Since 1997, Jim Blasingame has been offering small-business leaders advice on issues ranging from law and finance to the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.
Discussions are shaped with the help of the "Brain Trust," a 500-strong panel that represents the largest community of small-business experts in the world. Blasingame, one of Fortune Small Business' 30 Most Influential People, also publishes a newsletter and maintains an online database of small-business resources.
PRWeek: What topics or guests do you look to feature on the show?
Jim Blasingame:My audience is people who run small businesses and people who want to be small-business owners, from the start-ups to the people getting ready to be at the enterprise level. I do more than 1,000 live interviews every year, and at least four a day; these are with the top thought leaders in their fields. So we often have people on the show who talk about staying healthy while we run our business and how to make sure we have balance in our lives while we make sure our balance sheets are balanced. In addition, we interview many actual small-business owners themselves.
PRWeek: How has the coverage of small-business ownership changed since your show began?
Blasingame:I don't think it has changed that much; small business is still disregarded. I'm still the only guy out there talking to small-business owners five days a week. When was the last time you tuned into any network and saw a program on small business? You just don't see it. I think small business is disregarded in the media, but not in the marketplace like it once was. Every major company has a small-business strategy now. Small business is the last uncharted frontier in the marketplace because it's underserved in so many ways .
PRWeek: What are the issues facing small-business owners?
Blasingame:Capitalization. It's redundant to say "under-capitalized small business." That's the big issue: making sure we have enough capital to keep our business going and growing. Another change for some businesses is making the transition from the traditional marketplace to the virtual marketplace. You've got some second-, third-, fourth-generation businesses out there that sometimes are still doing business the way grandpa did it, and philosophically that can be good, but practically that's typically not good.
PRWeek: Do you notice a difference between how industry leaders and small businesses use PR?
Blasingame:Marketing is one of three things that small-business owners don't do well. I do think that small-business owners are recognizing that they've got to be more PR-savvy; there are some great opportunities out there in PR to leverage their brands without spending a ton of money.
One of the things that we talk about all the time is that you don't have to be a big company to have a brand you can dominate with. [What the PR industry can do] is find a way to develop a product or approach to help small-business owners do PR. Try to develop an approach for small businesses because who knows? The person that you help today might be the next eBay.
Name: Jim Blasingame
Publication: The Small Business Advocate Show
Title: Nationally syndicated radio host
Preferred contact method: firstname.lastname@example.org