Lauren Banyar Reich of LBR/PR On Lifting Business Leaders with Expertise
Hello Lauren! Please share a brief introduction about yourself.
As the CEO & Founder of LBR/PR, a strategic communications agency focused on thought leadership, I am passionate about lifting up business leaders with expertise and vision in a way that moves the needle. I cut my teeth as a book publicist, and in doing so realized how much I enjoy learning from and amplifying the voices of experts in a way that provides real value to an end audience. Creating long-term visibility for a business or individual requires a creativity and tenacity. It means understanding not only our client’s businesses but also the “business” of the media and how to find the sweet spot where those two interests align. In many ways we are translators, ambassadors and brokers – always looking to see how we can we create a win/win for everyone involved. When the media has a reliable and insightful expert source they can turn to, they “win.” The resulting media placement serves as high-quality content for our clients to share with their networks, clients and referral sources – another “win.” For me and for LBR/PR these wins mean happy clients, long-term relationships and a strong network that helps all of us grow.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Joining a community of women who want to grow and success together!
What made you take the leap to start LBR/PR?
Having worked for a number of small agencies over the years, I was always taking notes on best practices, what I wanted to do, and what I didn’t want to do. After parting ways with my previous agency, I was going on interviews I should’ve been excited about, but there was no spark. I spoke with my husband about how I was feeling and he said, “You’ve been talking about starting your own business for a while – are you going to do this or not?” From there, I made the decision to “pilot” being an entrepreneur for six months and I’ve never looked back.
So Lauren, what was your background prior to starting LBR/PR?
Always having worked for small agencies, I think that is why I was able to hang my own shingle at such a young age. Had I not been a part of these small agencies and engaged in the day-to-day running of the firm, managing teams and finding new business, I never would’ve been at a place where I could start my own agency. I went to school for journalism and PR, and I feel like no one ever does the thing they go to school for, but I loved what I learned and knew what I wanted to do. I am grateful for the experience at these small businesses where I was able to have my hands in so many things.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
One of my best girlfriends from college said to me, “You know Lauren, not everyone wants to be in charge all the time,” and I just couldn’t fathom that! Deep down, I always knew that I wanted to be in a role where I could enact change, independently make decisions and lead a team – so yes, I guess I have always known on some level that I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
So Lauren, with your public relations background, when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out ?
Up until recently, our marketing strategy was based on referrals and relationships – which has been successful so far, but what gets you to where you are isn’t what gets you to the next step. Right now we are focused on that next step of detailing what a solid marketing plan looks like going forward for the agency.
Entreprenistas face daily challenges. What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way?
My biggest challenge initially was feeling lonely as a business owner. But I don’t suffer well, so as a result of feeling that way, I made the decision to go out and find a community where I wouldn’t feel so alone. Over the past few years I have plugged into a number of entrepreneur organizations with high caliber folks and I learned how important peer groups are from a community and networking perspective. The biggest lesson I learned after becoming a parent was that it is okay to ask for and accept help – and this lesson has been magnified by becoming an entrepreneur. Asking for help and to hear from the experiences of fellow entrepreneurs is so important to building your business.
Lauren, you have lots to celebrate! What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Personal: Having control over my time and being able to equally prioritize family and work. Career: Creating a business that is a good place to work. There is a lot of churn and burn in PR and people (and so often, talented women!) often opt out of agency life because of the culture – or lack thereof. I always thought there had to be a better way, or at the very least an environment that could support great work and living a good life outside of the office. I am very proud that we have created a culture at LBR/PR where we value both.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
No – because it is not about balance, it is about integration. The expression, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” is a ridiculous saying. I believe you can have everything you want as long as you are expressly clear about what is on that list and intentionally create a life that includes all of those things. It isn’t a balance, it is a big picture integration and reflection on that integration – over the course of x amount of time, did you maintain the integration and all the components that are important to you? It is a constant calibration.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
There is no magic bullet, and no one answer. Being an entrepreneur is not a linear experience. As soon as you get over that and you stop looking at something as the gospel, you find your own version of what works. I like to find the middle way, an approach that works for the agency, my life and my vision. I’ve given up on looking for “answers” because almost everything has shades of grey, but in a good way! There are a lot of different ways to be successful and many paths to get there.
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
As small of a step as it seems, I am so proud that we finally have a website and the beginnings of a digital footprint that accurately represents us as an agency. As much as we put clients first, it is important to grow in the industry, to build our own visibility and get our own thought leadership out there for people to see. In our business, I know we won’t grow unless we spend time doing what we do for our clients for the agency. We are making steps towards promoting the agency online in a way that mirrors who we are offline.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
My goal is to become the known agency for entrepreneurial thought leaders. The go to experts for visionary business leaders who want greater media visibility.