Monday, 22 March 2010

House of Istria does PR - Instalment One

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the first instalment of House of Istria does PR. Basically, this is a mini blog series on how to promote your small business as much as you can in order to generate the one thing we all want- sales! This knowledge has been gained via the two years I worked in music PR, through a Higher National Diploma in Fashion PR/Marketing, and gained from various sources whilst setting up a film company. I cant promise any miracles! :) but you might just gain one or two snippets of information or ideas you hadnt thought about before... If I could give every reader something they hadnt previously thought about or heard of or something to feel inspired by then we will be a Happy House of Istria :) Ok, so to start.


In this section, you might feel like you arent receiving any concrete advice or anything tangible, and this is something most of you probably will have thought about. But this is the most important thing you can do in order to increase the successfulness of your PR and your sales. The first, and probably most important thing you can remember is that YOU ARE A BUSINESS. So if you have ever told people when the ever-present question 'what do you do' is presented that you are a jewellery maker, or you design crafts, or that you have a part time business in crafts, then you are sabotaging your own sales and profit. You are a business owner, it's as simple as that, and if you want to make any sort of profit which doesnt merely cover your expenses then you need to stop thinking of yourself as a 'designer' or 'creative', or saying 'I make jewellery', or any other sort of crafts-type definition. Granted, these all sound great. But when you tell people you run a business, watch how they react. A new respect, a renewed interest can be seen in their eyes. (At which point you hand over your business cards; or five if youre talking to a friend or family member). You're no longer a dreamer. You are a business owner. At the risk of sounding like an american pep-talk, repeat this statement until you believe it. Be proud of it. Believe you can run a business, even if you dont feel like you know the first thing about running a business. When you treat yourself and your budding company seriously, then serious sales will come soon after (after of course, some seriously hard-work- just like all business owners)! If this is all sounding too heavy and serious, you dont have to take this advice. Dont read any more of PR week, and carry on doing things your way. But if you want your sales to increase, if you want to maximise your profits, and if you want to live the dream that so many of us 'creatives' have; being financially independent and being able to do what we love for a living, then this is the first thing you need to do.

One thing I would highly recommend is contacting your local Business Link, details of which can be found here they offer entirely free one hour long consultations with people who specialise in small business advice. If you think selling one item a week on Misi or Folksy or wherever doesnt count as a small business, you're wrong! And these people can help you sell more. They have so much information at their fingertips that whatever you want to know- whether or not you need to register as a company, how to promote/advertise properly... whatever you want to know, these free consultations really help. And they arent trying to sell you anything. Furthermore, if you are aged under 30, they can put you in touch with your local Princes Trust, who offer free business skills courses and the chance to apply for start up business loans and a business mentor. Dont doubt your eligibility; I was awarded one of their loans personally last year and allocated a free business mentor. For those of you over 30, business link also can provide you with details of other sources of funding. They arent all loans, some are grants or other things. For example, some local councils provide free laptops to small/new businesses. Business Link also put you in touch with local business networks; they gave me the information about a local women-only business conference. I was terrified going to this; I had never been to anything like it before. But when I got there, I found hundreds of inspirational girls just like me, some just starting out making their own things, some much higher up the food chain; but most so very helpful; the perfect place to network. (More about networking later). You owe it to your business to give it the best possible start and the best possible ground for it to flourish- go and get some free expert advice!

This is the end of our first instalment. Hopefully I havent come across as too dictatorial and apologies for those of you who already call themselves small business owners. But for those of you that dont, here is a quote for you

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it"

See you later!

House of Istria x x


  1. oh well done charlie, thats great stuff, even for one who has been around as long as I have and read all the self improvement books and motivational books. really looking forward to tomorrow's instalment

  2. Good piece Charlie. My business partner is on hols at the moment and just wait until I HIT her with all of this!

  3. Brilliant. I want more info now!

  4. So true. . . I make jewellery rolls off the tongue naturally. I have to order some new business cards as we moved house I shall make sure I carry some and remember this mantra. . . :o)

  5. Great stuff. I got heaps of money from Business Link to build a website :)

  6. I am really enjoying these posts. I just scrolled all the way down. (I like the newer ones better- mthe smaller paragraphs make them easier to read)

    My Husband and I are currently working on Business plans for a real bricks and mortar business eeeeeeeeek and you just reminded me to call Business Link back so thank you.

    I love the guerilla marketing post too- I've just ordered the book so thank you for highlighting this too.
    Anna x