Public relations is often regarded as one of the most fast-paced and stressful professions one can enter. But for some, the chaos and 24/7 news cycle isn’t daunting, and a few, like fellow Entrepreneur contributor Richard Lorenzen, thrive on it.
At 24 years old, Lorenzen is the CEO of Fifth Avenue Brands, a fast-growing New York-based PR firm that he founded as a teenager still in high school. Lorenzen can often be seen on social media representing well-known clients in tech, media and finance, such as sales legend Grant Cardone, and attending high-profile events like the UN General Assembly.
But it wasn’t always this way. Lorenzen says it took “years of hustle and sheer persistence” to forge the relationships and deals that have contributed to the growth of his company. He has an upcoming book Surge: Supercharge Your Life, Business & Legacy, which is scheduled to be released on October 25 and aims to encourage young entrepreneurs to follow the same path. I recently sat down with him and asked for his five best tips for aspiring millennial entrepreneurs.
1. Look for base hits, not home runs.
Every entrepreneur, especially in technology, is looking to hit a home run. Everybody wants to close the seven-figure client immediately or the nine-figure funding round, and the reality is that that rarely happens. Instead, Lorenzen says, focus on closing several smaller clients first and then incrementally work your way up.
This will also help build your reputation and prepare you for when an opportunity for a home run does come along. No significant degree of success happens overnight. Everything of scale gets built piece by piece. Focus on consistently closing deals, and soon enough, success will compound.
2. Sales are everything — never stop selling.
Sales are the lifeblood of every business. Period, Lorenzen says. There are so many more startups focused on closing funding than on closing sales, but without sales, you do not have a business. One of the primary jobs of a founder should be to sell and to keep selling nonstop.
If you don’t prioritize your time and focus on tasks — like bringing in more revenue — that truly move the needle in your company, the growth you’ve already achieved will quickly start to stagnate. So, until you can afford to hire an army of sales professionals, constantly be focused on selling.
3. Everything you do should directly impact your main goal.
There is so much to do every day when you are the founder of a company that it is easy to get lost in the weeds and lose sight of the bigger picture. As your to-do list fills up and you get bogged down with everything that needs to be done, you may not recognize that you are spending hours doing tasks that seem necessary but aren’t actually growing the company.
This is what causes many startups to tread water for a long time, but never actually go anywhere, Lorenzen says. Instead, he advises, every morning, look at your to-do list and identify the items that are actually contributing to your primary goal and resulting in forward progress for the company. Do those items first and don’t stop until they are complete.
4. Be public — put yourself out there.
It has never been more important than it is today to build a very public brand and be known in your market. In this age of social media and content marketing, people absolutely have to know who you are, and you need to be seen as an expert in your industry.
Take the time (or have a team member take the time) to write expert articles for publications in your industry, share insights and advice on your social media and offer to speak at industry conferences. It’s no longer enough to buy advertising — you need organic publicity and exposure that consistently keeps you in the public eye within your market.
5. Travel the world as much as possible.
Put in the time and investment to travel regularly and see the world through the lens of different cultures and regions. Not only will this give you an education in itself, but it can reveal major business opportunities overlooked by other founders who don’t leave the office.
Travel is a valuable investment for networking, learning about new markets and understanding better how the world works and what role your company can play in it. Travel as far and as often as you can.