Articles: Anthony Mora Communications
How to Succeed in Business With a Little Help From Oprah
Single Living Magazine
By Anthony Mora
Building a business or launching a career is hard enough, but going it alone can make that uphill climb seem even steeper. So how do you keep yourself focused and motivated without that special someone to discuss ideas with, lean on and rely on? First and foremost, it's important that you decide on your objectives and stay focused. Your career or business is not
simply a new venture that will (hopefully) add more zeros to your bank account, it's the start of a new life, an odyssey you're genuinely excited about. Next, to help get through those tough times, it's important to set up a support system.
Just because you're doing this as a single doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Surround yourself with friends, family or other entrepreneurs who can empathize with your problems and offer solutions.
Let's say you have the essentials: You love your job or career, you have a basic business plan (it could be just a handwritten page), you believe you can succeed and you have surrounded yourself with supportive people. Now what? How do you expect to spread the word about your business? Look around you. Your greatest marketing tools are sitting in your living room or bedroom, lying on the coffee table and resting on your night stand - your TV magazines, newspapers, radio and the Internet. Haven't you ever learned about a product or service by hearing, seeing or reading about it on the news?
Imagine picking up USA Today and reading an article on YOU or your company, or turning on the evening news and watching a segment profiling you and your product or service - that is effective media placement. A form of public relations, media placement is comparatively inexpensive and remarkably effective. There is no more powerful single business tool available to you than the media. Through the media, you can validate your business, establish yourself as an expert in your field and watch your dream grow - that is the magic of media.
Success on a Shoestring
Great, you think, but who am I? How the heck am I going to get interviewed by the media? The same way everybody else does. Learn the secrets of media placement, be creative and don't give up!
I have seen both large and small businesses grow and flourish because of media exposure. I have seen careers prosper and reach new heights. But who has the money to launch a public relations campaign, you ask? You do. Effective media placement isn't limited to companies or individuals with huge marketing budgets. It is open to anyone who has determination and is willing to learn how to develop story ideas and "pitch" them to reporters, editors and producers.
If you have the means to hire a professional, I suggest you do - it will save you quite a bit of time and effort. If you don't have the funds to hire a professional, do it yourself. If yours is a start-up or small venture and you're looking to launch an effective media campaign, money and size are not the issues - knowledge, determination and consistency are what it takes.
We all know that the cornerstone of any business is positive referrals, or word-of-mouth. TV appearances and magazine interviews are some of the most amazing forms of referrals available. Hundreds, thousands and potentially millions of people will learn about you. You become known as an expert in your field. Appearing in the media not only spreads the word to your target market, it can keep you going when times are tough. Print, TV or radio exposure helps bring in more business, but it also helps by giving you positive reinforcement and the confidence to believe that you are succeeding. It fortifies your belief in yourself.
So, maybe you don't have that spouse sitting across the couch from you giving you moral support and telling you how great you are, but that's not going to stop you. If you're starting a business or working on a career that you believe in and are excited about, do the necessary homework, surround yourself with a positive support system, and you'll be just fine. And it doesn't hurt to turn on the TV and watch your business profiled on the evening news. Who knows who's watching? Think about it. You could end up with more than just a new customer.
The Alchemy of Success
Put the phone down. You're not ready to call Oprah...yet. First, cover the basics: Define your business or service. Do it in one short paragraph. Write another brief paragraph that describes what makes your business or career special, interesting and newsworthy. This can take some time. But believe me, in all my years in public relations, I have yet to come across a business or person who didn't have an interesting story to tell.
Define your target market. Who is your audience? You may have the best product or offer the best service in the world, but if you've picked the wrong target audience, you are going to fail. More businesses than you think have done everything right and gone belly-up because they were targeting the wrong audience. Create a focus group. But how do you know exactly who your market is? This can take some work and soul searching, but the upside is you don't have to do this all on your own. Call your friends and put together some informal focus groups. Serve wine and cheese, and you'll be surprised to discover how people are willing to tell you how to launch and run your business. Get prepared for an earful. Listen to everyone's suggestions, but don't be swayed by every new idea. You may want to join, or perhaps even start a support group for entrepreneurs. You can share ideas, mull over new strategies and network. Who knows who you'll meet?
You have defined your message and your market and narrowed your demographics. What now? Trust me, you're already ahead of the game. You have done work that most people tend to ignore. Now you are ready to start practicing the art which can change your business, your career and your life: "the alchemy of success." -A.M.
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