Arika Anderson Daniels and Denise Scatena are the founding partners of San Diego marketing communications agency Scatena Daniels.
Q: What is the toughest part about running your own business?
A: (Denise Scatena) -- Since we love what we do, it really never feels like we are working. However, I think our biggest complaint, and only, is one that every business owner can relate to: We can never turn off. Our minds constantly think about our clients and the strategic growth of our business. This is especially true in our industry since we work with the media, and they can call us at anytime of the day whether it's 4 a.m. or 10 p.m.
Q: What would you say is your competitive advantage? What makes your PR firm unique?
A: (Arika Anderson Daniels) -- We like to be in the forefront with all our clients. Some might think being a smaller firm is a disadvantage, but to the clients we work with they know they are getting top level expertise at a competitive rate. You won't find that at most large firms where you work with junior practitioners.
(DS) -- We also pride ourselves on being an extension of our clients' companies, and providing strategic leadership, vision and perspective. Our clients are like family to us, and we are honored to represent them and the great things they do in San Diego and beyond. Our outlook on client relationships has paid off handsomely for our clients. One striking example was recommending, writing and placing a “Letter to the Editor” with a regional newspaper on behalf of a non-profit client that helped them secure a $410,000 foundation grant.
Q: What are the most common missteps you see companies make, and what do you wish you could tell them?
A: (AD) -- When relating to public relations, we feel many companies we talk with need to recognize the benefits of creating awareness for themselves in the community through traditional media and social media outreach.
(DS) -- Also, once a company is ready to take that step, they need to interview a handful of PR firms and check references to find out which team is the best for them. It's almost like dating. Not everyone will be a fit, but be certain to look beyond the exterior and really focus on what these PR firms can do for you and your business.
Q: Which three adjectives accurately describe your experience as a small-business owner?
A: (AD) -- Determined — Being a business owner is incredibly invigorating, but also overwhelming at times. We need to be continually focused and determined to make certain we are reaching our goals as well as our clients' objectives.
Flexible — While it is important to have a plan, it is also important to identify opportunities that come along that can contribute to the growth of your company as well as your clients' business. It is important to be open to change. The communication tools available today disseminate and engage the media, and audiences have vastly changed in the last three to five years alone with the evolution of social sharing and news content sites. By being open to ideas and technology, it positions your business and your brand as forward-thinking, strategic and nimble.
Connected — We pride ourselves on the connections we have in the community. Beyond our traditional and social media connections, we have really made a point to know community partners and other services/vendors that are an asset to our clients and our business. We're known to create mutually beneficial relationships that work for all parties, where expectations are clear, communications are timely, and results are delivered.
Q: What do you feel are the most important issues small business-owners are facing today?
A: (AD) -- All small-business owners have felt the financial crunch the last few years, but we feel it's important to continue to focus on the long-term goals and be responsible with where you spend your money. It’s also important to be resourceful with your clients’ resources as well; we are charged with implementing efficient and impactful strategies to build and maintain brand awareness, generate leads, cultivate financial donations or purchases, and drive event attendance.
Q: What advice can you offer to new business owners and entrepreneurs just starting out?
A: (DS) -- Patience. Starting a business is scary and hard work. You really have to put your heart and soul into it to make it successful. That being said, it doesn't happen overnight so you need to continue to be patient and tenacious to achieve your dreams. We also feel it is important to cultivate a small group of trusted professionals you can brainstorm ideas and find solutions to challenges you may encounter in the operation of your business. By creating and maintaining a circle of trust with others, you will find fresh perspectives from sound professionals who have “been there.”
Q: What does the future hold for Scatena Daniels Communications?
A: (DS) -- A lot of new things are happening at Scatena Daniels Communications. We just moved our offices to Old Town and are in the midst of launching a new website, which accurately reflects our growth and renewed business focus. More importantly, we look forward to sharing our creativity and craft with companies in San Diego who are looking to touch the community in a non-traditional way. Those are our favorite clients, ones that look beyond the services they provide or the widgets they make and really give back to the community that has helped to make them successful. These clients always make the best stories.