|PWR New Media is excited to be celebrating ten years in business this month. We’ve had a few ups and downs…and maybe even gone sideways once or twice. But we’re proud of the business, and relationships, we’ve built over the past decade and we appreciate the role so many of you have played in helping us grow.
To celebrate this milestone, we wanted to share the most important lessons we’ve learned on this grand adventure: ten years, ten lessons.
1. It’s all about people
Of all the things we’ve learned, this is the most important. We can talk about technology and price points and metrics all day, but when you get right down to it, our business is, and always has been, about making people’s lives easier, helping people do their jobs better, and enabling people to communicate with other people more effectively.
Our most valuable business assets are our relationships.
2. Sometimes it pays to zig when everyone else zags
Every project we touch is, in one way or another, about communication. And in the busy, cluttered-up world we live in, making your communications pieces more engaging and surprising is worth the extra time, effort, and money.
A creative approach pulls more eyeballs; more eyeballs render better results.
3. Old-school sticky is sticky for a reason
We’re a digital, storytelling shop in our hearts and we’re eternally geeked out about bringing a creative touch to everything we do. But we’ve learned the hard way that sometimes it’s always been done a certain way because that way just really works.
Don’t reinvent the wheel if the wheel is rolling like a boss.
4. The forest matters…so do the trees
Keeping an eye on the many big and small elements that come together to create a brand message can be a challenge. We’ve learned that there is no way to really deliver on strategic goals without a committed focus on the many small details that great tactical execution entails. It’s not the fun part of our jobs, but we know how much it matters.
Even outstanding strategies only work when paired with exceptional tactical execution.
5. Nimble isn’t just for Olympic gymnasts
As a small organization, we’ve reaped many benefits from our ability to stay nimble and move quickly. Some of our most effective communications pieces have been the result of quick action, changing our minds half way through a project when a better path sprung in front of us. When clients can adjust quickly as well, we all reap the rewards.
Keep your eyes on the prize, but if a better path to your goals suddenly pops up, consider a speedy course change.
6. Brave pays off
Running a small business takes patience, hard work, and an awful lot of fortitude. But we’re not the only brave ones. We’ve found that clients who have the courage to try new things, even when they know it may not work out, are the clients who get the biggest wins.
If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll be afraid to try. Embrace the “try.” Celebrate the successes and learn fast from the failures.
7. Collaboration is fun… and effective
We have the greatest clients in the world and genuinely enjoy collaborating with PR and marketing firms, Nonprofits, small business, and the many fabulous orgs we work with. But the process of collaborating—brainstorming and interactive conferences and all that it entails—isn’t just for fun. Projects that benefit from diverse inputs are more unique, more interesting, and more effective.
Collaboration is not about everyone getting their own way. It’s about everyone being heard, then rallying around the best solution.
8. Lead with your strengths and manage your weaknesses
Just like people, all organizations have strengths and weaknesses. We’ve learned to make organizational strengths the center of messaging tactics. But we’ve also learned to be mindful of weaknesses. You can’t manage what you’re ignoring. Finding partners whose strength are your own weaknesses can help.
Eliminating weaknesses is an unachievable goal; lead with strengths and manage, or outsource, weaknesses.
9. Test assumptions
We all carry a myriad of assumptions with us. It makes organizing life easier. But it is essential to change perspectives and test assumptions. And sometimes, it’s worth testing them again and again. Because things change.
Metrics are great. Engagement is better. Metrics should follow, not lead. And if you’re doing it right, they will.
10. Give back
We’ve benefited from a tremendous amount of support from the many terrific people we’ve worked with over the past ten years. We don’t take this for granted. And we always try to give a little back.
Sharing ideas, time and passion is a business do!