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A long look within… 

Over my working life I have gained skills that have led me to where I am today. I have enjoyed working in a variety of roles, and one of the most wonderful experiences was to work in law enforcement. This gave me a chance to make a difference and experience the personal satisfaction that results from having done so. When I left the police and moved into a totally different area of business – publishing – I want, and need, to have the same feeling of making a difference.

When you have your own business, most of your time is spent trying to sell what you do. It’s a simple process really: find customer, sell, job done. The reality of this is not so easy, and this is when the art of creating something that people want can cause some head scratching and heated conversations, internally or otherwise.

The challenge for small companies is great: you need to market your own small business, you don’t have the marketing department to call for advice. It’s you, and you are busy doing the day job. Added to this, you probably don’t have a marketing background or experience…


Marketing is a sophisticated art, and there are campaigns that we simply never forget. Years, or decades later, we can hear a jingle and be transported back to that advert, to that time in our life when it came out. This is the genius of marketing – tapping into the mindset of customers and providing them with what they need, in a way that engages them and that they remember for decades.

So, taking a hard look in the business mirror with a positive but realistic mindset, does our business offer what people want? Who are we providing our services and product to, and what do our customers actually need? I do not have a marketing degree, so what would I know?

Cutting back to my policing days and what gave me a buzz, I loved to solve problems. I loved the tasks that other colleagues hated. The personal satisfaction of working out a solution for a lost cause was my thing. This unusual interest was, as I now understand, more about marketing than I realised. In order to provide solutions, in the case of the individuals at the time, I needed to identify not just a solution, but get the buy-in of the parties involved (in fact - sales).

If I now cut back again to the here and now, to what we are doing with our business, I realise that we are actually doing the same thing. We are identifying the ‘problem’ faced by our potential clients and suggesting a solution. And if we are not the solution, then we are being ethical when we tell them that.

If we apply this problem solving approach to our subject matter, what do we need to do to best serve our target market?

The crisis and disaster business is filled with smart, talented people, with a variety of skill sets and wonderful capabilities. The services and products offered, can literally save lives and we are genuinely humbled by individuals in our network.

So, going back to what we can offer these amazing individuals and organisations, and do they need or even want what we do?

What I have realised is that, my old investigation skills have come in handy, not to get an admission of guilt I promise, but to help you identify what you need. Every business has some challenge, regardless of its size.

What our company not only aspires to do, but actually achieves, is to influence this market. This can only be done by understanding what your organisation requires right now, and then identifying a ‘right fit’ solution. The early design stage (or intelligence gathering) is critical to understanding the need and identifying a solution that works. Then we achieve the results you want together, in partnership.

We can do this not only through our Crisis Response Journal itself – or our shop window as I refer to it – but through our partner events, round table discussions and collaboration with people who can collectively make change happen. We are no longer content with accepting ‘this is just how it is’. We can make changes.

If this article has sparked an interest and you would like to know more, have a look at the Key Network Partnership link on our website or you can make contact with me directly.

It may be that you just want to connect and be a part of the growing CRJ community - that is also fantastic and you are very welcome.

Key Network Partnership – organisations and event organisers

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Twitter @KirstyCRJ

Kirsty McKinlay-Stewart, 20/02/2019
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