As a small business owner, did you know that it was okay to check out your competitors’ websites? Sometimes you should do a little more digging around to find out more about your competitors’ services. As a public relations practitioner, I often myself dig into my online competitors’ cut-rate PR services. Most don't even have telephone numbers or physical addresses posted online.
You know what?
That's a red flag!
After reviewing public records on some companies, I made some startling discoveries. Believe it or not, some "PR practitioners" are also lingerie retailers, web designers, and who knows what else. One company that has only existed for about five years claims it has been in business for two decades. That would make the owner of the company a teenager when she launched her business and the facts are that her company didn't exist even ten years ago.
My advice to you (small business owners and entrepreneurs) is that before you contract any kind of service online, it is good business sense to do your "due diligence," like...
- Look for a physical address (sometimes, there are online companies operating from a home base, but to disguise it uses a P.O. Box as their mailing address. This is okay… no real alarm here.)
- Look for a phone number (a toll-free number would be great, because it wouldn’t cost you to make the call, but it doesn’t really matter. Even a Skype ID will do), call it and try to reach a real, live human being.
- Check to see if they are on any social network (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) This one alone shows real-time activity, and a lot more information on businesses and their operators.
- If there’s an eMail address, send an enquiry to see how quick you get back a response, and also note the quality of the response, and whether there is signature block with a real name.
In this age of internet scams, it can never be said enough: do your research, be careful, and follow-up on testimonials. Do business with real people – and it doesn’t matter whether they are online or they have a real Brick and mortar
Real People. Real PR. That's Whyte-Hall Communications
If you respond to this post in the next 7 days - just drop us a note in the comment box - I will schedule a free ten minute phone call for you to discuss your public relations or press release needs with me. I'll even help come up with possible PR campaign or press release ideas if that is what have you stumped.
Cheers to doing business with real people online!
Delroy A. Whyte-Hall
Founder/CEO, Whyte-Hall Communications
Phone: (876) 382-7135
Phone: (876) 907-8609
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PS: "Ninety percent of success is just showing up." - Woody Allen