Posted by: goalpath | September 15, 2009

Why Write a Press Release Before You Start a Business or a New Job?

In Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, habit number two is: Begin with the End in Mind. His theory behind this principle was that if you were able observe what people might say about you when your life was completed – ie. at your own funeral – what would you want them to say? Based on that, you shouldn’t have any problem determining how to live your life to get that result in the end. Of course, that principle can also be applied to your job or building a business. In other words, lay out your endgame destination at the onset of that job, career or startup and create a plan so that you arrive at that destination when it’s all said and done. Rocket science it’s not, unless of course that is you business or line of work.

Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist, wrote in a recent blog that a good piece of advice for anyone starting a company was to write a press release first. According to Ms. Trunk, once you have written that press release, simply work backward from your vision in developing your business plan. She goes on to say that from your press release you can map out your tasks, objectives and milestones needed to complete your journey successfully.

Some of you might believe that this is putting the horse before the cart, but I believe Mr. Covey and Ms. Trunk are right on the money. How in the world can you reach your destination if you don’t know exactly where you are going? It is like sailing out into the open water on your sailboat with no rudder. You will definitely go somewhere, but it probably won’t be the destination you had in mind. You might have a great product or service, but without a really good understanding of how to achieve your business goals and a sound business plan, you will be sailing without your rudder and never reach your desired destination.

It’s never too late to start, even for an established enterprise or a seasoned professional. Penelope went on to say that her management team did not write their press release first and have paid the price. In fact, Penelope stated that had she written a press release to match their current outcome, the release would have stated “Ryan Paugh announces that he has just made it through two years of Ryan Healy and Penelope Trunk fighting tooth and nail over totally irrelevant details of building a social network that is a career management tool for the next generation workforce.” Not exactly the wording that compels venture capitalists to invest in your enterprise.

It reminds me of a presentation Guy Kawasaki made at an Apple conference back during his days as the chief software evangelist at Apple. He was talking about a new operating system that Apple was going to introduce for their latest Macintosh…that’s what they called the Mac back then. Before he talked about the new OS, he gave the audience his tongue-in-cheek version of the typical software development process in Silicon Valley. He said the first step in the process was to order Tee shirts. Then he said development would begin. Well into the development cycle, the project manager would begin writing the detailed product specifications. Once development was 80% completed, Guy suggested that it was time to launch the product. Following the launch, the next step would be beta testing and debugging. Even though he meant this to be a humorous aside, I am not sure his description was that far off the mark.

How often do people start a new career or a new business without being totally prepared? Far too often I think. Planning on the front end will go a long way in helping you succeed and reaching the destination you envisioned at the beginning of your journey. So remember, before you set out to conquer the business world in a new career or start the next Google, do your homework, write a press release and hang it up on your office wall. It will remind you to stay focused on the final destination or outcome you set out to reach when you started that new job or business.

What’s you take on this issue? Inquiring minds want to know. Comment on Linkedin and/or on my web site, We are always looking for Baby Boomers with an opinion that don’t mind speaking out and can successfully complete a sentence.



  1. I have seen this same mistake over and over again. In fact I too made this mistake earlier in my career. The result of NOT writing down your destination is scattered, going off in tangents thus missing the mark entirely. Can you imagine sending off a rocket loaded with a satellite system and not programming in where it’s supposed to end up? The same thing holds true for a business or any objective in life. Heed the advise, be successful!

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