PR company launch in Manchester: sweet success!
It’s a massive twelve months since I wrote this blog in the Autumn of 2016 about launching my own PR company, Sugar PR. What a year it’s been! I think I’ve discovered more about myself, business in twelve months than the previous fifteen years in the public relations industry.
Running your own PR company, or any kind of agency business, is not for the faint hearted. You have to live and breathe it 24/7 to make it succeed. My first year in business has been hugely positive: personally and professionally.
I’m conscious that I’m still on the first rung of the ladder in business terms (something I highlighted here in this interview with the Manchester Evening News) but there are a few ‘golden nuggets’ of advice that I’d give to anyone wanting to start up a new PR agency.
1) Get the right professional advisers
Get the right advisers from day one. I’ve been fortunate with my professional advisers – our bank, our lawyers, our accountants and our insurance company have all been brilliant. How did I pick these advisers? I picked them because they run their own company. All Sugar PR advisers run their own business. It means they understand the issues that are faced.
It makes a real difference when it comes to the nitty gritty of running a business that I, as a humble PR guy, know nothing about. Tax, VAT, intellectual property, contracts, employers liability insurance are the really dry areas of business – but absolutely essential to get right. If you want to know who I recommend for legal work, accountancy and insurance – drop me a line and I’ll be happy to share.
2) Enjoy your work
Work with good clients that you love. I took a stance from day one to only work with clients who are good at what they do, love what they do and have fun doing it. I didn’t launch my own PR company to work with clients who don’t have this ethos. I enjoy what I do and I want my staff to feel the same way.
I love all our clients and that’s a good way to feel. It’s so important to love what you do!
3) Turn down business
It’s tempting in the early days to take any business on that comes your way. We’ve turned down the opportunity to work with people in our first year because I felt the business wasn’t quite the right fit. Refer these leads to other PR agencies or offer these people some free advice and the love will come back. I’ve got great relationships with other PR companies and the community is an overwhelmingly positive one.
4) Get smart
When you’re the MD of a business (even small ones like mine) you get bombarded with sales calls/emails/direct messages from people trying to flog you stuff you don’t need. Have a good filtering process in place. We have a great receptionist at 76 King Street who is able to screen calls. If I accepted every call that came into the agency I’d never be off the phone.
5) Love your team
It’s important to look after your team. Not just financially but personally as well. Nobody wants to work for an asshole or someone with an ego. Suppliers and staff are truly the heart of your business. Look after them, pay them on time and spend time developing relationships. Massive thanks to all our amazing clients and suppliers – especially the brilliant Sara, Lucia and Lauren.
PR company plans in 2017/2018
I’m inspired by other PR agency MD’s in Manchester who are going on to do massive things with their own companies and careers. So, in a nutshell, the first twelve months has gone by quickly and successfully. I want to expand on this good start and maintain the ethos I set out from the beginning.
I’ve set some fresh goals for 2017/18 and I’m looking forward to implementing them. Here’s to another twelve years! Now, time to crack on…