Tuesday’s edition of my local paper, The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, had an enhanced business section. I looked through with new interest because of my recent work with Monadnock Oil & Vinegar (MOV). On large insert on page 17 was a call for business news by the paper. It outlined how to write an effective business press release. Seriously folks? If you are in business and don’t know how to communicate with your local paper, I don’t know how you have managed so far. The fact that the Ledger felt it was necessary to run this simple side-bar tells me local company owners are asleep at the wheel. I think they got their point across with the bullet entitled “Press Releases are not posters, fliers or website urls.”
My press releases about Therapeutic Misadventures resulted in stories by several local newspapers. The Holiday Book Fair garnered a little press and the past week has been a banner week for MOV. I can only take credit for getting their attention. The fact the our ABC affiliate had a healthy eating segment planed for their “Chronicle” show was sheer serendipity. But the producer did mention that my press release was what prompted them to call.
What struck me about the article in the paper was, why was it required in the first place? Why did they give up valuable real estate to educate? As you can see, at the bottom it says, “See page 18 in today’s paper for examples of press releases.” I flipped eagerly to the page, anticipating these examples. There were none, but I did find another article listing “10 Tips to starting a business.” They all made perfect sense and seemed intuitive enough, though lacking depth. As I read over them I remembered a remark I heard a customer make today, “You are so enthusiastic about this, I love it!” The remark was not aimed at me, but I smiled because if you don’t love your product, no one else will. They may buy it, use it and come back for more. If they love it, they will tell everyone about it for you.
This lead me to the rather disappointing conversations we had another day, with the neighboring store owners and vendors who stopped by. The topic was web site design and inevitably ended with someone saying, “Well, if you find someone good let me know.” I would think this was a boom market. Every new entity needs a presence and they need it fast. How can there be so much discord with business owners and their vendors for this service?
It’s not hard folks. Acknowledge what you love and do well. Delegate the parts of your business at which you don’t excel. Do you love keeping the books? Do the hours fly by when you are researching new suppliers or interviewing vendors? Then let someone else keep the shop, deal with the customers and most importantly, do the marketing.
While we are at it, another pet peeve of mine is the lack of decorum in business dress. Get a wardrobe! Doesn’t everyone have work clothes and weekend clothes? Don’t expect the world to take you seriously when you show up for your job in run-down sneakers and ill-fitting jeans. Pride in your appearance speaks to the pride you take in your work and products. You don’t have to wear a tie; a button-down shirt or polo with khaki pants are fine. Set a good example, even mechanics wear clean uniforms.
OK, I’ll get off that soap-box for the moment…