The Canadian Public Relations Society

You Don’t Build Your Business, Your Business Builds You

In Events on February 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Beth Diamond, Managing Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations, captivated the crowd with her charm, her wit and her authentic tales of how she rose from an independent communications consultant to building a multi-million dollar a year business through National Public Relations in Calgary. Diamond was the keynote speaker on Friday, January 28, 2011 at the Ranchman’s Club for the CPRS/IABC Joint Event called “Building Your Communications Consulting Business.”

“What business has taught me,” says Diamond, “Is that you don’t build your business, your business builds you.”

Starting her practice in 1987, armed with her degree in Victorian Literature and the self-confidence of a young woman who could “punctuate better than anyone.” Diamond decided she had what it took to be a successful communications consultant.

While there was not a doubt in the crowd that Diamond had a lot more skill than simply a knowledge of the Bronte’s and how to use a semi-colon, Diamond had much to share that many of us could relate to.

“You can’t do it alone,” says Diamond.  “While I started as a sole proprietor, I quickly learned that I couldn’t do it all by myself.” Diamond’s belief in this is not purely financial. She says it’s also from an emotional point of view as you need someone to be part of the tears and the celebrations.  Diamond and Judi Gunter, APR now of Gunter + Associates, became partners under the Diamond Gunter Group. They continued to build their business together until they decided to part ways because they had differing opinions of where they wanted to take the business.

“We were best friends then, and remain best friends today because we knew when to part ways as business partners,” says Diamond.

Also on the subject of friendship and business, Diamond told the crowd that clients and friends are different animals.  “You should like your clients, but they are not your friends.  Keep a sense of perspective,” counsels Diamond.  “Would your client come home early from their trip to Mexico for you?”

On finances, Diamond stresses the importance of keeping your finances in order.  “In my early days as a consultant, I used to have a ‘if I was hit by a bus’ number,” says Diamond.  “That’s how much money I would be left with after I paid my staff and other business expenses.  Always know that number for your own business.” Diamond also advised the group of consultants in the room to write a business plan for their own business – every year — and to focus on service, not on money.  “If you focus on service, explains Diamond.  “You will deliver results and the money will come.”

Another topic which most of the crowd holds dear to their heart is the question of work/life balance. Many in the crowd had gone into business for themselves for that reason.  What did Diamond have to say about that? “Balance is a myth,” says Diamond.  “What’s important is, are you happy? Balance is about loving what you do. Your life is not a pie chart that can be carved into three or four equal parts.”

In conclusion, Diamond acknowledges that her road to success was not a typical path. Today, you need more training in communications to be successful.  And you need to stay current in the field.  And what she has learned will help her do what she does longer.

“Don’t get old!” says Diamond.  “Stay interested in your business.  We are really lucky.  As communications consultants we get to pick whatever 20 hours a day we want to work.”

Isn’t that the truth.  What is clear is that communications consultants are consultants because they want to be.  They are passionate about their work, their life and their business.  Beth Diamond is an inspiring role model.  And we are grateful that she chose our group to be one of the only three speeches she has given in her 30 year career to date.

Susan Elford, APR, is the Director, Independent  Practioners for CPRS Calgary. You can reach her via email at:

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shawna Ogston , Mary Stanik and CPRS Calgary, CPRS Calgary. CPRS Calgary said: An excellent "Indy" event recap from @susanelford: You Don’t Build Your Business, Your Business Builds You: […]

  2. Oh how true it is! I always enjoy the part of the 20 hours that runs on midnight oil. Phone doesn’t ring, everyone asleep, can get a lot done! So sorry I missed Beth’s talks.

  3. I strongly agree. we do not need to be ashamed to learn. we must be convinced of our abilities. circumstances around us that makes us understand the meaning of a business

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