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How to Succeed in Business: Tips From a Public Relations Specialist

Sherry Goldman and I go way back. Her ethos as a public relations expert jells nicely with what we at TEND Strategic Partners try to do for the entire enterprise: begin with a vision, plan it out, and take action.

Communication is critical for success. Without it, companies are nearly bound to fail. Sherry’s expertise as a communications expert and business owner deliver a package deal I’m sure you’ll find helpful.

Ladies and germs, Sherry…

David: How did you arrive on your current path?

Sherry: Quite unexpectedly. I had never heard of public relations in college. I majored in communications with a business minor; I was a news junkie, intent on working in the broadcast and news businesses. I did a year-long full-time internship at WCBS-TV, working on the assignment desk for the 6pm and 11pm newscasts, which I loved, but when hiring freezes prevented me from being hired permanently, I freelanced at various local and network news shows and then landed a job as an editor at a trade publishing company. After several years, one of the public relations people who I dealt with regularly (his key client was DuPont and I was the fashion editor of Sporting Goods Business magazine at the time) asked me if I was interested in “jumping to the other side,” because he knew an agency that was looking for someone who knew fashion and sports and was willing to teach the public relations fundamentals.

It seemed like a great opportunity — it combined my interest in news/journalism with my loves of fashion, sports, and business/marketing, would allow me to expand my career, and it paid $1,000 more than my editorial job. I interviewed for the job and was hired. I’ve been in public relations ever since. I worked at several agencies, including as Senior Vice President of two of the largest agencies in the world, until I one day decided to take this experience, combine it with my entrepreneurial blood, and start my own public relations agency, which I did in 1996. It’s been a great ride and a great career.

David: If you could advise business owners to take one action to improve profitability, what would it be?

Sherry: Value your product and your expertise and communicate that clearly and non-apologetically to everyone. In my business, we sell our expertise, but our product is really our time. That time is used for counseling, writing press materials, working with media, planning events, implementing social media programs, and more. But no matter what we do for clients, it’s our expertise and our time they are buying. This means I must create client budgets that carefully take into consideration how much time it will take to do the job effectively and successfully and, once we get the assignment, we must stay close to that allotment of time.

Spending twice as much time as budgeted might make us seem busier, but it will not generate us more revenue, and, in fact, will devalue our product and decrease profitability. We can negotiate on budgets we recommend for clients, but that negotiation must always be before we get started and in conjunction with negotiation on the deliverables. We can match the best deliverables to fit any client’s budget needs, but we can’t “do it all” for less money.

David: What can external resources bring to a business that internal employees can’t…and vice versa?

Sherry: I think the most important things external resources bring to a business that internal employees can’t are objectivity and context: objectivity in that while we are vested in our client’s success, we are not “owned by them” so we can look at situations critically and without bias, allowing us to bring the needed advice, recommendations, and solutions that often can’t be seen or recommended, without fear of recourse, internally. We also bring context. As outside consultants we often understand how internal situations have played out in other companies (both in your industry and in others) and can bring that knowledge and best practices to our clients.

David: What was the most important thing you did to grow your own career?

Sherry: The most important thing I did to grow my own career is to never stop trying to learn. I am constantly keeping up with new trends and networking with people in all industries to see what they are doing for their clients, share case studies, learn new best practices, so I can bring them to my clients.

David: What traits do the most successful people share?

Sherry: I think the traits that most successful people share are passion and perseverance. Passion because you have to love what you do to always want to do it better, smarter, continually, and successfully. Perseverance because it is never an easy road; it is full of bumps, setbacks and disappointments. Successful people look at these bumps as learning experiences. We may carry scars from them, but we never allow them to stop us.

Sherry Goldman is the Founder of Goldman Communications Group, Inc. You can reach her by email or phone, at 718-224-4133. You can also visit her website here.

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About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.

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