By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
When we started the Pittsburgh Current nearly a year ago, we knew we’d do OK on the editorial side of things. After all, it’s what–if the only thing–I’m really good at.
But we knew starting a new business from the ground up was going to be a gigantic task, one that would knock us down from time to time; one that would be an uphill battle; one that would introduce daily, some new problem that we’d have to address with no idea how to address it.
Lucky for us, we had help from a lot of great people, many of whom offered to help us out for no other reason than to see us succeed. That really meant a lot to us and as we approach our first anniversary, we wanted to do something to pay it forward, if you will.
A couple things we’ve learned about young businesses in the past year is that brand management and recognition is extremely important and getting the word out about your brand can be expensive. That’s why Pittsburgh Current is launching its new Grassroots Advertising Program. For $100 any business less than a year old, can get a 1/8th-page ad that will run one time in our new-business advertising section. Of course, we want you to advertise with us more than once, but this program allows new businesses to try out our services, work on brand development and get their name out there for a low price.
The idea for this new program actually came about after a conversation at a local coffee shop with one of those trusted advisers/friends that I mentioned earlier, Scot MacTaggart. Scot’s job is to help new, small businesses grow and succeed. It’s what he does for a living with his consulting company, KRNLS.
“My wife Rebecca and I backed the Current’s Kickstarter campaign – independent alt-weeklies are cool. Through the course of that, I got to know Charlie Deitch. He and I were sitting at the Muddy Cup in Beechview, comparing notes between the one he ran and the ones we do at KRNLS, and I welcomed him into the club of small business owners,” McTaggart recalls. “It’s hard getting a small business off the ground. It’s a bitch getting the word out. All the stuff that can make you successful is priced for people that are already established.
“When you’re a small business, you enjoy a luxury that bigger businesses don’t get: You get to decide if maximizing shareholder value is your only mission. KRNLS is a small business, the Pittsburgh Current is a small business, and both of us believe in helping smaller companies that don’t have as much money to spend. It’s good for them, it’s good for the city, and when they get bigger, we think they’ll remember us and these things we did to help them.
Oftentimes as a small business, you feel like you’re alone in the world. That you’re the only one going through the ups and downs that come with being a small business. But there are a bunch of us out there and I think it behooves us all to help each other out. We all started our businesses because we believe there is a need in the marketplace either for what we do or how we do it. This program is just one of the ways that we can make a difference.
As MacTaggart says, “It’s going to seem like a small thing to a lot of people, but I love this. It’s a big deal to me.”