How to Big Up Your Business
words by Pippa Goulden, Founder of The PR Set.
‘This is hard. If you’re running your own business at the moment, you’re more than likely juggling, throwing those balls in the air and trying not to drop the most important ones. It feels pretty relentless doesn’t it?
A lot of the small business owners I work with know they should be promoting their business but often don’t know where to start, or feel so overwhelmed by their to do list, that they put it off. Here are my top tips on how to start getting your business talked about:
- Get in the right mindset – I see this a lot with small business owners. If you’re telling yourself you can’t then you definitely won’t. Reframing the way you talk to yourself and telling yourself you can is key to you putting yourself out there (trust me, I’ve been there and got the t-shirt). We often put off doing something with the veiled excuse of waiting for it to be finished or perfect. But actually, you’re much better just going for it and making tweaks along the way. It’s your story and experience that people will be interested in – and in all honesty is anything ever actually perfect anyway?
- Understand Your business objectives – Know why you’re doing what you do. If your plan is to raise investment this year, you’re going to have a different focus to a business owner who is just starting out, or is trying to keep things ticking over until the kids are back at school. None of these are less important than the other, but if you don’t know what you’re working towards then you’re going to find it hard to build a strategic plan around your goals.
- Break it down – If you’re staring at a long to do list of things you want to do to promote your business, it can feel massively overwhelming. They key to this is breaking it down into bitesize pieces. Look at what it easiest for you to achieve and start there. Give yourself targets across a three-six month period and then work backwards to give you timeline of how you can achieve it.
- Be visible – show up. If the thought of putting yourself out there makes you feel ick, then you’re not alone. But people buy from people and being visible as a small business owner can really help to build your brand and help your audience get to know you. If you think it feels too sales-y, a great tip is to rethink how you see what you’re doing. Focus on who you’re serving with your business – who benefits from what you do? It might be the joy that someone gets from receiving one of your products, or the difference you’re making to someone’s day through your services.
- Know your audience. This is key to understanding who you’re talking to and where to find them and is so important for making sure you’re not wasting your efforts and promoting your business in the wrong place. It’s also really important to remember that you are not your audience. Get to know them, know what media they read, where they’re hanging out online, what other brands they’re into. This will really help you to be targeted in your efforts trying to reach them and mean you’re not wasting time on things that aren’t going to shift the dial for you.
- Collaborate – If there’s anything that the past year has taught us, it’s the power of community and collaboration. The businesses that are thriving are the ones who have picked others up when they’re down, who’ve found innovative ways to support their community, whether that’s physical or virtual. When people come together to raise each other up good things happen. Use your social media channels to champion other people, to celebrate and to nurture relationships with like-minded business owners. Find your tribe – there are so many different places where you can discover people to collaborate with and open up opportunities for your business.
- Use your network – PR isn’t just about getting press coverage. There are so many ways you can get your business talked about and your network is a great place to start. You may think that your network knows what you do and there haven’t been any opportunities to come from it. BUT, have you actually reached out to them to collaborate, to suggest ways you can work together, to ask them? My challenge to you? Write a list of at least ten people within your network who have a business that complements yours. Then write down some ideas where you can collaborate. Insta lives, co-hosting a webinar, shared blog posts, creating a limited-edition product. There are lots of ways you can work with another business and by lifting each other up, everyone benefits.
- Break it down – If you’re staring at a long to do list of things you want to do to promote your business, it can feel massively overwhelming. They key to this is breaking it down into bitesize pieces. Look at what it easiest for you to achieve and start there. Give yourself targets across a three-six month period and then work backwards from there to give you timeline of how you can achieve it.
Pippa Goulden is a small biz PR expert and founder of www.theprset.com, offering a flexible approach to PR for small business. She is on a mission to make PR accessible for indie brands and offers a range of services, including her DIY PR membership to give you the knowledge and confidence you need to do your own PR.