Sensing and understanding a communications climate change, both in the way PR firms treated its clients and in the way traditional media distributed its news, CEO Nick Powills founded No Limit Media Consulting in March 2008.
Long before marketers and old technology PR firms claimed to understand the term “Social Media,” No Limit had already created successful campaigns using this new form of communication. By throwing away the term “PR” and replacing it with “Progressive Communications,” No Limit has created an interactive communications strategy that combines a fine-tuned blend of Social Media + Traditional Media techniques to drive stronger results.
MO: What inspired you to launch No Limit Media Consulting? Was it a gradual decision or did you have an “aha moment?”
Nick: To say it was gradual would be an understatement. Literally, from the day I was born, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. For Christmas and birthdays, I would ask for desks and office supplies for my “office” – a corner of my bedroom. I started a carnival business in the 5th grade where I would select one classmate per carnival to be my business partner. I started an autograph business in high school and recruited my aunt and uncle to be investors. I started a magazine when I was in college (still going). I was destined to do something. The difference between those businesses and No Limit is that all those moments, those struggles all worked nicely together when it came to running an agency. The “aha” moment was more so people telling me no, or that I can’t do something. That was my fuel. I knew Social Media would be huge, but my employer didn’t buy into that. Thus, my aha moment was a perfect combination of a lot of things.
MO: At your firm, why have you thrown away the term “PR” and replaced it with “Progressive Communications?” What is the difference between the two?
Nick: Honestly, because I hate PR agencies. The models are broken, there are no relationships, it’s not a team atmosphere, and the clients suffer for that. I wanted to start a new term that blended communications – social, PR, marketing – and challenged the way agencies do business.
MO: How essential is a social marketing strategy for a business? Is it possible to thrive without one?
Nick: Of course it’s possible to thrive without one, but, it is a piece of the puzzle that breaks down relationship barriers with customers when you talk with, not at, the end user. Only go into the world of Social Networking if you are ready to commit time, money and effort to making it work. It’s not like you can simply launch a fan page and make money off of our one step. Much like running a business, communications takes time and remarkable thinking.
MO: If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what business related advice would you give yourself?
Nick: Great question. I had some challenges with business partners when I started my business. While I am sole now, starting a business with partners is difficult – especially when there is a friendship connected. It’s like a marriage, and if both sides don’t see eye-to-eye, it can cause stress – not necessarily to the outside world, more so the inside world. After my whole situation, someone said to me, “look at the size of their house, the type of car, and their lifestyle. If it’s not filled with successful riches, then they probably are not going to offer a lot in the end.” That has stuck with me. It is not the perfect due diligence barometer, but is interesting. When franchisees are looking to become franchise owners, look at the brand. Look at the richness behind it. That can help you define an initial gut answer.
MO: What would your advice be to a new company looking to build their brand? What kind of strategy should they be putting into place?
Nick: Patience is essential. I am not patient. I want everything now – but business has changed me, not because I wanted to, but because it forced me to. Don’t do everything at once. Don’t listen to everyone. The best advice you will ever get is from your gut. Listen to it. There are going to be a lot of people telling you which direction to go in and what strategy to use. They don’t know you and they don’t know your business. Listen to your gut – that will help you build your brand.
MO: Can you talk about the launch of your 1851 Project (www.1851project.com) and the inspiration behind it?
Nick: Back to me being an entrepreneur and launching a magazine, I created Lumino Magazine in 2001 after an internship at Rolling Stone Magazine. I loved music and I was on the forefront of online communication. Problem was, I was always one inch away from greatness (profiles to manage music, video interviews, text message marketing – all a part of the magazine, but not over the tipping point). The other problem was it was music – equals very limited financial benefit. Now, I am applying the same models and techniques to business and speaking to an audience that needs, that desires content. We are daily. We are building credibility. We are able to help coach people through the business waters in a Social and non-Social atmosphere. If Entrepreneur Magazine, a franchise trade magazine and a franchise portal merged – this is what 1851 would be.
MO: Thank you so much for your time today.