Written by Coral Darby, Founder & President of Darby Communications
It’s no secret that I am self-taught when it comes to developing PR strategies and running a small business. I am not ashamed of this fact and I’ve always operated under the mantra “when there’s a will, there’s a way.” Truth be told if you work hard, surround yourself with the right people, lead with a conscious, then anything is possible. Darby Communications, now a decade deep into offering PR services to leading brands within the outdoor, fitness and wellness markets, is proof that a focused approach can deliver awesome results. But, to come clean, I haven’t always gone about it alone. Many extremely talented people have helped me along the way.
I am not here to brag – that’s never been the Darby way – in fact, one of our core values is to “be confident, not arrogant,” but I’d like to share a few business insights that have helped me come into my own as a business owner and the occasional entrepreneur.
There have always been two key networks within my business life, the internal and the external. The internal network is of utmost importance and starts with my spouse, who is always willing to be my sounding board and play the devil’s advocate when necessary. The internal network also includes the people at my home-away-from-home, the Darby Communications crew. The external network is of massive importance too, and is often overlooked. The rationale usually includes: I am too busy to meet with outside business counsel and they are too expensive. Here in North Carolina, we have been gifted with a state-funded North Carolina Small Business &Technology Development Center, also referred to as SBTDC. Unbelievable resources are available to small business owners if you seek them out. It’s a welcome affirmation that the state and federal governments want small businesses to succeed so we can continue to fuel the economy.
Introduced to me by a previous client, I could not believe personal, one-on-one business coaching was available at no charge. I immediately reached out to the SBTDC and was paired with the appropriate coach (pro mountain biker, 2 MBAs). Ryan instantly got me honed in on the fundamentals. He and I worked together on team messaging, cash flow analysis and budgeting, and the all-important organizational chart. He even hosted an all staff retreat with the Darby team to identify road blocks and chart the course. Within a year of leveraging his services, we were able to add two new hires and fine-tune an additional service.
Thanks to the dedicated work of SBTDC, Darby Communications continues to grow and strengthen and is now a featured business within their communication assets. I am extremely proud to be highlighted in their 2016 Annual Report and their 2016 North Carolina Small Business Handbook. It’s a little overwhelming, but too good to not share.
All this said, the real ticket to our success is the team situated at 8 Magnolia Ave. Fortunately, with being located in beautiful Asheville, NC, a mecca for outdoor, healthful-minded, intelligent people, I’ve been able to hire extremely talented individuals. The team has taught me how to be a better leader, a better service provider and to truly live out the motto of “we,” not I. They push me out of my comfort zone and help me see the importance of offering new services to our client base, even at times when change feels overwhelming. I would not be where I am today without the skills and passion of the individuals that are Darby Communications. More times than not, they are my instructors.