7 Opportunities to leverage your small or mid-size creative agency

Many small or mid-sized agencies are afraid to compete for new business with the giants of the advertising or design industry. Sure, these guys have the visibility and brand recognition but don’t forget to embrace the differences of a smaller agency and use these to your advantage.

Remember, regardless of the state of the world economy, there are always advantages to being small. Use leverage points and understand what your clients and prospects are looking for to provide the best possible service you can.

  • When the economy is good and money is flowing freely use your boutique style, personalized service as a selling point. Providing top-notch service for your key clients when others are just cherry picking will help solidify your relationships and ensure that your clients stay with you when times aren’t so good. There is nothing
  • When the economy is bad, budgets are shrinking and clients are looking for ways to survive. A small agency is best suited to working in this economy as adjustments can be made quickly and the personal relationships you have developed over time will only get stronger.

Think of it this way, there is nothing more transparent than a company that ignores their clients when times are good (and work is easy to come by) and all of a sudden starts paying attention when the market changes. There is a reason that successful companies can weather a bad economy – they understand their strengths and work towards delivering on these strengths regardless of how much work is coming their way.

Here are 7 areas to leverage as a small agency:

1- Clear communication – A smaller team naturally conveys more transparency. Clients and agency management alike can easily reach anyone in your agency, get to know the people on both a personal and professional level, and really understand what they are currently working on. Open communication is key to promoting creativity and collaboration.

2 – Flexibility – In smaller environments, people are more accountable for their actions (empowerment) and have a better understanding of what is going on. The process of decision making and implementation is simpler, ultimately meaning less bureaucracy and more efficiency.

3 – Quick response times – Gating processes are more streamlined, approvals are quicker and tasks go through fewer steps (or fewer hands), helping you make decisions quickly. When market conditions suddenly change, smaller agencies are able to switch focus on a dime – this is both a major benefit to clients and provides a great work environment for staff.

4 – Customer service – Clients will directly benefit from the fact you are a small or mid-sized creative agency. First, because it is easier to establish all important informal connections with the agency’s management team. Second, since the agency focus is on fewer clients and jobs, agency principals are much more in-tune with current projects and what is going on across the entire agency.  Third, well run smaller sized agencies tend to be more selective about the clients they do work for, helping avoid the energy drain of spending too much time with a bad client and ensuring their people have time to focus on important work.

5 – Hiring decisions – In the same way the agency can be more selective towards which clients to work with, it can also take this approach when hiring new staff. It is very important that the new employee adapts to the agency workflow and culture, for that reason small agencies are usually more careful to avoid bringing someone on that doesn’t fit. A good candidate will not only have a well-rounded skill-set, they will be matched to a smaller set of agency clients and the core competencies of the agency.

6 – Smooth workflow – Small agencies will tend to have a shorter and less cumbersome workflow process. There are fewer “transition” position people that can disrupt the end-to-end information flow, contributing to work being done quicker and client feedback is included in the workflow in real-time.

7- Leadership – In a small business, the owner is generally more active in the business and will tend to participate on a daily basis. The owner has a real opportunity to dig into the business deeper than a typical management role would allow.

Function Point, a project management software design for boutique agencies has experience in dealing with many small and mid size agency and strongly recommend that these advantages be embraced and used when pitching new business.

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