Keep the success of your client the main priority.
The term ‘Agency’ is not something traditional businesses, particularly from the old economy, and those bracketed under SMEs, (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises), are comfortable about, and to some extent, wary even. Not only the cost associated with working with a big agency, but also all the seemingly complicated marketing and technical jargon that are sure to be thrown around that’s still considered to involve too much effort – a transition that many decision makers still aren’t prepared for.
It is therefore very important to keep it simple and adapt yourself and your agency to not only the particular needs of the company but also communicate in a way that the major stakeholders of the prospective client are comfortable with. In India, a sense of trust and understanding still surpasses expertise that is difficult to comprehend. What all business owners and their marketing folks, in any, are keen to work with people and agencies that they believe have their best interest in mind, and although common good should always be at the crux of any business venture, agencies are encouraged to go that extra mile to convince, by action and results, that the foremost agenda for the agency is the clients’ success.
Don’t focus on what services you have but what clients need.
All of us are keen to display our strength and forte, brandishing our expertise that is either derived or inherent. Ditto for agencies too. Agencies too are keen to offer services and expertise they have rather than taking time to appreciate what the specific needs of prospective customers are. There are cases where clients are sure of what they want, but in many instances, it is up to the agencies to consult what those needs, to deliver what is expected, to provide better alternatives that are either more creative, more practical or both.
It is therefore important to not look short-term but look at the overall picture and dedicate yourself to delivering what is most pertinent rather than what seems to be more opportune. It’s always daunting and financially taxing to add new capabilities, but this is where ‘smart scale-up’ could add both value and purpose to your enterprise. Over the long-term, this ability to be flexible to clients’ needs will set you apart in the industry and deliver tangible and intangible dividends.
Don’t hesitate to form alliances or share resources and expertise.
This is in some way a thought that carry forwards from the last point of being flexible to client’s needs. For an agency at its nascent stage, adding resources and manpower is perhaps the hardest decision to make and implement. This is where alliances can prove to be the much needed scalability, in theory, that allows for services to be added on and deliver on what client’s needs are without breaking the bank.
However, it is advisory to be cautious in the alliances as it is not made in a day. There has to be a holistic approach when deciding on your preferred ‘service partner’. The association has to be achieved organically with all proper mechanism and formalities in place to make this association fruitful without complicating matters. In the end it is more about the people you form an alliance with and not the mere processes and services alone.
Build relationships & partnerships, not just accounts & client base.
In a world of analytics, number crunching, calculated estimates and forward-looking forecasts, there is a risk that we might look at our clients as just a number and forego or ignore the core basis of the relationship that has been forged through frequent communication, building relationships forged on performance and human interactions. So while repeating the processes over and over again, rummaging through the statistics and dissecting the electronic data; don’t forget the human faces behind the emails and the humane emotions over the phone chatter. In India, from what we have gathered, more priority is still given to agencies that frequently visit and have a casual chat rather than all the reports and PPTs that has been shared online.
Don’t scale up too quickly and don’t give up too early.
Once you do decide to start a business and invest the requisite amount, and after you put your heart and soul into it… no matter if it is profit making or breakeven yet, the temptation to grow too fast, too quick, could prove to a risk you might end up regretting. Although there are cases where the risk has paid off, in India, where agencies are cropping up everywhere making it unhealthily competitive, a cautious approach will prove to be a better margin call, so to speak. Although investors might be lining up or you have the cash handy to bankroll the expansion yourself, every decision should be backed by business sense and financial acumen, without being rushed into something that intimately might end up only adding a façade of development at the cost of true progress.
About the Author:
Shybu Khan is the founder of ShyBuzz, having founded the company at the age of 25. Having majored in Journalism, he is a writing-professional with a keen eye on corporate brand building, business organization, entrepreneurship, geopolitical affairs, and the world economy as a whole. Shybu has contributed articles to a variety of reputed media organizations on a variety of subject matters. He has been part of the U.S. financial scene as an editor with a U.S. Company based in Mumbai. Apart from being an avid blogger, he is a freewheeling social and business commentator, who believes that concerted action, informed research, and social activism are the main architects for true change.
You can reach Shybu at Shybu@ShyBuzz.com