90 percent of small-agency owners don’t know how to retire
My retirement savings is dismal. Dismal. Good thing I’ve got decades to go before that becomes a consideration.
For many owners of independent PR firms, IRAs and 401Ks are only one of their worries as they reach retirement. A new survey by financial advisory firm, The Tobin Group, found that nearly 90 percent of these agency owners in the U.S. do not have written exit plans.
What’s an exit plan?
Good question. I wondered the same thing. Turns out it’s not part of the company’s crisis plan. Exit plans are how these owners plan to leave their businesses upon retirement, including who — if anyone — they will transfer ownership of the company to, and how they will be compensated by selling their stake in the business.
According to the study, more than 80 percent of owners between the ages of 55 and 79, “when most owners contemplate retiring or ‘cashing out,’” and 77 percent in the 60 to 69 age group, said they do not have written exit or succession plans.
If there is a golden parachute for small-business owners, it appears they’re not sure how to deploy it. And (to continue this metaphor) for many of them the ground is approaching quickly.
David Tobin, the — you guessed it — founder of The Tobin Group, said small-business owners should start preparing their exit plans at least 10 years before they’re ready to split. Otherwise, they’re wallets will take a hit--and so will the grandkids' birthday presents.
They typically go one of two ways. One scenario features an ordinary looking young man and an attractive young woman, who is way out of the guy’s league. The guy is given a choice between his beer and the woman—and he chooses the beer.
The other scenario involves a couple of dorky young men; they crack open a couple beers and suddenly girls—who are way out of their league—show up and want to party.
It wasn’t always this way. At one time in this nation’s history, beer commercials were hybrids of Saturday morning cartoons and infomercials. They often featured animated characters or puppets, and they went for the hard sell.
Here are five examples:
(Thank you, Ragan Executive Editor Rob Reinalda, for your exhaustive research for this post.)
This man—and maybe his infant son—will dance for your brand
Meet Dancin’ Brandin’, a man who, according to his Twitter profile, will dance for your brand. “Every day in 2010, starting May 1st, I will be dancing for a brand to help create exposure for them! Check out the site!”
There’s no link to the site, so assuming he means Web site, and not the actual site of where he plans to bust a move, a Google search turned up DancinBrandin.com—and this video, his dance for BuildYourJacket.com.
Anyone else speechless? And anyone else wonder how much he’s paying the Black Eyed Peas for use of their song in his money-making venture?
As you can see, this man will, in fact, dance for your brand and then document it on film and video. He has more than 35,000 followers on Twitter; he has a Facebook page, too, but only one fan ... so far.
Oh, yeah, one more thing, Dancin’ Brandin’ has a one-month old son “that could be dancing for your brand too soon enough!” According to his Web site. “And rest assured, your money will be well spent!””
OMG that’s so cute — I could puke.
But, wait, there’s even more!
Dancin’ Brandin’ posted on the new Web site, Fiverr, which is a forum where people post what they will do for $5. (I thought that was called “Casual Encounters.”) Dancin’ Brandin’ said he will tweet about your company to his more than 35,000 followers for $5 — and people are paying for this service.
You heard it here first: Dancin’ Brandin’ will have his own show on CBS soon.
Going viral: Did George W. Bush wipe his hand on Bill Clinton’s shirt?
This video burned up the Web waves Wednesday. It shows former Presidents Clinton and Bush shaking hands with people in Haiti. In the footage, it appears Bush wiped his hand on Clinton’s shirt after shaking hands with someone.
With TimesCast, NYT goes TMZ — minus the entertainment
Ever catch the gossip show, TMZ? It’s addictive, isn’t it?
The show begins in the TMZ.com newsroom, where the editor—Harvey Levin—leads a free-wheeling discussion with the site's reporters as they explain what’s happening in the world of gossip news.
The New York Times launched something similar on Monday; it’s a daily Web video called TimesCast. The Wrap’s media blogger, Dylan Stableford called it a “sort of how-the-sausage-gets-made ‘show’ similar in concept to 'Tabloid Wars,' the short-lived Bravo about life for reporters at the Daily News. Only much, much drier.”
I’d like to add an extra “much” to the “drier.”
The roughly six-minute TimesCast video begins by taking viewers inside The Times’ page one meeting at 10:33 a.m. This portion of the video, which bounces around to various editors as they explain the top stories they’re following, lasts about one minute. It’s the best one minute of the whole video, since we get a glimpse at how the front page of The Times starts taking shape.
From there the video becomes about as exciting as the VHS tape your substitute teacher in high school chemistry class would put on to subdue you. I half expected someone to hand me a worksheet as I watched TimesCast, with a stern warning that this does count towards our grade.
The Deputy Managing Editor’s name is ________.
The lead business story was ________.
The business reporter interviewed just returned from _________.
After the page one meeting, the TimesCast is nothing more than a variety of dry interviews with editors and reporters at the paper.
For news junkies, this is a dream. For the casual news consumer, it’s a snoozer.
Vice President Biden introduced the president today at the signing ceremony for the new healthcare bill. As he switched places at the podium with the president, Biden told Obama—in a voice loud enough for the mics to catch—"This is a big f***ing deal."
This man is a national treasure.
Mediaite has the video (although Fox News was the first to report it).
Related: Bob Lehrman, the former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, has a write-up on Ragan.com today about the president's rhetorical build up to healthcare passage.
What’s PR got to do with it? Jesse James and the gang of cheaters
You know who loves Jesse James right now?
Tiger Woods and John Edwards.
As you all know, Jesse James—the reality TV mechanic, not the bank robber—is married to America’s current sweetheart, Sandra Bullock. When she won an Academy Award this month for her role in The Blind Side, Bullock thanked “Helga B,” her mother, “a trailblazer who allowed me to have—that.”
She pointed to the audience as the camera panned over to James, tearful and proud, and everyone watching at home assumed she was referring to her husband. We all sighed a collective sigh.
Turns out it was a sham. Bullock moved out of her house one week later, just days before reports surfaced that James carried on an 11-month affair with Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, a tattoo fetish model, while Bullock was filming The Blind Side.
Just days after Bullock walked, James issued an apology.
The vast majority of the allegations reported are untrue and unfounded. Beyond that, I will not dignify these private matters with any further public comment. There is only one person to blame for this whole situation, and that is me. It’s because of my poor judgment that I deserve everything bad that is coming my way. This has caused my wife and kids pain and embarrassment beyond comprehension and I am extremely saddened to have brought this on them. I am truly very sorry for the grief I have caused them. I hope one day they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
Kind of a confusing message, wouldn’t you say? Imagine if your boss confronted you about something and you said, “Most of what you just said is untrue. I don’t want to say anymore about it. I’m sorry. It’s my fault.”
On the asshole scale, James ranks somewhere between Eliot Spitzer and Tiger Woods, and well below Jon Edwards. And yet, compared to all three of these cheaters, James did what so many PR pundits advise: He wasted no time issuing a statement (unlike Tiger) that didn’t involve a weird press conference with his humiliated wife by his side (like Spitzer) and he didn’t at first deny (all) the charges (like Edwards).
So, despite his vague apology, it seems—on paper, at least—James followed the rules of public relations. And yet, when the actions of all four of these men are washed away by the fog of pop culture minutia, Woods and Spitzer will come out on top. Edwards will be the ultimate creep. And James, well, one day soon the world will return to its balance and when we refer to Jesse James we’ll mean the famous outlaw, not the reality TV star who married into Hollywood fame.
Spitzer and Woods have a talent or knack or whatever you want to call it that will shine through their boorish behavior, for better or for worse. When Tiger returns to the golf course for next month’s Masters Tournament, he’ll sink an amazing putt or drive the ball a mile and we’ll all lament the many months golf suffered without his presence.
Meanwhile, Spitzer, the man who took on Wall Street as attorney general of New York, will come riding on to the political scene, reformed and rejuvenated, ready to take on the greedy capitalists. He’s already taken incremental steps towards this comeback: writing a column for Slate.com and appearing on talk shows to discuss politics, not his affair with a prostitute.
Americans won’t forgive their behavior; we’ll forget it, conveniently.
James might be a talented mechanic, but he’s also a reality TV star. And they are disposable. No PR pro in the world could bring him back from the brink.
In case you didn't hear it, Shel Holtz, a social media consultant and popular Ragan instructor, was interviewed on the radio program "Marketplace," a product of American Public Media, which airs (in Chicago, at least) on National Public Radio.
Holtz was joined by Scotty Monty, Ford's social media chief, Brian Lusk, Southwest's communication manager, and others, to discuss how companies are using social media.
Here's one nugget from the interview. According to Holtz, people with social media skills are in demand.
"If you look position descriptions for companies that are hiring in their communications department, their marketing department," he told Marketplace. "They're all looking for social skills."
You can read this transcript or listen to the program here.
This afternoon, Scott Meis, the senior project and social media director at Carolyn Grisko & Associates, a Chicago strategic communications firm, presented a PR Daily webinar all about how to use Facebook for PR.
During the webinar, he offered the top 10 privacy settings for Facebook.
Here they are:
1. Use your friend lists. That way, you can group your networks together and create customized lists.
2. Remove yourself—if you want—from Facebook search results.
3. Remove yourself—if you want—from Google search.
4. Avoid the photo/video tag mistake. If you’re out on a weekend night and someone snaps photographs of you (doing something embarrassing, maybe), make sure you remove any tags on the pictures that will then show up on your wall.
5. Protect your own photo albums, that is, keep them private from certain members of your network if you like.
6. Customize your newsfeed. This way, you can prevent certain items from posting on your newsfeed.
7. Protect yourself from applications: Be careful which ones you try out on Facebook. The goofy ones may be too racy for certain members of your network.
8. Common sense: Avoid embarrassing wall posts.
9. Keep friendships private. Are you friends with someone and don’t want other members of your network to know about it? Go ahead and mark a friendship as private.
10. Make your contact information private. Of course, if you’re using Facebook for business only, then this might be a bad idea.
Tell us how you manage unrealistic expectations, meet reporter needs, churn out news when there is none, deal with a client you can't stand, and what you say to people that slam PR. Or anything else that's on your mind.