In this economy, it’s hard to pass up new client or career opportunities. However, sometimes there’s a good reason—or several—to walk away from the table.
Doing so can be a tough decision . But like anything in life, if the caution signs are there or you’re just not feeling it, it may be best to move on.
Here are four good indicators you might want to take a pass on a new opportunity:
You don't believe in the product, or maybe even the people.
At the end of the day, PR is about selling the product or company to the audience. How can you effectively promote something you don’t believe in? If intuition kicks in at some point, making you question the product or the company, perhaps it’s best to follow your gut. If you can’t stand behind it, it’s not good to stand in front of it.
When the potential client or boss can’t explain or clearly state the associated marketing goals and objectives.
Worse yet, some may not know what the company’s overall business objectives are. Without the company clearly articulating the broader strategy and direction, what do you have to adhere to, and how can you make a difference?
Chances are, they won’t be able to understand how you’ll help them meet the goal. Whatever those may be.
When the executive team doesn’t see the value of PR.
This one is tough, as I love a good challenge and it can be rewarding to help executives understand the positive impact a quality PR campaign can have on their business. That said, if this is a red flag, it might be best to forgo the opportunity. If leadership doesn’t see the value of PR (or the associated dollars attached), you’ll often be spending time (billable or unbillable) to justify your existence versus getting things done.
When expectations are out of the park.
To be clear, we often set internal expectations in our own agency
that far exceed those of our clients. We love nothing more to promise what’s realistic and then go as far beyond that as we can. Though if someone is seeking results that don’t match their potential, be wary of engaging.
We recently read a request for proposal with program objectives that included securing the “Today” show. Kudos for the specificity. (We won’t get into that being a tactic versus objective.) More important, the reality was that the product cost $1,400 and was available in such limited quantity it was already sold out. Probably not going to make the “Today” show under those circumstances, no matter how hard we try.
You might have your own list of signs to consider before taking on an opportunity, and I’d love for you to share your thoughts.
It’s also important to know that, in some cases, the instances above can be overcome. Sometimes taking chances or deeper examination pays off and you discover a gem.
The bottom line: If you’re taking an honest look at a new business or career opportunity, it’s best to assess it just like any other relationship. Look at it from all sides. Ask yourself if you believe in the program, if you can meet or exceed expectations, and if the opportunity will be a net positive for your own overall brand.
If not, perhaps the best you can do for yourself, your business and even the prospective client or employer, is to offer a polite “no, thank you.”
There’s one last thing to consider: If asked why you passed on the opportunity, give honest feedback. You’ll be doing them, and other candidates, a favor.
Find opportunities that match your interests led by people who see the value of PR, and can clearly articulate their goals and objectives. By doing so, you’ll be much closer to helping move the needle—and enjoying a rewarding, fruitful relationship for all.
Carm Lyman is co-owner and president of Lyman PR, a consumer lifestyle communications agency. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on twitter @carmlyman or @lymanpr.