Fail small.

“Go big or go home,” is not sound advice when it comes to media or public relations. If that’s your current strategy, then you should just … go home.

The adage is first cited in the 1990s when everything was “big” – from teased out hair to supersize fast food meals. 

This explains so much, doesn’t it?

You made a big impression, or a big splash. 

You know what else makes a big splash? A belly flop.

In business, we are constantly challenging ourselves to find creative solutions, to be daring, and to make dynamic changes. Afterall, bold strokes can lead to meaningful change. We must be brave. We must be adventurous.

But, when you are charting a new course, you don’t want to get lost while you are supposed to be the guide. You want to be sure you know where the path goes, whether it’s safe, and if it will ultimately lead your followers to breathtaking views or off a cliff.

The same goes for your business and your customers.

When you are opening a new location or debuting a new product, you want to give it a trial run or a soft opening – repeatedly.


In short, you want to fail small. It’s best to work out the kinks, make tweaks, or (sometimes) scrap things all together in front of the smallest possible audience. Begin with an audience of thoughtful stakeholders who want you to succeed but who also provide thorough and critical feedback. 

If you send out a news release or hold a public event before you have all the details in order, you are basically submitting a draft as a final product. Once that release or those invitations go out, you can’t control the response. 

Are you prepared for every response? 

You might be prepared for a low turnout, or a “no” from your media colleagues, but what if the feedback is massively positive, so positive you can’t meet the demand? It’s like having a two-lane road but needing to filter four lanes of traffic. All you have is a bunch of angry drivers.

Get all your failures and hang-ups out of the way before you invite the masses (or the mass media) because the big impression they might leave with is that it was all a big flop.

And you know the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

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