Are you modelling your activities after the public companies in the news all the time? You might double check those business assumptions occasionally to be sure they are leading you in the right direction. We need to filter the steady messages that inform our actions to discard those that will take us in directions contrary to our own goals.
One example is the distinction between how publicly traded companies are run and how your privately held firm should be run. Not recognizing those differences can create heartache and confusion. Here are four assumptions you might want to avoid when emulating publicly traded companies.Read More
There’s a problem with the annual performance review, and the best evidence of that is the fact that you dread doing them or just keep avoiding them entirely. Let me propose a much simpler approach—hundreds of my clients are doing this now and would never go back to the traditional method.
Performance reviews are necessary. They’re a critical step in the process of building and maintaining a team. They don’t work on their own, though, so you might do better if you consider them as the fifth step in a five-part process of management.Read More
There’s no end to the financial advice available about what to do in a downturn (including our own podcast), so I’d like to focus on the priorities that principals and managers should follow as they lead the agency. If that doesn’t describe you, perhaps you could pass this along to someone who might benefit from it.
Without a single exception, there are five priorities for where the principal focuses. But it’s not just the list that’s important—the sequence is also in a very specific order. You make sure you’re doing the first one, and if that’s all you have time to do, then so be it. But if you are doing the first one well, you can and should advance to the second priority. And so on, until there is no more time or energy left.Read More
Pro bono publico is a latin phrase that refers to the application of your professional expertise to some “public good” as a service rendered, without pay. It’s long been a part of the creative services industry, but it’s not typically managed well in three particular aspects.Read More
Marketing consistently is the most important thing you can do for your firm. Marketing is not primarily about the quantity, but rather the quality of business you have. In fact, marketing often doesn’t happen because principals don’t understand that well. They are busy and think that marketing will just make it worse (i.e., busier). But marketing is about becoming less busy and making more money. It’s about options.
Over the years we’ve gathered a list of the reasons why marketing should always be happening. Here are a few:Read More
Growing pains (defined as increasing the net employee count) seem to have common themes in the small marketing firms we work with. The average firm grows at 30% a year. Real, internal growth (vs. growth through merger or acquisition) is more manageable at something less than that average, since as humans we cannot seem to adapt that quickly. (This average growth statistic may explain the unusually high failures in the same industry.)Read More
We have a fourteen-part method of interviewing employees for marketing firms. We though it might be helpful to just pull out three helpful parts that you might use.
Getting Help from Others
Have several people meet with the applicant individually. There is so much at stake that several opinions are safer than just yours (or whoever is doing the hiring). To ensure that the feedback you get is independent, capture the interviewer’s perspective before they compare it with your perspective, or the perspective of others who have interviewed the applicant.Read More
I’m going to put a stake in the ground on social media. The long delay in doing so publicly stems only from a lack of clarity until now. The noise, activity, and promises associated with social media sound like a symphony warming up before the conductor’s first downbeat.
Social media is a lasting fad. Yes, that’s a contradiction in terms, but it’s the new “internet” in that everyone wants to be on the bus when it gets there, but mostly they don’t really know where it’s going. It will obviously be around forever in some form, but the “irrational exuberance” is lemming-like.Read More
Pretty much all of you depend on good employees to fulfill the promises you make to clients, but your strategies for the type of employee to hire vary significantly. Let me point some things out that might help put your own decisions into context.
Three Early Impulses in Staffing
There are three things that typically control your early strategy of hiring younger, less experienced, less expensive employees.Read More
Your clients care more about how the work is managed and delivered than the work itself.
Many of you are going to disagree with that statement, and I’m fine with that, but I wanted to put it in a separate paragraph just to be very clear about what I’ve noticed when listening to hundreds of your clients over the years. Yes, I can’t count how many times they’ve told me that they place great value on an agency that “gets it” in their ability to listen, push the envelope appropriately, and consistently hit home runs out of the park. But the work itself just needs to be good enough (that is not a negative in spite of the way it sounds), while the management and delivery of that work needs to be remarkable.Read More