They say like attracts like and it’s a truism that seems to be saving employers a fortune when it comes to hiring PR staff.
It’s a trend that companies are wising up to, recruiting new staff members based on recommendations by employees or networks and for a lot of companies it’s working, not least our own.
So why would this be a good policy for companies? It saves on recruitment costs but are there too many dangers, like what if the friends fall out?
Before my business partner and I decided to set up Firework Public Relations, we really looked at the pros and cons of working together as, not only have we been working together for nearly 20 years, we’ve been friends throughout. The pros quickly outweighed the cons, on the following basis:
- Because we know each other so well, we already know our strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, we know how our skills are complimentary. We know each other’s background, training, experience and so on.
- We both had very clear objectives about why we wanted to set up in business, we wrote a detailed business plan to ensure we were both aiming for the same goals and we have included key milestones in our business plan to keep us on track.
- We have made a pact about talking about work out of office hours – that’s between us but we know the rules and we are doing our best to keep to them.
- We’ve also made sure we build in some rewards as the business progresses, to keep us motivated and remind us what all the hard work is about.
So we’ve made considerable effort to ensure that we protect our friendship, while enjoying the new business journey.
Why might this be of interest to people? Well essentially it’s about being honest with yourself. We know how we work, we know what motivates us and we know our skill set. When you recruit someone who is basically a stranger, you’re taking their word for it. Yes, there are references to back them up, but who knows if there is a hidden story? So there are risks to working with friends – primarily your friendship if you’re not focused on working effectively – especially under the pressure of a new business. But you also have great insight, you share the same wavelength and in our experience that can save a hell of a lot of time!
We know why we’re such a strong partnership. The senior PR consultants who operate in our network have effectively formed a small trusted circle, chosen because of complementary skills, a likeminded approach and similar outlooks and goals. Trust, informed decisions and years of experience working together as a team both in agency and as freelance communications consultants has worn away the problems and sharpened our working practices. Companies can be sure of a strong, bespoke team of senior consultants who work well together.
When we went out to get feedback on the business and choose key partners – from legal and finance community – the message was loud and clear. The proposition we offer is simple yet compelling. That’s a strong selling point. Let’s hope some companies in the North West agree.
It was a strange set of coincidences that led to us both ending up in Knutsford and launching a business together – but we have a strong belief that it is fate.