An article in AdWeek Magazine titled “The Survivors” promised, “How to make it as an indie agency in the merger era.” (If you’re not in the advertising business, that means how small, independent advertising agencies can survive without being gobbled up by one of the giant conglomerates that dominate the industry).
What Does Survival Look Like?
Judy Neer, CEO of the ad agency consultancy Pile + Co. says that balance is critical to survival. “For a creative agency… the challenge is having enough resources to manage a client’s business and having enough income to warrant having enough people.”
Sure that works for advertising agencies. But it also works for you. Because if you stop and think about it, isn’t that the challenge of most small to mid-sized business?
How to Build a Successful Business
Simply put you need to:
Provide the services that your customers need, and
1. Procure enough business to support the infrastructure to provide those services.
2. Building a business really is that simple.
Taken even further, aren’t Neer’s words a good way to look at a basic challenge of all of your relationships?
How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship:
1. Devote the time, emotion, and effort necessary to maintain your relationships, while
2. Earning enough from those relationships to nurture your own needs.
Of course the benefits aren’t solely judged in economic impact. Often it’s worth doing things simply because of how they make you (or the others in your life) feel. Or because they’re simply the right things to do. Or because they matter to you.
The ratio of resources in compared to benefits out is not just an effective way to look at all of your brand building and business activities and your relationships, but also a mighty fine way to establish priorities and decide what you’re are going to do. And what you’re going to say “no” to doing.
Because before you can say “yes” to the things in your life that pass that ratio test, you have to know what it is you want and what pleases you.
When I ran my ad agency, and when I’m asked to give a keynote speech on stage, the first question I ask my clients is always the same:
“What Does Success Look Like?”
That is, when I’m done doing what you’ve paid me to do, what will happen? How will your customers or your audience feel? What will they think? And what will satisfy you?
By knowing upfront what my client is looking for, I not only know how to do the best job for them, but I can also decide which jobs are for me and which aren’t. Because as much as I enjoy earning the fees for what I do, if I’m not the right person for the job I want to know that upfront.
That’s because not only do I want my client to feel that they got great value for the time, money, and resources they’ve invested, but I also want those same good feelings for myself. After all, when we both come away thinking that our deal provided value for everyone involved, everyone feels great about our interaction and our relationship.
Or, as The Beatles sang in the very last piece of music they ever recorded: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
So the question that probably leaves you with is this: “How can I build great relationships to improve my business and my brand?”