I can’t quite believe it, but Foundation PR turns 10 this month and whilst the celebrations are on hold until later in the year (I am expecting a baby any day now!), I wanted to mark the milestone with a blog of the 10 things I have learned / advice to anyone thinking of starting a business:
1) Network, network, network – The financial crash happened my first year in business – I lost several clients in close succession as a result, but I did not give up. I networked like crazy and slowly but surely, built the business back up – and in 2010, took on my first employee.
2) You win some, you lose some – I’ve been lucky to have some amazing clients who have stuck by me for years (Jo Eccles, my first ever client, is still with me today) but the nature of business is that clients will come and go – do not take it personally and learn from all of them.
3) You win some, you lose some, part two – I’ve also had some fantastic employees over the years but naturally (and sadly), most young, career hungry employees are going to move on, or get poached – no one is irreplaceable (well, almost) so again, don’t take it personally and try to understand the motivation for them doing so.
4) Hire a mentor – I started working with my business mentor, Gerry McCormack, in 2010. He has been my absolute rock (and slave driver!) in difficult times. I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for me and Foundation PR.
5) Befriend the competition – I pride myself on building good relationships with people, and that includes “competitors” – I have won new clients thanks to other PRs who, for whatever reason, have not been able to take on the work and have recommended me. I am truly grateful to and have huge respect for my peers – we’re in this together!
6) Make a lasting impression – I’ve been contacted by old clients who have moved elsewhere several years later and are looking for PR support – if you treat everyone well and do the best job you can, you will be remembered.
7) Never stop learning – go on courses, join groups – try to continually develop your skills.
8) Utilise your support network – friends, family, suppliers, journalists, clients new and old – even ex employers – all have helped me in both business and personal life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
9) Try to enjoy yourself – running a business can be exhausting and incredibly stressful at times but also very rewarding – take time to step out of the business, have fun with clients and give yourself a pat on the back!
10) And the old favourite: try to establish a work/life balance – I must admit, at times, I have struggled not to let work consume me but I met my (now) husband in 2014 and became a parent two years ago; life changed considerably and I now try to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life! Ahem…
I want to thank all clients, employees, journalists, suppliers, friends and family for all their support over the last 10 years. May the roller-coaster ride continue into the next decade…!