Rita Guthrie of Allentown has been generating and developing marketing solutions for more than 20 years. Specializing in small business, she established Open Door Public Relations (www.opendoorlv.com) in 2005 and has guided hundreds of businesses and organizations. Known as the “Idea Lady,” Guthrie also conducts the Open Door Marketing Academy several times a year, while her Coffee Talk series runs a few times each month.
What’s your take on the local economy?
In the current economy, small businesses need to use all their resources wisely. This is a great opportunity to get creative and take advantage of marketing opportunities that are no- or low-cost. By developing email marketing campaigns, a business owner can easily reach out to the most reliable source of income: returning clients and existing fans. Reactivating relationships with those that already know, like and trust you is the best investment of your marketing efforts.
What issues are you most concerned about?
There are many local valued professionals who have lost their jobs due to a down economy. Job-search techniques have changed drastically since they last completed a resume. And it is challenging to find that surge of confidence needed to market themselves creatively to a prospective employer.
Just like the small-business owner, the job seeker needs to attractively brand him or herself, make solid connections and work the network. Securing marketing advice from a professional or initiating a mastermind team to evaluate one’s confidence and competence is a worthwhile endeavor.
How did you build a connection to the community?
As a serial networker, it is central to my mission to connect with the small-business community in and around the Lehigh Valley. Participating in a variety of networking groups, as well as attending charitable and networking functions, increases my visibility. My focus is on introducing my clients and colleagues to one another and going out of my way to suggest specific ways they might use each others’ services or develop strategic alliances.
It is no coincidence that I am known in small business circles as the “Idea Lady,” always sharing new perspectives and creative concepts in PR and marketing strategies. In the end, by helping them increase their business and strengthen their brand, it reflects well on my own skills and practices.
What would you do to improve your business?
Regardless of one’s industry, it is imperative that we routinely participate in continuing education. Working with professional coaches, attending conferences and participating in workshops expands my knowledge, increases my connections and sharpens my craft. And when I teach small business workshops myself, I also learn from my students.