ABBI HOXLEIGH MCIPR: Start-up Training Day at IET Birmingham (© MV Visual Media)

Start-ups face the challenge of establishing themselves and effectively communicating their unique values and vision in today’s competitive business landscape. The mental health of these budding entrepreneurs can be negatively affected by the ongoing stress, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety, which impacts communications in stakeholder relationships. For a start-up, stakeholders extend beyond clients to include investors, the media, employees, suppliers, communities, governments, and trade associations. By effectively navigating the typical challenges faced by start-up businesses in their first five years through constructive engagement with stakeholders, these companies can build a durable and positive reputation.

Director of Little PR Rock Marketing Limited (LPRM), Abbi Hoxleigh, recognised this critical need and is offering affordable ‘Start-up PR ProClinics’ tailored explicitly for start-ups when they are considering scalability. By providing ad hoc ProClinics or having a presence at management meetings right from the start, Abbi can address the internal and external aspects of effective communication – ensuring that the inner dialogue within the start-up entrepreneur is as clear and consistent as the message communicated to the outside world, and spot reputation boosting media opportunities. This internal-external alignment is crucial for maintaining authenticity and building a trustworthy brand.

In practical terms, Abbi’s approach helps new businesses address all challenges through PR and communications that address the problem solved, proving business concepts, managing fierce competition, accessing finance and investors, navigating red tape, hiring and keeping the best talent, preparing to scale and using all communications for lead generation rather than relying on marketing.  As the start-up ecosystem continues to evolve, initiatives like these play a pivotal role in shaping the future of new businesses, empowering them to stand out, resonate with their audience, and achieve sustainable growth.

This initiative focuses on traditional client public relations (PR) and communication but encompasses an approach towards stakeholder engagement beyond the usual marketing to customers. Abbi is an active member of CIPR Midlands with a CIPR Professional Diploma (Level 7); she is also the author of CREDIBILITY CONFIDENCE: How to Leverage PR as a Start-up.


“Start-up entrepreneurs need to realise that PR and communications are about much more than press releases and pitching the media,” said Abbi. ” It’s about building a business personality that stands for something with a purpose beyond profit, demonstrating thought leadership and sharing your impact with the world. Effective use of PR and communications can improve the mental health of budding entrepreneurs by making their inner dialogue as consistent as external communications, empowering them to navigate their stakeholder relationships better and boosting their confidence and credibility. I am here to ensure their first foray into the business world is heard and resonates deeply with their intended audience.”

Moreover, LPRM emphasises the importance of ‘issues advocacy’ – a strategy where start-ups take a stand on relevant social, environmental, or economic issues. This approach boosts the start-up’s reputation and demonstrates a commitment to corporate social responsibility, an aspect increasingly valued by consumers and investors alike. Set against the backdrop of an increasingly digital and socially conscious marketplace, this offering by LPRM is where start-ups navigate a complex communication landscape. Abbi wants start-ups to grasp how PR and communications go beyond publicity. For her it is about crafting a narrative that resonates with all stakeholders, creating a coherent personal and business brand story that aligns with the founder’s vision and values.

After working at a charity as a Media Officer for ten years, Abbi’s CIPR qualification represents a comprehensive understanding of advanced PR strategies and planning, content management, media engagement, assessment, and evaluation, potentially to the board level. Her knowledge is further enhanced by her commitment to ethics and adherence to the code of conduct, ensuring that her approach to PR is practical and morally grounded.

On working with Abbi Founder and MD Natasha de Johnge, RE(YOU)S CIC had this to say.

“I had the pleasure of working with Abbi in my business journey, and it was truly transformative. Initially, I struggled to articulate my vision, resulting in a disjointed brand and a lack of confidence in delivering my values,”

Natasha continued, “I contacted Abbi for guidance on defining and effectively communicating my values. Her empathetic listening, thoughtful questioning, and excellent communication skills created an environment where I felt truly understood. Abbi not only helped distil complex ideas into clear messaging but also played a pivotal role in the practical aspects of my journey.

What stood out most was Abbi’s impact. As she guided me, everything became clear. Her transparent and direct communication style allowed me to grasp my vision with newfound clarity. In just eight months, I’ve not only pivoted my business path but also experienced significant personal growth. The confidence to be ME, both personally and in my business, has been truly transforming.

This collaboration was built on trust and empathy. Abbi demonstrated a genuine desire to understand not just my business goals but also me as an individual. I am immensely grateful for Abbi’s commitment to helping me succeed. Working with her was not just a collaboration; it significantly contributed to the success of my business endeavour.”

Abbi Hoxleigh MCIPR is an experienced public relations (PR) professional,  a communicator and a qualified designer with more than ten years of experience representing and delivering media and internal communications to nonprofits, including the mental health sector. Her business, Little PR Rock Marketing, encourages clients with an entrepreneurial mindset to share their values and information authentically to develop effective stakeholder relationships and build a positive digital footprint with a legacy of media coverage. Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) member and qualified with a CIPR Professional Diploma with a developing PR business and author of Credibility Confidence: How to Leverage PR as a Start-Up. Abbi is a member of CIPR Midlands and holds a coveted CIPR Professional PR Diploma, enabling her to contribute to the board level with strategic PR.