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How Jim Collins’ ‘Good To Great’ Can Help Startups With PR And Marketing In 2019

How Jim Collins' 'Good To Great' Can Help Startups With PR And Marketing In 2019
Written by MicroStartups

Jim Collins is widely regarded as one of the best business speakers and his book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, is a common reference point for many of the most successful companies in modern times – making it a perfect tool for helping Startups with PR and Marketing in 2019. While the advice and lessons within this book are certainly key, it must also be said that the delivery is just as impressive.

Jim Collins not only makes a lot of sense, but he also manages to convey his methodology in a very coherent way. This bestseller takes an unorthodox approach such that it takes examples of successful companies and demonstrates a precept that made this success possible. This is the opposite approach that most authors take with a book of this kind which makes it not only unique but also entirely relatable.

Let’s take a look at some lessons from the book and how startups can use the author’s advice to get ahead with marketing and PR in 2019.

1. Focusing On Modesty And Humility Before Personal Gain

Jim Collins asserts throughout the book that leading a company to success is a long term strategy that should continue long after that leader has left the company. For instance, there is an example of the Fannie Mae CEO that reduced his retirement payout to protect the company from legal implications. Collins refers to these individuals as Level 5 leaders that show more concern for their company than their own credibility or status.

For this reason, it’s important for startups to take a humble and modest approach to every aspect of the company. When communicating with a target market or public, this means that the company should seek to impress the customer and build relationships, rather than extract money or gain of any kind. In terms of marketing, this also suggests that every effort should be transparent and offer genuine value.

2. Listening Is Just As Important As Doing

In Good To Great…, Jim highlights the importance of being unique and interesting. For this reason, it’s a good thing to be bold but at the same time, he also points out the problem with this approach.

Trying to be different is one thing but many businesses make the mistake of focusing too much of their time on this. They spend more time strategizing and less time listening to the customer, not to mention getting the product or brand out there.

But what’s the compromise?

Well, traditional marketing is most often focused on trying to be interesting. But while PR and marketing is certainly about taking action, it’s important to listen to what customers have to say. After all, these interactions and feedback is crucial for creating or improving what you do. This process will often lead to new marketing ideas and PR opportunities that would likely be missed if the business is too focused on trying to be interesting.

3. Doing The Small Things Right In Order To Manage Scale

Collins strongly recommends that business owners focus on mastering the small things before trying to expand what they do in any way. It makes sense and Good To Great… illustrates how many companies have achieved success by creating what he refers to as a “pocket of greatness”. According to the author, it’s important to take things slow and when you master something small, you always have a better foundation on which to build more.

Productivity is one of the greatest challenges to any startup or entrepreneur and this is also true when it comes to marketing. For example, choosing a large target market is not always a good idea and trying to market multiple products is never as effective as focusing on just one.

Also, in terms of PR, reputation management or customer service is a lot easier when the company is small as opposed to when operations are expanding faster than they should.

4. Startups And Entrepreneurs Should Never Stop Learning

It seems rather odd to include this one in an article about a book but Collins insists that reading books can transform a business. In fact, he even recommends that these books should not be related to business so that the individual can think beyond the confines of their own industry.

Needless to say, this seems like an especially useful tactic for PR and marketing. In other words, both marketing and PR are constantly changing and a broad-minded approach is sure to be of great benefit.

5. Getting The Right People For The Right Jobs

Good To Great… is very clear when it says that you should not try to drive some place without the right people in the car. In this sense, Jim explains that we should start with “who” before we think about “what” decisions need to be made. That is to say, you need to get the right people before you think about what role these people will take within the organization.

It should go without saying that this is incredibly important for PR and marketing in a startup. After all, how can you possibly make decisions on how to get somewhere if you don’t have the right people on board? In short, hiring the right people will also mean that the company can build opportunities rather than focus their time and effort on managing problems that arise due to not having the right strategy in place.

6. Taking The Flywheel Approach To Marketing And PR

Jim Collins is famous for using the Flywheel analogy to power the business strategy in his book. Simply put, this flywheel is created when thousands of micro results are aligned in the same direction and it takes less effort to continue this motion due to the momentum of the wheel.

Anyway, Collins outlines that this same theory should be implemented within a business strategy in order to achieve long term results. Moreover, this is how the author explains the immense process of famous companies in a sense that they all took micro steps to achieve the greatness they have today.

As for marketing and PR, this simply explains how the flywheel effect can benefit marketing and PR, and how even the seemingly obvious or smallest tasks will eventually form part of the bigger picture.

Final Thoughts

Jim Collins deserves every drop of praise for his methodology and his work has enabled many established businesses to go from good to great. Most of his methods apply to PR and marketing but when you read between the lines, this advice is relevant for every aspect of any startup.

Author Bio: Chris @ Pressfarm. Since we focus a lot on PR for startups at Pressfarm, we figured that creating a list of the best-laid strategies from ‘Good to Great…’ would be ideal. 


About the author


A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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