• 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.

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

– General Omar Bradley

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading.”

– Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop

The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

Remember that it’s okay to ask for help when you’re stumped, because sometimes you really can’t be expected to handle everything alone.”

– Martha Beck

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

A man without a smiling face
 should not open a shop.”

– Chinese Proverb

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

– Gandi

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

– Thomas Edison

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

We never know how high we are
 till we are called to rise;
 And then, if we are true to plan,
 Our statures touch the skies.”

– Emily Dickinson

You don’t go into a field that requires cracking people’s heads open or operating on something as delicate as the spinal cord unless you are comfortable with taking risks.”

– Dr. Ben Carson

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

– William Shakespeare

To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.”

– Anna Pavlova

Look at everything as though you were
seeing it either for the first or last time.
Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”

– Betty Smith

Do you have the desire to create something new; the strength of conviction to believe your creation will be successful, and the reservoir of energy necessary to thrust it into the marketplace?”

– Steven Schussler

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing.”

– Maya Angelou

If you would create something,
 you must be something.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you were independently wealthy and never had to work a day in your life, would you still choose to spend your time attempting to become a successful entrepreneur?”

– Steven Schussler

No longer talk at all about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be such.”

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”

– E.B. White

This is the age when magical technologies make more and more radically fun ideas plausible, even easy. You’re only limited by your creativity.”

– Martha Beck

Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”

– Corita Kent

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

– Joseph Campbell

We are not meant to resolve all contradictions, but to live with them and rise above them.”

– William Blake

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

– T.S. Eliot

“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.

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

– Ray Bradbury

When I was younger I thought success was being a star, driving nice cars, having groupies. But today I think the most important thing is to live your life with integrity.

– Ellen DeGeneres

A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.”

– Albert Schweitzer

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln

There is little success where there is little laughter.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Don’t wait for someone else to lead you to your right life; that privilege—and responsibility—is yours alone.”

– Martha Beck

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Anything not worth doing well is not worth doing.”

– Warren Buffett

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

– Seneca

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

– General Omar Bradley

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”

– Edgar W. Howe

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

Destiny is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

– William Jennings Bryan

Who cares if my glass is half empty or half full; I still have something to drink.”

– Optimism rules

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

– Mary Oliver

When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

– Audre Lorde

The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature.”

– Muhammad Yunus

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. 
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”

– Mary Jean Irion

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

Do not be afraid of mistakes, providing you do not make the same one twice.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.”

– Barack Obama

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