One big leap
Starting your own business is no small thing, and the matter of how to start a public relations firm is even more complicated since you’ll need to find clients all on your own.
But it’s also far from impossible, and we’re here to talk about how talented public relations professionals can thoroughly prepare for the founding of their own PR firms.
Considering the possibilities
Before we talk about the different ways that you can prepare to create your own PR agency, it’s very important to take some time to seriously consider your reasons for wanting to start your own business.
You need to be sure that this isn’t just a whim, that you will do whatever it takes to get your business off the ground and help it to thrive.
You can easily find videos online where business owners and entrepreneurs discuss their own beginnings, and many of these individuals also share horror stories about how tough it was to create a successful business from scratch.
One of the most important factors you need to consider is your own financial security. Starting a business of any kind can put your personal finances at risk, especially if you don’t have a backup plan in place.
In general, the more money you have available, the more confidently you can approach the idea of starting a business.
In the very early days of your PR firm, you’ll be doing all the funding yourself. Later on, if the business finds a moderate amount of success, you can seek outside investments.
But until that point, you will live and die by the strength of your business, so to speak. If the business is performing well, your bank account will benefit greatly. But if the business is going through tough times, your finances will take the hit.
Preparation is a crucial stage that can often make or break the future of a business. Let’s talk about what you can do to improve your chances of success.
If you already have an impressive reputation in the PR industry and you carry a certain amount of name recognition with people in high places, you might be able to secure outside funding even before your business has its paperwork filed (we’ll get to paperwork later).
But even if you have an impressive career behind you, you will still need to convince investors that you’re an expert in your line of work and you will be able to find many different clients to keep your business successful.
However, if you can do this, you and your business will have more funding, which means more time to get going and maybe even a staff member to help handle the details.
List potential clients
We’re assuming that if you’re about to start your own PR agency you already have a great deal of experience as a PR professional.
If this is the case, try to figure out who would potentially be interested in using your services. These should not be clients of your old PR firm. Poaching clients will burn bridges and earn you high-power enemies in the business world.
Instead, try to think of clients that your old firm was unable to secure, or consider others you’ve met through past networking efforts you might now be in need of a PR pro.
Make a list of all your potential clients and ask yourself whether these accounts would be substantial and consistent enough to sustain your business.
Create an elevator pitch
Whether you start attending business conferences or just go about your daily business, there will inevitably be people who ask what you do for work.
No matter who you’re talking to, this is your chance to sell others on your business.
This is why you need to have an elevator pitch ready ahead of time. If you’re not familiar with the term, an elevator pitch is a short speech you can deliver in 30 seconds or less, roughly the time it takes to ride an elevator.
Without sounding forced or rehearsed, your elevator pitch should communicate what your business does and why it’s special.
What makes your business unique? What advantages does it offer?
Take care of your paperwork
No matter where you live in the world, if you’re starting a business, then you’ll need to complete quite a few forms to make your business legal and operational.
This can affect your taxes, where you can conduct business, and what you’re legally allowed to do with your business.
Since the specifics of this process differ from country to country and state to state, we can’t list all the steps here, but you can easily find resources online that will walk you through the requirements for your location.
Create a business plan
Creating a business plan is one of the most essential things you’ll need to do before getting started.
It should make your mission statement clear, as well as your expenses, and project how you intend to grow your company over the next several years.
Having a well-tuned business plan in hand will also be extremely useful when you seek outside investment for your company.
To wrap up, let’s talk briefly about how you can expand your business once you’ve been able to secure several clients.
At the very beginning, you should try to put any extra income right back into the business, rather than right into your personal bank account.
Do you have more work than you can possibly handle on your own? Consider hiring a staff member who would be able to handle clerical duties or even help you find new clients.
Getting tired of running the entire business out of your home? Look into modest local office spaces that are currently available to rent.
You will continue to expand your business for years to come, but these first few steps can be especially important for earning the confidence of your clients and even bolstering your own confidence in what you’ve been able to accomplish so far.