Recently, we spoke with USA Weekly about the rewards and challenges of running a business.
Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Suzan French, Founder and President at FlackShack:
What does your company do?
FlackShack develops and executes marketing communications strategies for clients in a variety of B2C industries such as travel, hospitality and leisure, food and beverage, and consumer products. Our company provides public/media relations including formulating story ideas, crafting media pitches and media kits, compiling media lists and media outreach; round-the-clock social media management; writing communications/content creation such as blogs, articles, newsletters, website copy, and book editing, and marketing services including research and market/competitor analysis, marketing collateral and management of events, press conferences and vendors. In business for over a decade, FlackShack has locations in Washington DC, New York, Lehigh Valley and Boston.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
As president of FlackShack, I am the face of the company and responsible for the overall strategic direction of clients’ campaigns. It is thrilling to take a holistic, macro view of a client’s business and develop a strategy that is cohesive and synergistic, one in which all the moving parts work together to grow the client’s business. I also enjoy working directly with the team to execute the vision, creating content and managing certain day-to-day activities. Perhaps my favorite part of the job is developing relationships with clients, all of whom have entrusted us with their businesses, in some cases, their life’s work. I learn something new from every client!
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
News is disseminated faster and across a wider variety of channels than ever before; and competition for coverage has never been fiercer. Social media has made it possible for anyone to tell a story, but this capability has crowded the field, blurring the lines between journalism, opinion and advertising, and allowing pay-to-play models to thrive. Now, more than ever, relationships are key to getting clients’ voices heard over the clutter and noise. As former journalists, published writers and experienced professionals, we have unique insights and pride ourselves on our ability to communicate with and establish meaningful connections with all our audiences–clients, clients’ customers, journalists and other stakeholders.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
I would caution myself that loving the work you do isn’t enough. The actual work (the services and/or products you provide) might be fun, but there is another side to business–the operational side. When I launched my business, I made sure I had the generally accepted, most important character traits of a successful entrepreneur. Turns out, those traits are very different than what I was told. Yes, entrepreneurs must be able to work independently, accept failure, be tenacious and work all hours of the day and night. For me, those necessities were easy to adapt to. What was challenging were the mundane tasks of owning a business: determining what to charge and establishing fair salaries for employees, maintaining proper financial records and collections when clients didn’t pay, fixing my computer myself when it crashed, and continually engaging in business development to keep my client base growing.