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Get Thee to a PR Firm

These entrepreneurs knew it was time to hire a PR firm when.

These entrepreneurs knew that it was time to hire a PR firm when . . .

The Effectiveness of PR for Tech Startups

Companies engaging in PR campaigns were 30 percent more successful in attaining funding within 1 to 3 months than companies without a campaign.

44% find the funding stream that fits your business. Go to the websites of the specific agency or department running the program and dig in.

45% of those without a PR program received funding in 3 to 6 months.

32% of those without a PR program received funding in 6 to 9 months.
People started talking. "Traffic hitting our Picnik.com beta began to climb and people started writing about us in various blogs and major publications. At that point, it occurred to us that we better have a great team on board to help us get messaging and outreach done properly."

--Jonathan Sposato, 42, co-founder and CEO of Picnik.com, a Seattle-based online photo editing site. The company was founded in 2006 and hired a PR firm in 2007, 10 weeks after launching its beta program to the public. Projected 2009 sales: more than $5 million

Her specialty niche became the trend. "I had a feeling that the industry was going to tip. Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth had just come out, and the world was talking about global warming--the green movement was stirring."

--Sharon Rowe, 52, founder of Ecobags.com, an Ossining, New York-based manufacturer of reusable bags and online reseller of sustainable, eco-friendly products. She founded the company in 1989 and hired a PR firm in 2006. Projected 2009 sales: more than $3 million

She dreamed of going national. "We wanted to build a national brand quickly and couldn't afford advertising."

--Jamie Pennington, 33, co-founder of Flexible Executives LLC, an Atlanta web-based marketplace where companies find vetted executives for project-based work. The company was founded in 2005 and hired a PR firm in 2007. Projected 2009 revenue: more than $1 million

Sales came to a halt. "I had tremendous growth (25 percent annually) for four years in a row, and then sales went flat. I was really worried that I was losing ground."

--Nancy Jaeger, 44, founder of USABride Inc., a Beverly, Massachusetts-based suite of e-commerce sites specializing in bridal-fashion advice and accessories. She founded the company in 1995 and hired a PR firm in 2008. Projected year-end sales: $1 million

It just became too much. "The breaking point came when I knew I could not handle the PR side of things anymore."

--Pamela Irving, 40, founder of Cape Clogs, a Bourne, Massachusetts importer/wholesaler of Swedish clogs. She founded the company in 2006 and hired a PR firm in 2008. Projected annual sales: $500,000

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This article was originally published in the June 2009 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Get Thee to a PR Firm.

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