In Canada, which is where I am based, the vast majority of businesses are those that can be classified as SMEs (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises.) A great many of these businesses are run by a single individual or very limited partnerships, where everyone involved wears many hats, and is responsible for a great number of things in their company.
When I left the agency business, with the skill sets I had developed there, I looked around at the market for my services and very quickly determined that there was a lot I could do to help these small businesses grow through effective communication. But
I had a young family to raise, and all kinds of corporate agency experience to call on, so instead of jumping into my long term plans, I began developing partnerships with a number of marketing companies and boutique communications firms.
A Valuable Detour
While it delayed my entry directly into the small business market, it did allow me to further develop my skills working with much more entrepreneurial communications professionals and learning the art of creating outstanding communication in a leaner and meaner environment than the luxury suites of the big budget agency world.
One of the key things I did master during this period was an expanded view of the way I thought about companies, from the confines of writing and art direction to the larger canvas of communications strategy, corporate identity and branding. Without this stage in my development, I really could not have moved as confidently into the SME market. In many ways what I thought was a detour, was actually another lane on the experience highway.
Back On Track
So 10 years ago, I left that world and set out on my own to develop business in the SME sector. The big issue there is the Catch 22 I alluded to in the title of this post.
It goes something like this:
In order to establish your company’s identity and create a real brand for your product or service, you need a corporate identity and ongoing communications that are as good as or better than your most serious competition.
Unfortunately, for most companies, this is much easier said than done because the number of people or the organizations you would need to make this happen are, to most SMEs, pretty much unaffordable.
It didn’t take many conversations to identify this as the major Catch 22, and as such it gave me the basis for the business strategy I employ now. This, in a nutshell, says that: without any additional personnel, I can create a communications strategy, and execute corporate identity and marketing communications, (writing, art direction & production in all media), and can offer economies of scale that make this process both creatively effective and affordable.
Something To Think About
The whole idea behind moving an SME forward is to have relationships with people who are experienced, passionate and equipped to handle whatever is needed to create high quality communications for that business.
There are not a lot of people like me around. But the they are out there. Mostly they older and much more experienced. They also have worked on both sides of the digital revolution and always factor both segments into their thinking.
If you are an SME, and you understand everything you have just read, then you have the basis for finding the right individual in your area to help you get your communication program up and running or retooled, and beating the communications Catch 22 at its own game.
If you ‘d like to know more feel free to download my ebook: Small Business Communications For The Real World. http://tinyurl.com/nqlgtu3
Jim Murray, Creative Director
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Web Site: www.onandup.ca
Small Business Presentation: http://tinyurl.com/lnrp3fg