I recently celebrated Succession Communications’ four-year anniversary while on a business trip to New Orleans, and I took some downtime to reflect.
It has been a whirlwind four years of growth and change, and the original Succession is almost unrecognizable now. Wonderful clients and partners were crucial to our success, and we are very fortunate to work with them. However, as a first-time business owner, a number of other keys to success have been surprises.
So, in honor of our anniversary, I would like to share my top four takeaways with you:
- Competitors are allies. In business, it’s second nature to beware of the competition. While it is fair to say that Succession has competitors, from day one (and even before), many other PR business owners were our greatest allies. They generously shared guidance, resources and talent. Some even shared office space. Most importantly, they shared business leads that were a better fit for Succession. I have found that the prevailing view among start-up PR firms is that the rising tide lifts all (small business) boats.
- Referrals are king. I am often asked how we land clients. Hands down–referrals are my number one source. Attending relevant events for networking is good, but it’s essential to tap into your existing network of colleagues, peers and former clients first. If they have worked well with you in some capacity before, chances are they will hire you again or recommend you to a client. Word of mouth has been vital to Succession’s growth.
- Size doesn’t matter. When I started my business, I thought that as a start-up, Succession’s client base would be mostly fellow small businesses. While we do represent several great start-ups, a broader range of businesses have hired us, including Fortune 500 companies. Also, we have enlisted Talent* who give Succession the scalability to represent businesses of all sizes with various needs. New business owners: Don’t assume that birds of a feather flock together; you might be limiting yourself.
- It’s no longer the Lisa Fels Davitt show. I chose not to name the company after myself because I wanted to create something bigger than me. And it is. When I hear clients talk about the work of Succession Communications or indicate they need help from Succession Communications, it makes me proud. I may be the founder, but Succession is not just my firm anymore. My teammates, clients and partners have helped mold it into what it is today.
To my readers — what surprising takeaways have been key to business success for you? Join the conversation and share your insights on our Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook threads.
Stay tuned to learn about several developments on the horizon, which will shape the four years ahead!
*The capital T is intentional here; those who’ve had the pleasure of working with my teammates will understand why.