Welcome to Starting Advantage!
June 14, 2021

PR 101 for Founders: Why, When and How to Use Public Relations as a Force Multiplier With Jonathon Narvey

PR 101 for Founders: Why, When and How to Use Public Relations as a Force Multiplier With Jonathon Narvey

How a Touch Technique from Star Trek Became a Metaphor for an Ex-Journalist Turned PR Expert to Boldly Help Tech Companies Build Credibility to Prosper


Show Notes

Public relations, or PR, is a helpful tool that founders can use as a force multiplier to build credibility and increase their reach.

 

In this podcast episode, Tania speaks with a public relations expert, Jonathon Narvey, about his entrepreneurial journey and how to grow your business faster through PR strategies, whether you have the budget to hire a PR firm or want to find DIY inspiration.

 

 

"Public relations is a subset of marketing that is a force multiplier for your overall marketing. So actually PR is not, absolutely not, the first thing that your company would invest in ... Once you've got some traction, you got some money ... now you can throw money at PR and this is going to be the force multiplier.  It's the pouring gas on the fire that you've already lit and helping you scale up quicker." - Jonathon Narvey

 

We discuss in this episode with Jonathon:

  • Why Jonathon believes there are two reasons why people become entrepreneurs and why he chose entrepreneurship. (4:31) 

  • How Jonathon started his entrepreneurial journey by relying on key relationships and people in his life. (6:28)

  • How a touch technique from Star Trek became a metaphor for Jonathon's business. (8:36)

  • Why it’s important to go after a niche and how Jonathon found his for Mind Meld PR. (10:29)

  • What public relations involve. (12:25)

  • The business benefits of PR. (14:24)

  • The difference between marketing, advertising and PR. (15:03)

  • How social media fits into a PR strategy. (16:46)

  • How to choose stories about your business if you want DIY PR. (18:26)

  • Jonathan’s advice on what you can do right now to make your business stand out. (21:11)

  • Why PR remains an effective strategy despite a growing trend to mistrust the media. (24:53)

  • How a shift from the big players in the media to alternative media opens up more opportunities for founders. (27:12)

  • What Jonathon predicts for the future of PR post-pandemic. (28:07)

  • Jonathan’s tips on having conversations and managing expectations with clients. (30:34)

  • The communication habits Jonathon and his team use to connect, plan and improve. (33:11)

  • What Jonathon has observed after years of interviewing successful tech entrepreneurs. (35:13)

  • How to connect or mind meld with Jonathon. (36:51)

 

via GIPHY

 

Starting Advantage welcomes voices from many spheres with different perspectives and opinions, which dont necessarily reflect our own. The show does not endorse, promote, or is in association with guests' business interests. 

 

Resources mentioned:

 

Disclosure: The link(s) to the resource(s) mentioned in this podcast and its blog, Starting Advantage with Tania De Ridder, are not endorsements or affiliated links, meaning that neither the podcast nor its host earns a commission or compensation if you decide to purchase or use the mentioned service(s) on this page.

 

Enjoyed this episode? Heard something useful? Let us know!

 

Please leave a review to support the show on your favourite podcast player. 

 

 

Tania De Ridder and the Starting Advantage Podcast own the copyright of the content in and transcripts of the Starting Advantage podcast, all rights reserved. 

Transcript

Eps 39 - PR 101 for Founders: Why, When and How to Use Public Relations as a Force Multiplier With Jonathon Narvey

Please enjoy this transcript of Jonathon Narvey's interview with Tania on the Starting Advantage Podcast. This transcript is lightly edited for readability.

[00:04:24] Tania De Ridder:  Hi Jonathon, welcome to Starting Advantage.  Thank you so much for being here today. 

[00:04:29] Jonathon Narvey: It's so great to be here. Thanks for having me. 

[00:04:31] Tania De Ridder: Jonathon, you founded your public relations agency Mind Meld PR  in 2019  and I love your sense of humility and humor about your journey.  Despite having had a very successful career,  you describe yourself as a failed journalist as you weren't in the top 1%  of journalists that get book deals.   Was there a defining moment that made you decide that it's time to start your own business or that made you think you want to go into entrepreneurship?

[00:05:01] Jonathon Narvey: This is such a great question. And I'm sure a lot of your listeners will be able to relate in that some people are born entrepreneurs. That is what they wanted to become. Some of us are forced into it.  I would put myself in the latter camp.  I've certainly tried working in-house.   I enjoy working with people on teams, but  I just find it so much more meaningful, interesting,  rewarding to be running the show.  Not doing everything myself because you cannot be an entrepreneur and do that.   You need people. People are the thing that makes life worth living and makes your business worth something to,  whether it's your customers or investors.   So long story short,  my path has been a bit meandering.  Started off as a journalist,    I put those skills to work in marketing as well when I found I could make a buck at it,  so working both in-house and on my own,  and then ultimately founding the Mind Meld PR agency.  I've been able to put those skills to work in a way that I feel makes good use of my talents. And I'm also able to mentor those around me to   increase their skills and provide value for our clients. And sorry if that's a bit of a rambling answer, but I guess that's my style. I've rambled into this agency business that seems to be working.

[00:06:28] Tania De Ridder: I love how in your answer you share about you can't do it without people.  You mentioned having people support you along the way,  as well as you support others.  Did you have key people in your life that you started this entrepreneurial journey?  Or were you very much on your own when you started out?

[00:06:50] Jonathon Narvey:  I understood at the founding of my agency that,   and this was really based off of several earlier efforts to get this off the ground, that I simply could not do everything myself. And I think this is something that, unfortunately,  some people have to learn for themselves, but I recognized early on that number one,  I could focus on doing some of the client work or I could focus on putting my skills towards actually building the business, scaling it up, using my network, using the skills that I know.   I've got marketing skills so I can bring in the leads.   And, I can sell if I can get people on a call, so I've got those skills. But of course then if I'm throwing all my time into that, I need people who can service the clients, make sure that they're providing value.     I recognized I needed a team. 

[00:07:38] Number two,  there was one person in particular who has been a friend to me over the years.  He gave me my first role in marketing many years ago. And as it turned out he was Mind Meld PR's first client.  And he's sort of a Renaissance man of technology where he has a great understanding of a number of different kinds of technologies.  And he's always juggling a bunch of different kinds of businesses.    It's been my pleasure and frankly, it's very lucky of me to know this person who has been able to help me understand how technology works; more importantly, what it provides. How in terms of benefits and also from a business standpoint, just, how do you talk to people about technology?  This has been a key relationship for me that's helped me to build the business. 

[00:08:30] Tania De Ridder:  It sounds like they took on a type of mentor role for you. So that's very inspiring to hear that.   

[00:08:36] Jonathan, you've shared that 'mind meld' in the name of your company, Mind Meld PR,  is actually a Star Trek reference.  How did you come up with this idea and what inspired you to use that to name your company?

[00:08:50] Jonathon Narvey: I'm so glad you asked this question. So number one, I was honestly surprised that Mind Meld was not already trademarked by the folks who created Star Trek.   Whether you've seen the show or not,  there's a certain sort of mental power that one of the aliens has on the show;   the mind-meld where they can go up to another person and just put their hand on the person's face and say,  'my mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts', and instantly you've created this sort of hive mind of instant communication. They know what, you know, you know what they know.  And it's just a way easier way to communicate. You've got the whole life story in an instant.  

[00:09:31] From a metaphorical standpoint,  it works very well because for us to reach out to the media and tell the stories of the companies that we work with,  we need to understand those companies and the founders who built those companies on a very deep level. So,  that's what that gets across. Now, for our target demographic as well, we work exclusively with innovative tech companies. So there's that idea of Star Trek is a place, it's in the future where high technology is possible.  And frankly, some of the clients that we've worked with, some of them are old enough like me to remember the original show.    Long story short is it just summed up in many ways what we wanted to say about this company in two words. 

[00:10:21] Tania De Ridder: Yeah,  it's very smart branding.  I think there's also a lot of young people that are big Star Trek fans.     

[00:10:29] All of the PR and marketing that your agency does is focused on innovation.  Was this a conscious strategic decision that you made when you started your company?  Or did this just naturally happened because of the nature of the tech industry,  because you do work with tech companies specifically?

[00:10:47] Jonathon Narvey:   The short way to answer this is number one if you're going to start any kind of business you really do have to target well. What is the niche you're going after?  As  my friend in the marketing space, Jordan Bean, likes to say, "Focus first on boiling a pail of water as opposed to the entire ocean." And then once you've done that, you can start targeting other areas.  Actually, if I was a smarter person, I would have targeted even on a more fine level.   We're PR for AI companies or we're  PR  for FinTech companies or something like that, but I decided to go a little bit wider and you've guessed the reason why I focused on really tech-y innovative companies, whether they're FinTech, AI  or cleantech.   That was my background. As a journalist, I was reporting on tech companies and I'm interested in the space.  And so there's from that standpoint, I get this space and   I think it's a bit unusual. I think that a lot of marketing and PR professionals for whatever reason they see consumer products and events as an easier way to build a business is around those kinds of companies. But  I find it harder. My hats are off to the people who are,  let's say the PR person who works for Lululemon Athletica. I don't know how to pitch yoga pants and make that exciting. My hats off to them and so fantastic for them. 

[00:12:19] Tania De Ridder: Yeah, I think that's so smart. Use your background, use what you have that can give you a competitive advantage.  

[00:12:25] So Jonathan, many of the people listening today, they're brand new to the entrepreneurial space.   They're learning as they're going.  They don't know what they don't know yet. And I think if you stop 10 random people on the street and you ask them what their idea of public relations is,  they'll probably come up with something like it's a communication or a strategy.  But since you're the expert and we have time with you, how would you describe public relations to somebody so that they have a clear idea of what it involves?

[00:12:56] Jonathon Narvey:  The way you described it right now really is a good fit more broadly.    The way we do it, like really Mind Meld PR is about 90% of it is media relations. And that really falls into say three buckets of services.   So number one is proactive PR that's traditional media relations of crafting a story, creating a media list, doing persistent outreach and just bugging journalists with a good idea or what I think is a good idea. And hopefully, they write a story.   And the second is reactive PR where we're seeing opportunities. We have ways of seeing what stories reporters are working on before it actually goes live.  And so we'll try to get our clients in front of those opportunities.  And then finally thought leadership development, which I don't like to call ghostwriting cause that sort of makes it sounds like we're putting words in our client's mouths.   You've seen those kinds of articles, where a founder talks about, 'oh, we started this company and we had a great, great idea and we got some traction and then all of a sudden things were not working. And then we had to try this and try that. And here's what we learned. And here's what worked. And here's what could work for you'. 

[00:14:08] Tania De Ridder: I love those. 

[00:14:09] Jonathon Narvey: Yeah. Oh, I love them too. In fact, I love them so much that we write those. So, we'll interview our clients and very often all we're doing is really transcribing their thoughts and editing them. And we're helping their big ideas to get in front of a big audience. 

[00:14:24]  For those who are still a little bit fuzzy on what's the business benefit?  So this really comes down to credibility. It's being able to throw those logos onto your website of 'as seen in' Forbes, Entrepreneur, Globe and Mail, The  Wall Street Journal, et cetera,  or into your newsletter or into your social media. And then you've got differentiation from your competition and this helps you to create that thin edge of the wedge, so you've got a competitive edge that either let you upscale your clients or get new investment, whatever you're trying to achieve. 

[00:15:03] Tania De Ridder: What I'm hearing is that it is something that adds credibility to your business and to you as a founder, as well as helping to spread the word about your business.  But Jonathan, what is the difference then between marketing and advertising and PR?

[00:15:19] Jonathon Narvey: Fantastic question.  I would separate it out like this.  Think of marketing as the broad category that actually includes all of that: advertising and PR.    Public relations is a subset of marketing that is a force multiplier for your overall marketing. So actually PR is not, absolutely not the first thing that your company would invest in, throw money at unless you've got Mark Zuckerberg money. What you do is you create your marketing channels, your inbound, outbound.  If you want to do this organically, you'll develop website content that is search engine optimized so that people can find you on Google.  If you don't have the time and patience for that, maybe you're going to throw money at advertising, whether that's digital advertising or TV ads,  and you'll get people maybe to your website or just they'll call your business.  And so you've got these inbound and outbound marketing channels to create leads, turn into sales. Fantastic. Once you've got some traction, you got some money either from revenue or someone like Zuckerberg has come along and thrown lots of money at your company because you've got an awesome idea. Now you can throw money at PR and this is going to be the force multiplier.  It's the pouring gas on the fire that you've already lit and helping you scale up quicker. Does that make sense? 

[00:16:46] Tania De Ridder: Absolutely. I love the visual of that,  of a fire... like pouring fuel onto it.  But then how does social media fit in with this whole strategy?  

[00:16:55] Jonathon Narvey:  Social media is one of those marketing activities that get your brand in front of the eyeballs that you want, whether that's on LinkedIn, TikTok,  Facebook. You have to be strategic about the channels where you're going to throw your messaging.  And so think of it as these are the hooks that you're throwing out into the world to get people, typically,  to get them back to your website, to a particular landing page that they'll take some kind of action usually to buy something, but maybe it's to sign up for your newsletter.  And so your social media presence is really, think of it as an avatar or it's your other personas in the universe that enable you to say hello simultaneously to many people.  And the way this would work with PR with media relations, in particular, is let's say you get that media hits. So there's a story about your founder of an innovative, cool company that's got this widget that let's say improves sales for companies all over 300% just by pressing a button on your widget. And so you've got that amazing thing. And so you've got a story and you've just been featured in Forbes while you're going to throw that link to that news story into your social media, you're going to talk a little bit about it.  You're going to mention that news hit just like you would throw it into your newsletter onto your website.  So wherever you've got a social media presence, you want to get those media wins onto your social media,  because that boosts your credibility.

[00:18:26] Tania De Ridder: So connecting it all together. Yeah. So Jonathan PR is a lot about storytelling.  Telling the stories of the business and the founder.  So how do you go about choosing the angles for the story that you want to pitch?

[00:18:41] Jonathon Narvey:   I love this question because this goes in with the name of the company Mind Meld PR. So we try to get into the heads of the people that we're working with. And very often we're working with people who've really set out to change the world. They have big ideas and often,  before they would go to hire a PR company like ours, they already have ideas.    The most basic stories would be things like, 'Hey,  we got this funding a couple of million bucks and we're going to do this exciting thing with it' and that's a great story. It's a story about jobs. It's just a story about scaling up and being successful. And where do we go with the next level? What's happening in the future?  So that's one kind of story that they might have reason to hire us.  Another story would say product launch. You've got a new product or service first on the market. It's bleeding-edge technology and it does this thing that no one has ever seen before.  And you want to get that story out because you want a first-mover advantage. You want it because it does no good if you've built this thing, that is so amazing and no one knows about it. So you might hire us for that story.

[00:19:50] And we would come in and we're not just gonna ask you to please spoon-feed us your idea, and we're just going to copy that idea and throw it all over the internet.   We're a creative bunch, so we'll riff on that idea. We'll come up with new ideas. Have you thought about this? What about this angle?  What about for this industry that you haven't yet targeted but certainly you could.   When we're creating stories, first we're doing the research to find out what ideas does the company has. Then we'll throw in our own ideas, throw it all into a mix and say, okay, and here's our audience.  For any story that we'll be working on, we'll probably have a number of audiences, a minimum of three. Often as many as seven or eight. So for example, a health tech company that's got, let's say a medical device company,  there might be a science angle, a health angle, a health tech angle, a general business, a consumer angle,  a founder's story angle.   There are probably seven, eight different segments that we would look at and knowing what audience might be receptive to the story helps us craft different stories.

[00:20:58] Tania De Ridder: That sounds so true. All the entrepreneurs that I know myself as well, always full of ideas.  So it sounds helpful to have somebody that you can soundboard with and they can guide you on what the best approach is to take.   

[00:21:11] What advice do you have for a business owner that can't afford this type of expense yet? Or they're not quite ready.  What can they do right now to make their business stand out?

[00:21:22] Jonathon Narvey: Okay. I'm going to do a little bit of a plug in that I'm going to say there are options packages available,    more of a custom short term, kind of an engagement that I won't go into the details here, cause I'm not here to sell,  but let's say you're a small team.  Maybe you've just got some seed funding and you're not quite ready. Sure, you're not ready to hire a PR firm and you think you can handle it yourself, right? It's going to be an investment of time and effort, but here is what you will do. You will come up with,  just like with your product if you're a startup, you're looking for your MVP, your minimum viable product,  it's kind of like that with story crafting. What is the easiest story we can create that's actually going to provide some value? So think of the reporters that you're targeting as your target customer.  So, what is the value that you're going to provide,  that is going to be, they can't say no to that. It's just, this is a story that, oh, it's going to be a win-win for them.  You're thinking of that. You're crafting stories that are not just interesting to you, it's interesting to them. How do you know what they're going to be interested in?  Just like with building products and services for customers, you have to do your research.  You're going to have to figure out, okay, what publications and what reporters specifically might be interested in talking to me.  So, you're going to do what really anyone would do if they need to research anything.  You're going to go on Google or maybe DuckDuckGo if you're not a fan of Google, but you're going to start searching the internet and looking up, okay, what's the latest news? And plugging in keywords or search terms for this is the industry, this is the kind of product.  Who's covered stuff that's similar to what you're about to put out?   Again, knowing the audience helps you determine what story might be relevant to them?  You'll put together a media list and then you're going to pitch them. And I know that a lot of PR companies will try to sell their services on the basis of we've got the relationships, we know the reporters. That's how we opened the doors and that's how we get opportunities.  And you might be thinking I don't have, I don't have relationships with reporters because  I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a founder and I'm busy building the business and hey, that's fine.  We don't actually get most of our opportunities from relationships either. We're not best friends with 150 reporters.  What we do is just like what you will do. Craft a cool story, select the right audience, pitch them with something that you've got a headline or a subject line that could double as a headline.  In your first paragraph or two, you've outlined this is the story and this is why it's a good fit for you. Maybe throwing a little bit of flattery for that reporter, really like this story you wrote. 

[00:24:14] Tania De Ridder: Flattery always helps. 

[00:24:16] Jonathon Narvey: Yeah, it works. It works, it opens doors. But then follow up the flattery with the actual thing that they need.  If you provide them with enough details so that they don't have to go searching all over the internet,  they can pretty much read what you wrote and say, okay, I've come to a decision this is a story I want to cover, you can do it yourself. It's a lot of work if you want results, and you want them month after month after month. 

[00:24:39] Tania De Ridder: I believe that. 

[00:24:40] Jonathon Narvey: Yeah, I admire self-starters. I admire bootstrappers. Very often our clients or people who started out as bootstrappers got organic growth. And now they're looking to, as I said before, pour gas on that fire.     

[00:24:53] Tania De Ridder:  So we know that trust in the media is at an all-time low.  And then part of PR is about getting the story of a business into the media.  Why do you believe PR remains an effective strategy despite this trend to mistrust what we're seeing in the news and online?

[00:25:10] Jonathon Narvey: This is such a great question and it's one that I have not shied away from. I'm as skeptical as anyone; probably more than most ... 

[00:25:20] Tania De Ridder:  The journalism background, right? 

[00:25:22] Jonathon Narvey: Exactly. I've seen how the sausage is made, and once you've done that you cannot unsee it.  I've also seen some major changes in how journalism is done.  There's always been bias and narrative building in the media. That's always been the case. The change today is actually just that you get news organizations that by their branding they would suggest that they're playing it straight down the middle, where you might get the impression, oh, this is objective news. What  I would want to see is if you're a media organization, you can just say, 'Hey, we cover events from this angle and that's what we do'. And everybody knows that and everyone's fine. And some organizations do that.  So the question is really,  as a PR person,   does this impact what we do?  Absolutely. In the sense that we have to be on guard,  what would a reader say? How might our reader be skeptical about this? So,   how can we prove what we're saying? Or what kind of data can we bring to the table so it doesn't appear to be spin?   I know social media, it seems like it has taken over and everyone talks about Twitter, but the truth is everyone is still will reading news from the big outlets.  And very often if you're on social media, if you're on Facebook, you're still reading The Wall Street Journal. You're still reading The Economist. Or your local say The Vancouver Sun.  And,  it's just you're getting it through that other app, but the big media players still have tons of presence. 

[00:26:53] Tania De Ridder:  Yes. And I love how it connects with what you've mentioned earlier about doing research.  So making sure that the publications you use, you've researched then, you know how users think about those publications and  seeing if your business values align with the values of the platforms you choose.

[00:27:12] Jonathon Narvey:   Yeah, I just wanted to add one thing is that this shift from the big players in the media to alternative media actually opens up more opportunities.  So it's now no longer just  The New York Times or nothing.     If you're a founder of a startup if you're getting quoted in a blog that gets say a hundred thousand or half a million readers or a podcast that has an audience that keeps coming back,  or even if it's a small audience, but it's getting in front of exactly the eyeballs that you want cause it's a hyper niche site that everyone knows to go to for this particular kind of news,   you want to get into that and that's often better than getting into The Globe and Mail or in Time Magazine. 

[00:28:00] Tania De Ridder: I love that shift in perspective. It's all right to start smaller because the impact can be big. 

[00:28:07] Jonathan, you're the host of the podcast 'The future of'  where you have conversations about the future of innovation,  culture, and politics.   I'll make sure to share the link in the show notes,  but since I know that you like to dabble in futurism, I want to ask you,  what do you predict for the future of PR  post-pandemic and beyond?  Do you think there will be big changes in the future?

[00:28:31]  Jonathon Narvey:  So this is a question I've thought about quite a bit as someone who runs a PR firm,  how do we do things? How can we do things differently? How are companies going to be doing things differently? I think just like with other industries, there's going to be a greater and greater reliance on technology as a force multiplier.  So for example, we use software that gives us access to a global database of about a million reporters.   It enables us to quickly whittle down and search and create lists of reporters who we think would be a good fit for the story.   There's actually a number of services out there.   So the future of PR is going to be, let's say AI-powered versions of that, that just is more effective and frankly, more accurate than maybe the software we're using.   

[00:29:19] Tania De Ridder: That sounds exciting.  So more tools, more resources,  more effective strategies based on data. That's what I'm hearing. 

[00:29:26]  Jonathon Narvey: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I think so to the extent that you can use services to make things more efficient, great.  But if I can hire someone who's just naturally a gifted writer who is inquisitive, curious and is often looking at stories and building storylines, not just based off on what they know, and this looks like a good argument and I can build this like Lego blocks.  But if this person can also think in terms of how could this be wrong?   How can I get ahead of that? And,  what information can we provide to make this as solid and valuable a story or a pitch for a reporter as possible?   If I can hire that kind of person,  then you know,  an AI and an app that improves our effectiveness it's great, but it's, it's about the people you work with. 

[00:30:17] Tania De Ridder: Yeah, you still need the human.  

[00:30:19] You do have a lot of experience and knowledge on how to manage relationships. So how do you approach conversations so that you get to that place of being on the same wavelength as your clients, or then mind meld as you like to call it?

[00:30:34] Jonathon Narvey: The first I will say, which is probably not going to be that big a surprise to your audience of budding entrepreneurs or maybe experienced entrepreneurs is  you don't want to overpromise and under-deliver.     I prefer to do the opposite, where  I'll set expectations.  For instance, if I were to hire a PR firm,  what even kind of results can I expect, how many media hits would that translate into? And, so for us,  we'll routinely get four or five media hits for a client in a slow month.  There's no funding round. There's no product launch. There's nothing happening with this company and we'll get four or five hits. If there's some major news going on maybe we'll get 15 hits that month. And that could be a range of newspapers, magazines, what have you.   So,   you do have to sort of set those expectations in advance as a PR firm.  Because,  when you don't do it properly and  I really do try to be as transparent as I can about, we can give you this,  maybe you'll get this, it'd be nice to get this.  This takes some time.  And despite that, you know, and I'm very careful that way,  I have run into situations where, you know, you get this, what I call  The New York Times or nothing mentality and three weeks into an engagement and the client is like, Hey, I'm not famous yet. And, uh, it's like, whoa, okay, well, look, here's what we're doing. Here's what we're gonna do.  Here's what you can expect. We've discussed this.  And at that point,  it's not a question of blaming a customer. Cause if I've done a poor job of setting expectations, I'm setting myself up for failure.   Those harsh moments that fortunately are quite rare,    when they do happen,  it's really, these are our times to investigate, to look inward and think, Okay, what did I get wrong? What did I miss here? What did I not say?   And what can I do differently next time? Because the journey of entrepreneurship is really a journey of, you know, you're not going from one success to another. It's you're trying a bunch of things at the same time and some things work and some things don't and you're always looking at, okay, well, what worked and really what didn't work and did it not work because everything connected to this idea is terrible?  Or did we just execute it incorrectly?   The culture at Mind Meld PR, our team, is very focused on learning what worked, what didn't, what can we do differently?  

[00:33:11] Tania De Ridder: I'm so glad you mentioned that because it's definitely a learning curve.  Every entrepreneur will go through the process.  But you did mention that you and your team focus on learning.  Do you have specific sessions where you just get together and share experiences you've had with clients, or how do you make sure that there's a system or a process to deal with potentially challenging clients?

[00:33:34] Jonathon Narvey:  So because we're often doing a bunch of different things we find time for that learning in morning huddles.  So in the morning, we're talking about, okay,  here's what we have to do today and did we learn something yesterday that we can apply to the thing that we're doing today? It's very much talking about current activities and reviewing what has happened.  And then,  also the moments where we're compiling reports for our clients about, okay, this is what we did this month.  And these are good moments to look at. Okay,  did we get all the results we could have gotten?  Or what could we have done differently?   Very often sort of mid-week there'll be a meeting,  and it doesn't have to be a long meeting, 15 minutes is plenty.  If let's say we've discovered a new app that helps us do our jobs better or a website that gives us all of the information we wanted to achieve a particular goal,  we'll share this, and this is what I learned, and this is how I would use this, and this is how I would not use this.   So,  a lot of the learning is very tactical.  And then at the end of the week, we also have our check-in of,  again,  what was our big learning of the week?    Maybe not just one thing, maybe it was a few things that we learned about how we do things or about how our clients are interacting.  And it's very much using and reusing curricula.  It's more about what did we actually do with clients? What are we doing? What are we planning to do?  And then,  what do we need to know to do our jobs better? It's just, it's always part of what we're doing. 

[00:35:07] Tania De Ridder: It sounds like you have excellent communication within your team,  having those daily as well as weekly meet-ups. 

[00:35:13] Over the years, you've had some incredibly interesting conversations with successful tech entrepreneurs.   What have you learned about the entrepreneurial spirit from interviewing some of these very innovative thought leaders?  If I forced you, which I know is a very hard thing for me to ask,  but if I forced you to share one or two key takeaways, what would you say?

[00:35:39] Jonathon Narvey: The through lines that I often see for successful entrepreneurs that I'm dealing with or just that I observe in the technology space is they're trying many, many things and they're throwing a lot of stuff at the wall and then seeing what sticks. And then when that's things sticks, they look very, very carefully at it. Is this something we can scale up?   Because it's not just getting one thing right. It's seeing how you can keep doing that, replicating that.  And,  so it's testing iteration constantly.  Very, very few people succeed at the very beginning.   For those who succeed right away, good for you.   For those of us who, you know, had to take a few kicks at the can to get things rolling,   Hey, you know, persistence pays off, creativity, trying things, and also being,  I don't want to say merciless with yourself, but very honest with yourself about where things have maybe gone off the rails and how you can fix things, how you can improve.   You have to be introspective.    

[00:36:44] Tania De Ridder: That is very encouraging and very thoughtful. I agree with you. It's very few people who get it right, right from the start.  

[00:36:51] Jonathan, how can people learn about your PR packages or connect with you?

[00:36:57] Jonathon Narvey: I'm so glad you asked. So the website is Mind-Meld-PR-dot-com.  Mind Meld PR is in Vancouver, but we serve clients in the USA and Canada.    You can also find Mind Meld PR on Twitter,  on Facebook,  on LinkedIn, we are everywhere.      

[00:37:13] Tania De Ridder: Thank you so much for joining us on Starting Advantage, Jonathan, for all the advice you shared,  we really appreciate your time with us today.

[00:37:22] Jonathon Narvey: Tania, it's been a pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.

[END]

Tania De Ridder owns the copyright of the content and transcripts of the Starting Advantage Podcast, all rights reserved.

Jonathon Narvey

Founder & CEO

Jonathon Narvey is the Founder & CEO of Mind Meld PR Inc.

Mind Meld PR is a Public Relations Agency in Vancouver, B.C., serving clients in the USA and Canada. They work with innovative startups and scale-ups in SaaS, AI, EdTech, HealthTech, CleanTech, FinTech and more.

As a reporter covering the tech scene, he learned the craft of storytelling. Now in PR, Jonathon and his team use those skills to earn media coverage for innovative tech companies.