Taking Care of Business

 When Launching a Consultancy, Help Others, Stay True to Yourself

Yes, it is still a great idea to launch your PR business.

I’ve run my own PR shop for almost 30 years now, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made for my career. Soon after working as a TV news reporter, I decided to take the leap and open my own agency, even though it was during a time when there were very few Latina-owned PR or marketing firms. On top of that, there were few support networks or financing options to help women get started.

The ability to survive in the PR profession for a long period of time is a unique accomplishment. The business is tough. When starting your own business, the first thing to realize is that you become a brand that you must protect. Your name is your brand and it comes with a set of responsibilities, which you must be prepared for and ready to maintain.

Also, there is a level of corporate social responsibility that comes with starting your own company. As with anything you’re passionate about, it takes diligence, preparation and commitment to continuously perfect your craft and message. Knowledge of what’s trending and nonstop networking are important to building the business. Long-lasting success takes time.

Looking back, I recognize the milestones that helped my career evolve over the years. Before starting my PR agency, Comunicad, I knew I wanted it to be a national company specializing in multicultural communications that takes a brand from a simple concept to a new level of experience that is mutually beneficial for the client and the consumer. It’s about digging in deep to develop crossover strategies that are creative and innovative to reach the savvy consumers and generate impactful results.

For me, reaching that goal began with having what I refer to as “cultural intelligence” — honing in on the needs of my clients to help them (and me) stay relevant. From the beginning, I also had a short-term and a long-term plan for how I wanted to get from point A to point B and beyond. This plan included benchmarks and expectations along the way, such as expanding the network of people who I engage and brainstorm with, including boomers, millennials and Generation Z.

‘Live in your truth’ 
The definition of success has changed through the years, just as I have. Success has many forms for me today, but I remain steadfast in my values, principles and philosophy, which have guided me through every step. My overarching ounsel is to “live in your truth” as you seek to reach your goals without compromising your integrity and beliefs. The fits and starts of launching a business are par for the course, but it’s always been true that what you put out is what you’ll get back.

There are close to 10 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that generate more than $1.5 trillion in sales. And despite these great strides, we still have challenges along the way. Pay equity or access to the boardroom and decision-makers are just a few hurdles to overcome. Nonetheless, stay on task and hold yourself accountable every step of the way.Never give up on your dreams.

As you plan your new business venture, keep the following tips in mind:

* Define yourself by selecting three words that would best describe you and your new company.

* Know that life will not always turn out the way you plan it, so be flexible and remain committed as you adjust to new directions.

* Be ready to deal with everything. With many successes, there are an equal amount of challenges along the way.

*Realize that what you do today will impact your life and others around you, so be kind to those you meet along the way because they can be potential clients.

*Visit with the people who mentored, inspired and empowered you along the way.

Remember that relationships count 
Anyone can achieve success if he or she is hungry for it, but, in the process, know when to observe and listen if you want to learn. Part of our corporate responsibility comes with recognizing that we cannot achieve success on our own, nor can we accomplish anything alone, especially in the PR profession.

We all have had someone give us access to an opportunity that helped us reach our goals, so it’s important to always give back and help the next generation become stronger, smarter and better than we are today. I’ve made sure to stay in touch with the mentors who influenced my life, and I now take the time to mentor others to help them achieve success.

In the PR profession, relationships count and will serve you well when you need them the most, personally and professionally. So remember to always help others who come behind you, always do your best and believe that you can do anything no matter what others say.

By Gloria Rodríguez, President & CEO, Comunicad, LLC
Comunicad has been leading the conversation on Hispanic PR for more than 25 years 

Copyright 2017 by Public Relations Tactics. Reprinted with permission from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA.org)