Succeeding in Small Business at eleven: Business as usual has changed

By Mark G. Auerbach

Succeeding in Small Business is celebrating its 11th anniversary, and I’ve been a contributor and part of its team since the early days. Publisher Jeanne Yocum and I were two of only a handful of successful public relations practitioners in Western Massachusetts back when the blog began. We’d get together over coffee to talk shop. Neither of us counted on clients in our area to succeed. We both had national client bases, and our coffee dates were scheduled in between trains and planes. Early on, Jeanne profiled my company.

In a bit of nostalgia, I’m awestruck at how “business as usual” has changed. Depending on which show tune barometer you’re using, it’s either a story of flexibility (Anything Goes) or survival (I’m Still Here). In eleven years, I’ve seen my client base radically change. My scope of services has been refined. I never dreamed that my work with AOL’s Community Leaders Program in the late 1990s would make me adept at Instant Messenger, product content, and social media. I never dreamed that technology would adapt so quickly to my needs, from wireless to speak-text to ZOOM. I never realized that hours spent in airports and train stations could be better used for conference calling services. And, who would have guessed that one could drop a landline for a cell, dump a fax machine, and so much more.

Ever evolving

Some things in our business models have evolved because of the pandemic. Some business values were built to survive a pandemic…knowing your product, knowing your market, finding the best ways to reach your market, serving the customer. And, working with integrity.

In recent years, anyone working in public relations has been challenged. The news cycle is now 24/07, and the competition to get the story out there first takes precedence over fact checking. Who knew a fact checker could be an essential, and a copy editor (often once critical is now the first to be let go) would be considered non-essential. In my world of public relations, we’ve seen horrible mouthpieces emerge as press secretaries and spokespeople. Who could have imagined that an intelligent marketplace could be swayed by “fake news” and not always be able to tell the difference between fact and alternative fact (fiction).

One thing we’ve learned over eleven years is despite new technologies, changing morals, and shifting priorities, an individual with a good concept and a solid plan can cut through the obstacles and develop a good business. The basics of previous decades persevere. Think it through, do it right, learn from others triumphs and foibles, and remain flexible.

Eleven years ago, I thought I might retire in 2020. Eleven years later, I realize that I love my work, and I’ll work as long as I can…maybe even another eleven years.

Congratulations to Succeeding in Small Business on its milestone.


Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn. Mark also produces ArtsBeat in print in The Westfield News, on radio for Pioneer Valley Radio and on TV and radio on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. His new series, On The Mark, premiered in October.

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