Public relations is good for your business

Getting along with the people who affect your business is of benefit to your pocket

In Summary

• PR goes beyond customer service to include all other players who affect the business

Public relations
Public relations

Public relations seems like something big companies do, right? Public relations is equally important for small businesses because bad relations may result in huge financial losses.

Public relations goes beyond merely organising glamorous events. The Public Relations Society of Kenya describes PR as a process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation (or business) and its customers, employees, media, government and business partners. PR is, therefore, an ongoing process, not a one-off event.

PR goes beyond customer service to include all the other players that affect the business. You may have a very good product attracting lots of customers but it is equally important to have good relations with your employees, suppliers, government officials, bankers and anyone else you interact with. Having a good relationship with your landlord is certainly good PR.

The opposite rings true. A bad relationship with the people who impact your business will be very costly. Poorly treated employees can sabotage the business. Suppliers can refuse to deliver goods the business needs. A landlord treated without decorum can order the eviction of the business. Even your neighbours are stakeholders that should be handled with consideration.

How does one go about building good PR with a small budget?

Deepen community relations: It pays to get along with the community in which you are doing business. Become an active member of the community by linking up with influential groups and individuals in the area. Attend events to get exposure for your business, promote new products or services, build public confidence in your business and share information.

By becoming an active member of the community, you can raise your business profile and level of influence, attract more customers through word of mouth and ensure your interests are considered when decisions are made. Greater visibility will help you identify potential business partners.

Nurture good employee relations: Internally, business owners should develop good relations with employees. Happy staff will say good things about you wherever they go. Think about initiatives that will promote information sharing, foster teamwork, instil a sense of pride in business achievement and develop leadership skills. The benefits of an involved workforce include better collaboration, higher staff retention and greater productivity.

Partner with influencers: E-commerce giant Alibaba, which itself started as a small business, recommends collaborating with influencers to get your business known. For example, a fitness influencer could become an ambassador for your gym. One need not go for the nationally known influencers who will ask for very high fees. In every area, whether a county, a town or an estate, there's always someone on social media whose opinion is valued by the locals.

Resolve conflicts: Disagreements and misunderstandings will inevitably arise in any business transaction. Strive to resolve conflicts promptly before they turn into enmity. Remember that good business is a win-win for everyone.

PR is, thus, not a luxury only for big companies. Any business can and should practise good PR. Getting along with the people who affect your business is of benefit to your pocket.

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