookie mistakes. After all, growth is an inside job. So be bold about discovering what holds you back, and find ways to leapfrog over the hurdles in your way.

Here’s to turning the Trifecta on its head!

Are you ready to supersize your small business? Then check out “PR Rules: The Playbook,” where you’ll have the opportunity to play with dozens of ideas and exercises, dive into expert interviews, and be inspired to think about your business—and yourself as an entrepreneur—in new and exciting ways. If you are willing to be bold about discovering what holds you back, and finding ways to leapfrog over the hurdles in your way, then use this book to help you create some fireworks! Order your book today by clicking here.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”

– Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc.

What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?”

– Jim Butcher, White Night

Education is an admirable thing to have, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

– Oscar Wilde

With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”

– Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”

– Charles Brower, Advertising Hall of Fame

You may ask me for anything you like except time.”

– Napoleon

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

– Magical

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”

– General Omar Bradley

Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength.”

– The Dalai Lama

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.”

– Ray Bradbury

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

You must have chaos within you, to create a dancing star.”

– Frederic Nietzsche

There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.”

– J. Robert Oppenheimer

Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead
and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good—on your mirror.”

– Susan Jeffers

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

– Steve Jobs

My task is really not to change myself but to become familiar with who I am.”

– Maureen Cook

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

It is to no purpose to turn away from the real nature of the affair because the honor of its elements excites repugnance.

– Carl von Clausewitz, On War

‎No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

I can’t go back to yesterday—because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

– Jalaluddin Rumi

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

– William Butler Yeats

My goal was to tell the life side of the story. We have become a nation of voyeurs that expect sensationalism, and that offends me.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

Treat the attainment of happiness in the same way an entrepreneur would approach building a business — with a vision, plan, goals, and a systematic approach.”

– Ted Leonsis

Ripeness is all.”

– William Shakespeare

Your own words are the bricks and mortar
of the dreams you want to realize.
 The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.”

– Sonia Croquette

A man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.”

– Chinese Proverb

Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.”

– W.E.B. Du Bois

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

– Christopher Morley

Many people prefer to play it safe when it comes to business matters. Are you willing to take risks in the pursuit of entrepreneurial success?”

– Steven Schussler

Inspiration and genius — one and the same.”

– Victor Hugo

‎That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity 
and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”

– Indira Ghandi

We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.”

– Douglas Coupland

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which obstacles vanish.”

– John Quincy Adams

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leon Joseph Suenens

They who give have all things. They who withhold have nothing.”

– Hindu Proverb

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

Traveling is one way of lengthening life, at least in appearance.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

– Mary Kay Ash

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.
 Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

– Ella Fitzgerald

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

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