Entrepreneur Scott Bartnick: Turning Tragedy into Triumph with Otter Public Relations

Ringing in 2020 with a pandemic was certainly not expected and has been exceptionally crippling for the business sector.

Central Otago, land of valleys and mountains (photo credit: SCOTT BARTNICK)
Central Otago, land of valleys and mountains
(photo credit: SCOTT BARTNICK)

Ringing in 2020 with a pandemic was certainly not expected and has been exceptionally crippling for the business sector. According to a study completed by the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago, the future seems bleak, with 2% of small businesses now gone for good. This percentage equates to nearly 100,000 established family businesses, new start-ups, and eCommerce ventures. It's a sobering statistic, for sure.

When so many businesses are ending, entrepreneur Scott Bartnick and his public relations firm, Otter PR, are all about new beginnings. Bartnick has always been a man who acts on an opportunity. Like many others in business, he was powerless during the shutdown and was forced to watch one phase of his business career just end. It was so hard to see unforeseen circumstances destroy his once-lucrative, thriving businesses. Unfortunately, this is the same scenario for most of the 100,000 small companies that failed during the pandemic. Thankfully, Bartnick didn’t sit back and accept failure. He refused to become a statistic, and he's working harder than ever to prevent others from sliding down that slippery slope.  

Years prior to the pandemic, Bartnick quit his Fortune 500 desk job to travel the globe and look for meaningful work. His first success was creating The Five Day Startup --  now a consulting business that has had its fair share of re-branding as it adjusts to the times. But it wasn't until The Five Day Startup, and Bartnick's other business ventures, began to crumble that he had his real epiphany. 

In the midst of his business despair, Bartnick could see opportunity in tragedy. When he could not showcase and market millions of dollars worth of merchandise at scheduled arena events,  and when The Five Day Startup took a hit in the floundering economy, Bartnick knew he needed a plan. He also knew he was not the only one in this predicament. So he searched for a need he could fulfill. He quickly discovered the need was in helping businesses stay afloat or start up during dire times. So, Bartnick’s journey to turn tragedy into triumph began.

Otter Public Relations grew from necessity and flourished as the true passion project Bartnick had been seeking. In a few short months, he was able to recover financially and find personal fulfillment co-founding his widely successful PR firm.

Achieving a full-recovery from trying times is no surprise to anyone who knows Bartnick. Back in high school, Scott confirmed his stamina and persistence. Academically he exceeded all expectations for a deslexic student. And athletically he was no quitter. As the only first-year wrestler planning to attend a rigorous Mid-Western boot camp wrestling program, Bartnick's coach urged him not to go, saying it would be too hard and he would never finish. I guess it's no surprise; he did finish, even though dozens of others left as early as day one.

Looking back on the experience Bartnick says the following:  "I think I already had perseverance, but this experience was a huge stepping stone toward improving it. During all of this, I developed a mental toughness that still keeps me from quitting. When I look back on it now, I know that hell week at wrestling camp was the hardest thing I'll ever have to endure. They wanted to break me. And if they couldn't break me, they knew I was psychologically strong." A decade after his hell week experience, Bartnick continues to prove his mental toughness and incredible drive to push through the toughest of times.

It's that mental toughness that led to the creation of Otter PR and that helps others reach their entrepreneurial goals. In its planning stages, Bartnick laid out some key components for his new firm. First and foremost, he wanted to provide affordable, top-notch public relations services to businesses at all levels. Transparent pricing and three tiers of amenities offer something for everyone. Next, Bartnick knew a great package of services had to be accompanied by stellar customer service. So, he surrounded himself with the best digital marketers, media strategists, and branding experts. This team of "otters," as he calls them, works diligently to provide the exposure companies need to exceed in the business world. 

As a savvy entrepreneur himself, Bartnick knew his business needed to stand out among the crowd and thought about what he would want in a PR firm representing his business. Mostly, budding start-ups need instant exposure to drive traffic to their websites and to get verified. They also want to see immediate results. Knowing this, Bartnick devised an original month-to-month contract. Paying monthly ensures the client that real work towards increasing their brand's visibility begins instantly. Otter PR has one month to get the job done and earn their client's trust, or the partnership could be over. 

So what do clients receive for purchasing a monthly contract? Otter PR guarantees organic and robust media coverage, a dedicated publicist to manage the press and answer questions, and unlimited resources for a successful media campaign. These resources include guest spots on podcasts and feature articles published with distinguished editorial partners such as Forbes and Entrepreneur. The ultimate goals are to promote a brand, drive traffic to the website, boost the SEO, and get verified on social media. 

It's easy to see that Scott Bartnick is a businessman who puts the customer first. He created Otter PR on the principle of helping fellow entrepreneurs succeed so they do not join the 100,000 already on the failure list. "We're all in this together, and that's why we are working around the clock to hone our craft and build up new brands and services."

When one door closes, another one opens. This saying is so true in Bartnick’s case. Wasting no time after the demise of his established businesses, Bartnick seized the opportunity to address a need. He chose to personally recover while also helping budding entrepreneurs grow new businesses that could start healing a wounded economy. Scott Bartnick is a man who can turn tragedy into triumph, and the reach of the triumph continues to spread far beyond Bartnick himself.