Are you finding yourself wondering about the future? Or, even the present?

As we sit, peering over the edge of our recession into the pits of a depression, many PR, marketing and communications folks are scratching their heads (or asses I suppose) and wondering “now what?”

Changing the face of PR

If you’re on Twitter, subscribed to multiple RSS feeds and have Google alerts set up for more than five searches, you’re pretty far ahead of the game. That is the future of PR. We are in the process of redefining and also refocusing on the relations side of PR.

I sit in the tech sector of PR. And it’s very different than the rest of the world. I deal with bloggers, which are a very different species than a local business writer, which is a very different species than a food writer. But, the goal is the same. Establish quality relationships in order to connect with writers to see what piques their interests and provide them with quality stories that fit into that mold.

Nose down, ears up

The best thing a PR person can do right now is listen. Read your targets daily. Learn their habits and their likes. The great thing about bloggers is that they tell you what they like and don’t like. Use that.

By listening and paying attention, you show the people that you are pitching or working with that you get it. And, any leg up on the competition is imperative to your success.

Show your worth

The companies paying PR people’s salaries want more results for less money. And we must smile, bear down and deliver. This is a great time to be in PR. We get to show the rest of the world what we’re made of and what value we add. Deliver different media contacts. Deliver a new video interview. Or deliver a new idea for a series of blog posts.

In a time of economic slowdown, one must be resourceful. Original and effective ideas will get you paid.

Be genuine

I think I am going to say this in every blog post I ever write. If you try to be more than you are, you’re going to fail. Offer genuine value and recognize your strengths and people will recognize that. Not just clients, but the media professionals you work with.

If you are genuine, you don’t need to live in fear of not delivering what you have promised. Instead, you can deliver quality results and have happy customers.

Although times are tough out there, there is room for growth, success and happiness. Work on delivering quality and value and you’ll get a piece of that. But I’m curious to know how you plan on weathering this storm. Let me know in the comments.

I know it’s late for this, but hey, the idea popped into my head now. As we enter 2009, a lot of questions surround the general business landscape. But what are you doing to answer them? What are your business resolutions for the new year?

Kick ass

Simple enough, right? But let me expand upon kicking ass. I have found that it is simpler, more accurate and more rewarding to set micro-goals. Treat each task as an individual challenge and you will soon find that the end result will be better than you could have hoped for.

By simplifying and refining your goals, it will be easier to kick ass. And you’re kicking ass more often, which feels pretty good too.

Know your surroundings

Take a couple of hours and set up an RSS aggregator to monitor the fire hose of information that is pointed at your brain. Subscribe to new blogs and even delete a few of the old subscriptions. Google Reader or Yahoo Pipes makes it pretty simple to organize the information down to whatever level you want.

When you have your information coming at you in a controlled manner, it is easier to monitor trends, react to market demands and keep tabs on competitors. Which helps you stay ahead of the curve.


I can’t say enough about how important it is to be involved. Be involved with your users, your partners and your competitors. It is not necessary to have every conversation occur about you or your product, but it is pretty important to participate in almost every conversation.

By participating in events, blog posts and conversations, you are able to build a reputation and relationships that will only benefit you.

Enjoy life

I am a proponent of a work/life balance. I am hearing more and more stories of people burning out from trying to stay ahead of the curve. Don’t forget to enjoy life. If you have non-work hobbies, embrace them. If you have a family, embrace them. If you have a garden, embrace it.

So, what are your resolutions? What steps will you take to ensure your success for the next 12 months?

I think that 2009 will be the rise of the microbusiness. In today’s technology world, a win is no longer getting hired as an engineer at IBM or a marketer for Microsoft. Rather, it is finding clients as an independent “consultant” or working with a small startup that sees some element of success.

According to TechCrunch, more than 100,000 layoffs occurring in the tech sector at the end of 2008. And some of the largest numbers came from large enterprises. No longer is joining an established tech company a refuge for talented people who find themselves jobless as companies such as Sony, 3M and AT&T announcing heavy cuts.

The rise of the microbusiness

Using TechCrunch’s numbers, this is more than 100,000 people that are looking for a paycheck. Not necessarily a career, but a paycheck. They are taking freelance development and design gigs, working with staffing agencies or services such as Elance and building a modest client base.

But a decision will need to be made. Do they continue down the freelance path or seek the stability, opportunity and shelter of a full-time job? Freelancing is a contact sport these days and strong, talented and effective people will survive.

Unfortunately, most statistics aren’t current, but to give you some idea of what I’m talking about, here are some stats I was able to find:

  • According to the US Census Bureau, 17,646,062 firms existed in 2002 that were classified as “nonemployers.” This meant that they were one-person businesses. This represented more than two-thirds of all businesses in the US at the time.
  • By 2004, the number of nonemployer firms was 19,523,741.
  • In 2004, of the 5,885,784 firms with paid employees, 3,821,128 had fewer than 10 employees.
  • Sole proprietorships can be lucrative. According to BizStats, Internet publishing-Broadcasting businesseshad a net profit margin of nearly 65% in 2004.
  • According to SCORE, there were¬†637,100 new businesses,¬†560,300 business closures and 28,322 bankruptcies in 2007.

These numbers show that we’re not afraid to venture to new, uncharted territory. When we take control of our own destinies, we are able to shape our lives to fit our ideal. What is your ideal?

Charting the path

This is where technology comes into play. Building a product is easier, cheaper and faster than ever. Social media and social networking are eliminating a lot of the overhead and burn that would consume an investment. Social networks, blogging and social advocacy are making it easy to create a network of passionate users.

All of these changes will make it easier for entrepreneurs to venture out as sole proprietors and make a product or a service that works. Sure, there will be some casualties. There always is. But, what makes microbusinesses different is the sef-reliance, bootstrapping mentality will come back into vogue. New avenues will be explored and new revenue streams will be identified.

What will you do to make your microbusiness succeed? How will you move your idea forward and make your microbusiness succeed?