Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Your Marks, Get Set, Start-Up

I think I can summarize this in a few hundred words.  Starting your own business is everything you have heard it can be.


Several years back I worked for a large company, which I still work with actually, and the idea of starting my own company never, for a second, crossed my mind.
Then I worked somewhere less ideal and the idea began percolating.

What if I did this on my own? At first the thought was so perfect I wondered why no one had thought of it before? If you don’t like your job, quit and start your own business. No…quit and build an empire! Then I took a quick look around and saw the business landscape littered with corpses of event companies, boutique PR firms and every other start-up you can think of.

I did not jump into this rashly. I thought about it long and hard. I would be trading the relative security of a steady paycheque to go out on my own. I would not be accountable to one boss or maybe two anymore, but to as many bosses as I had clients.

I would not have to commute but I would have to get myself up every day and be ready for anything. I would not have to sit through pointless meetings, although those meetings do help to provide some structure to your day.

So what did it? What made me finally jump out the door and hope the guy on the ground had packed my parachute properly? Two things. I wanted to spend more time with my son and I wanted to be in a position where I took out what I put in.

This is not for everyone. There are stretches where there is little work and therefore little pay. There are times when cold-calling or cold-emailing potential clients is mind numbingly ineffective. It gets scary when clients have different payment schedules and you go weeks without an invoice paid.

But it has been worth it.

When I send out an invoice, no matter what the amount, I take a lot of pride in knowing I, and in turn the Razor team, did that. No logo, no one building the company for years before did it.  We did.

In the end the two most important things about starting your own business are discipline and drive. When times are slow, you shouldn’t be golfing or watching movies all day. Always have a couple of business books on the go. If you have free time, pick them up and start educating and motivating yourself. You should also be researching what your competition is doing, what accounts they have been winning and going after new business - all the time.

So far I can say it never gets less scary, it never gets less fun and it never gets less rewarding.

I always take heart in knowing that even though CEOs at Fortune 500 companies fly in corporate jets, it’s not their name on the plane.

But if you start your own company, it could be.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why I hate PR

Let’s get this straight, I love Public Relations.  I’ve been doing it for more than 16 years and can’t think of a better way to spend a workday. However, what I do hate is the term ‘PR’.

While the initials have been the accepted way to describe Public Relations since the business first began – which was about a nanosecond after the first journalist put chisel to stone – I have never used the term.  Why?  Because I do not “do PR.” I practice the art of Public Relations.

Any day of the week, or weekend, I can be asked to set up a customer event, ghost write an article for a CEO, arrange interviews with the press, write, shoot and edit corporate videos, create ad copy, write a speech, build a social media program, provide strategic communication advice during a crisis, review corporate charity policies, throw the occasional party and preform the granddaddy of all Public Relations functions, writing a media release.

Public Relations is, in my opinion, the utility knife of the communications field.  A solid practitioner of the art brings more than just one specialty to the table, and they certainly bring a lot more than what is reflected when they are described with a couple of initials.

This industry has battled hard to build itself up from the times it was used as depository for lost executives and employees who are “good with people.”  Today, we are trained professionals who can recognize problems before they happen, explain a concept in 250 words that would take others one thousand, and understand our audiences, from media to consumer.

All that deserves more than just initials. 

Hugh Cameron

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcome to our new blog...

Welcome to the new Razor Voice blog. It seemed fitting to kick it off with an intro-slash-overview of who we are and what we do, so here it goes with a Q & A…with myself:

What is Razor Voice?

Razor Voice is a full-service public relations company based in Toronto.

Where did Razor Voice come from?

My brain. But more specifically, the idea of starting our own agency originated when we realized that while a lot of agencies do a decent and even great job, there was a huge discrepancy between the cost of doing a good job and what companies had to pay for it. We saw a simple and, to us, obvious window of opportunity. We provide a great service at a great price.

What is Razor Voice’s philosophy?

Providing our clients with a great product whether it be a full-scale PR plan or something as straightforward as a speech or a press release all at competitive prices.

What is the best part about Razor Voice?

The people and the way we work. Within the first few weeks of running this company I realized the tremendous amount of waste that occurs in a typical organization. By waste I do not mean physical waste, but something far worse – wasted time. You never get time back and all it does is run out. Meetings that accomplish nothing? Deleted. Two-hour commute? Deleted. We now have more time to dedicate to growing our business and working with our clients.

Our diverse team is comprised of talented people with experience in a wide range of industries, which generates different and unique perspectives on projects and challenges.

What is Razor Voice’s position on philanthropy?

Excellent question.

Thank you.

Razor Voice is heavily involved in philanthropy and every year we dedicate substantial time and resources to one organization and offer our services to assist with a cause that will help the community. In 2009 and 2010 we worked with Earth Day Canada. In 2011, we are joining forces with the Jorge Posada Foundation to help families and children affected by Craniosynostosis.

Thanks for stopping by and checking us out. We hope you learned a bit about us come back for more.