Entrepreneurial Profiles

 

Gloria Bryant, President

The Writing Company

Gloria Bryant is President of The Writing Company, a Newark NJ based Advertising/Public Relations firm whose client list includes both public and private contracts.

Her gentle charm and articulate soft-spoken manner will put you at ease almost immediately. But underneath her quiet demeanor, lies a fierce determination to succeed.

Bryant, whose background is in elementary education, took a job one summer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, now Bell Labs – a division of Lucent Technologies. While she didn’t have any public relations experience they gave her a try. "I always liked to write and I had written some pieces, but I never had anything published," Bryant said. Bell Telephone Laboratories gave her a job for the summer. By July, they offered her a permanent position as a reporter for their in-house newspaper.

During her tenure at Bell Labs, she worked with many of the top advertising and marketing professionals in the business. "Working for Bell Telephone Laboratories was a great learning experience and the perfect environment for developing and perfecting my skills," Bryant said. "If you were looking for an idol or a role model you didn’t have to look far. I was working with Pulitzer Prize winning writers and some of the best graphic designers in the world." Wanting to make the most of her opportunity, she began taking evening classes in advertising and public relations at New York University.

After four years she joined the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), where she spearheaded the organization’s marketing and public relations efforts. Under her leadership UNCF launched its popular "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" campaign and its "Mission Possible" campaign. After initiating a development office at Brooklyn’s Megar Evers College, she started writing on a freelance basis, covering national sports.

She produced National Basketball Magazine and authored a hard covered book on National Basketball Association (NBA) players.

In the mid-80’s, women were encouraged to go into business for themselves. Business support came in many ways – from start-up financing to management assistance. Bryant believed owning a business was no different than the freelance activities she was already engaged in. She decided to make the leap, but also knew she needed a niche.

While working in public relations, she found there was never enough time for all the writing the job required. Bryant recalled, "There were annual reports, brochures, booklets, proposals and various other reports that had to be done on a regular basis." After surveying the market, Bryant determined there was a real need for writing services and perhaps a niche for a business venture.

After completing her market research, Bryant formed The Writing Company, a firm that took full advantage of her considerable writing skills. She took office space in Newark’s Gateway One office complex, the first woman-owned company to do so, and began pursuing writing assignments from public and private corporations.

Her venture took off almost immediately, but not exactly as she had planned. She quickly assembled a list of quality freelance writers who were interested in working with her new firm. However, clients, wanting to tap into her PR expertise, wanted her firm to work on their long-term PR projects.

So, while the name remained the same, the company’s market position shifted from simply writing copy to creating full marketing communications and public relations programs for private and public entities. But solid writing remained a big part of The Writing Company’s strategy. "Strong writing is still the nucleus of everything we do for our clients from writing print ad copy and scripts for television commercials to creating campaigns," Bryant said.

Today she has a full-time staff of four with two freelance professionals on retainer. A majority of their business comes from public institutions such as municipalities, school districts and state and federal agencies.

What do other minority women have to do to succeed in business? Bryant believes the biggest challenge is in proving to potential clients that your firm is capable and can deliver the product or service as promised. Show that your product or service is cost effective. While she points out that these things are required of all small businesses, it is particularly important for minority-owned businesses to show strength in these areas.

Another challenge Bryant sees is getting through the door and convincing the customer that using a minority-owned firm does not mean they will receive a lesser product or inferior service. As a minority business, your goal should always be – to do the best you can for your customers, provide them with superior service and always strive to improve your product or service.

Most of all, Bryant believes you must have tenacity and the ability to deal with the adversity that all businesses must inevitably face. According to Bryant, "Your business may have to shift gears or direction from time to time, but never stop pushing toward achieving your goals."

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