As a Solo PR Pro, negative predictions about the economy can be unsettling. However, many solos have not only survived in a terrible economy but thrived. In fact, a downturn can be a boom period for Solo PR Pros, with companies needing the expertise and efficiency offered by solos. Below are a few tips for proactively preparing your business to weather any economic storm.
Solve the right problems. Public relations must be more than a tactic but a solution to a problem that the client cares about. Even in the best of economic times, if you are not able to demonstrate meaningful value, you risk your services being seen as an expendable commodity. To protect your business, learn to frame what you do in context of the problems you solve. Learning to articulate your value in this way will help you land higher paying clients in good and not-so-great times.
Stuck on how to do this? Every client needs business. They need to attract and retain customers. How does what you offer contribute to that process in a measurable way? Of course, there are many other problems that solo PR pros solve, but the key is to identify problems that your clients care about and frame how you solve them.
Increase business development. It is easy to get so busy doing the work that you forget to think ahead. Consistent business development is one way to safeguard your business. Put business development activities on your weekly schedule and stick to it even if you’re so busy that you can’t imagine bringing on another client.
When you maintain a full pipeline of leads, it gives you control over your business. With business lined up, you can scale your business up, or end client relationships that are not a great fit. Business development, is your ticket to the freedom you envisioned when starting your own business. If you have a consistent system of cultivating and nurturing leads, you avoid being stressed trying to close long-lead prospective clients, in a short time frame.
Develop a wait list Some Solo PR Pros use a waitlist to keep a steady flow of business. A waitlist is a nice alternative to turning business away when you’re too busy. You will be surprised by how many great clients are willing to wait a few months to work with you.
Prepare your budget. Review your budget and look at ways that you can trim unnecessary expenses. Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche has great tips on how to optimize the low hanging fruit in your budget. You can tuck away the money you were spending to increase your cash reserves. Having a healthy cushion to fall back on will give you peace of mind and ultimately that translates into better business. When you are not stressed about money (or threatened by the loss of it) you make better decisions about the clients you choose.
Create additional revenue streams. Being a solo PR Pro, does not mean that you are limited to a single income stream. Adding another revenue stream is a great way to smooth out your income. Create a course, start a workshop series, write a book or offer training in an area of expertise. You can also get creative and do something completely different such as become a wholesaler or make and sell your own product. Check out sites like Side Hustle Nation for ideas.
The economy is always going to have highs and lows but with a little preparation you can keep your business steady.