Multicom is a small firm employing 150 people in the public rela-tions field. It was started by Jim Walsh, a marketing specialist, and Wendy Bridges, a public relations expert. They had worked together for several years at a medium-sized communications firm and decided to branch out on their own to realize their own ideas as to what a good PR firm could and should be. They felt that their combined expertise and extensive contacts provided an excellent base on which to do this.
Before submitting their resignations at their old firm, they persuaded two colleagues, Marie Beaumont and Frank Rossi, to join them as minor-ity shareholders. Walsh and Bridges each held 40 percent of the equity in the new venture; Beaumont and Rossi were each given 10 percent. Rossi was an editor and writer with an excellent reputation, and Beaumont was a well-regarded film and video expert.
At first, business was difficult, and they were glad of the corporate clients that they had taken with them from their old firm. Competition was keen, and their old firm seemed subtly to be doing everything it could to block their progress. However, they worked hard, and their reputation steadily grew along with the size of their staff and their earnings. By the end of their second year, the four partners were each earning almost double their previous salaries and building a significant capital investment as well. They felt that they were well on the way to achieving the kind of top-notch com-pany on which they had set their sights.
These early years were exciting ones.
When they established Multicom, the four partners adopted a client- centered mode of organization. Each partner had certain clients for whom he or she felt a special responsibility, and in effect each became a project manager for these clients. Each developed a reasonable competence in all aspects of the agency's work so that one could substitute for another when necessary. New staff were encouraged to...