The Reality of Economic Uncertainty

by Rick Gould, CPA,J.D.

The just-released SGP PR Agency 2009 Economic Uncertainty Report fully validates the edginess and lack of confidence most of us feel regarding a quick economic turnaround. Overall results of the 237 PR agencies participating confirmed what we all feared.

– Projected revenues were down substantially from a year ago
– Clients’ budgets were down substantially from a year ago
– Negative impact of the bottom- line was felt by 64% of the firms in contrast to 18% a year ago.

We are in for a challenging 2009. According to our study all areas of the U.S. are feeling the pinch, although New York firms and Southern California firms had less of a negative impact on their bottom-line (still 69% negative).

You are all likely reading articles, editorials, columns and op-eds about how to survive this debilitating economy. Or maybe you prefer the shows (and their websites) that zero-in on politics and the economy – such as Morning Joe on MSNBC, Neil Cavuto on Fox or Campbell Brown on CNN. There are dozens of other anchors who can give you input on the economy no matter what your political preference may be. What they are all saying unanimously is that the economy is in major trouble, and it will take substantial time and effort from all sectors to get us from recession to prosperity.

The reality is: we all need advice and input from people who are smarter, more experienced and/or more specialized than we are. These are unprecedented times.

But no piece of advice will fit all situations; every PR agency is different. Each CEO may have a different style of management and different aspiration for the size they want to be. The number of offices needed to service clients, different niches offered, strategies to unlock profit potential and services to offer clients are all critical questions to re-visit this year in order for a firm to prosper. The answers should be as unique as each firm, tailored to support its individual strategic plan.

So my best advice is:

1. Review the 2009 Economic Uncertainty Report
2. Review how it applies to your firm based on size, location and specialty
3. Think about how your firm stacks up, and what strategy is in place to capitalize on the PR agency rebound that will follow the recession
4. Use any business down-time to tighten management procedures and client budgets, and to pursue previously postponed business planning and creative projects
5. Most important, stay optimistic and positive. Prosperous times will ultimately return.

SGP PR Agency 2009 Economic Uncertainty Report (Economic Uncertainty Report 2009)