Top tip #14; be the best at at least one thing.

No great books on business management have been written by PR people.

We are traditionally crap at it. We rise to the top or ownership of PR agencies by being good at PR not management. Then we find we have an office, with people, clients and a budget. And that’s when the wheels come off. Which is a shame, because running a PR business is just about the ruthless application of common sense and is a far simpler thing (intellectually at least) than formulating advice for a client in a crisis or finding a creative way of giving a tired brand some interest and competitive differentiation.

I have run practices, offices and regions for three of the biggest global PR firms and two small independent companies in both EMEA and Asia Pacific and the wheels have indeed come off once or twice. They probably will again, but if they do it will not be because I made the mistake of thinking PR firms have a complicated business model.

PR agencies are simple businesses. They have inside them often difficult people doing some (occasionally) clever things, but they are simple businesses.

Here are my refreshed top tips for running one, delivered to the unfortunate delegates of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand meeting in Auckland last week.

P.S: If you have an appetite for greater pain, there is more detail in the ‘notes’ version of the PowerPoint which you can see by downloading the deck from SlideShare.




  1. I’m keeping this:) Thanks! I think that the one absolute in our business is time. How you use it is the secret; PR is the last professional services industry to understand this.


  2. A good read/video as always, David. Thanks for sharing.


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