The theme of this issue is truth – not always an easy subject to write about.
The truth is that without small business the competitive market forces that drive innovation would slow down considerably.
The truth is that growing a small newspaper isn’t easy. Like any small business, we must constantly wrestle customers away from the larger media companies, – giants whose aged names imply credibility, despite their waning value.
The truth is that advertising agencies rarely add niche publications to their buys. Without competition, advertising prices remain high. The fewer the publications used by national advertisers, the higher the prices those publications can charge. It works like this: An agency gets an attractive page cost from a daily paper, but the price is conditional on making a long-term advertising commitment. This commitment ties up most of the ad budget, leaving nothing for smaller publications, and completely side-stepping any possibility for competition. Thus, advertising prices have continued to increase, because very few smaller publications make it past the ad buying agencies. It’s an oligopoly that advertisers who give full control to their ad buying agencies end up reinforcing.
The truth is that I am a small women trying to break up a huge oligopoly, and my chances are slim at best.
The truth is that individuals cause change, and I have managed to gain the support of some truly great people who have made some great companies.
Doug Wilson, president of Sony Canada, and his V.P of marketing, Ravi Nakoola, are two such individuals. They understand that women are important to their business; that women and our communities need to be fostered and supported. They have just announced that they have signed on as title sponsor of the Hummingbird Centre –now called the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts – and will be contributing $10 million in a 20-year sponsorship role.
There are two other people who deserve a deep bow – Dean Stonely and Helen Jackson of Ford Canada. Ford is a company leading the way in creating an environment where diversity is not only accepted, but encouraged. You can feel it the moment you walk into their head office, where an onsite daycare is available to their employees.
But what is most admirable about Dean and Helen is that they truly go the extra mile, working to ensure that women’s initiatives flourish. I’m not sure if they realize that their support of niche publications could actually work to break the oligopoly held by the dailies and may indeed, over time, bring down their overall newsprint advertising costs.
Then there are Manny Kapur and Alan Chan of Medicis, two individuals working in the relatively new industry of cosmetic enhancement. They intimately understand the hurdles that I face, as they too are not only running a successful enterprise, but also challenging cultural perceptions. I thank them for their support and encourage you to check out their website,www.defineyourself.ca, where they offer personal views from some very interesting women.
And let me not forget Frank Trivieri and Marc Comeau at General Motors of Canada. They have made valiant efforts to reach out to the smaller publications. And their support of Women’s Post has allowed us to grow and flourish.
The truth is that I have a lot of people – writers, employees, and advertisers – to thank for the success of Women’s Post.
The truth is that people are what make a small business successful.
Sarah Thomson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org