December 19 2022
To share its 30-year anniversary with all PR and communications professionals around the globe, the Public Relations Global Network is sharing 30 pearls of wisdom from its senior members and agency leaders in 2022.
The 30 pearls – some of the network members’ best tips and advice polished in the past 30 years and dazzling to show direction for the next decades in PR and communications – were published in an eBook at PRGN’s anniversary meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, in May 2022. The eBook is also available for downloads on the opening page of the PRGN website.
Below is the last one of the 30 pearls re-run in the PRGN blog series in 2022. It is written by Sara Pearson, Founder and Chairman of Spider, PRGN's member agency in London, UK.
Spider pre-dates PRGN by two years. On January 1, 1990, I set out on a journey to build a PR agency. I knew very little – if anything – about business plans, balance sheets or exits. All I knew was I had three small children and I needed to make a living.
Did I expect to be doing $9 million per year 32 years later? Not a chance. I saw only the month ahead, year ends had little meaning, I focused on getting and keeping clients. By being so un-business as I see it now, I gave myself sleepless nights when they weren’t necessary, and sailed perilously close to the edge by not recognizing dangers.
Therefore, my first piece of advice to anyone starting out is have a plan. Do annual projections, keep a close eye on progress every single day.
Planning is king. Know your numbers, know your gross profit from your net profit, understand cashflow and learn to read and write a balance sheet.
When PRGN began, it was 15 years before Apple made mobile, six years before Google launched and two years before Facebook and the real start of social media. Correspondence was provided by postal service and desk phones rang pretty consistently, but only between 9 to 6 while we were in the office.
What marvelous advances we have benefited from in the intervening years. Imagine what the equivalent would have been in going to the office in 1990 carrying a full-size computer, a telephone, a radio, a camera plus a china mug of coffee for the journey to the office. While wearing stilettos by the way – no trainers then!
My second piece of advice would be to embrace change, constantly reviewing your business offering against the prevailing winds of change.
Don’t get stuck selling a service or a way of doing things that is inherently obsolete. Be early on the right bandwagons and keep pace with progress.
A final thought – has the world become a desert in the last 30 years? Is that why we can’t leave home without clutching a bottle of water?