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How is your agency surviving the economic crisis? How can a great agency culture help during a downturn in the economy? As an agency owner, there's nothing more important than knowing your values and surrounding yourself with people who are working toward the same common goal, especially at times like these. 

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Is your agency prepared for the economic crisis?
  • 2 Reasons you should always start with why.
  • 3 Ways to find the right people for your agency team.

Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Emond, founder and president of Demand Spring, a revenue marketing agency. Over the past several years, Demand Spring has grown to nearly 20 employees who work in different parts of the world. Mark is here to discuss why it's important to know your agency's vision and how to create a team that supports your vision. 

Is Your Agency Prepared for the Economic Crisis?

I always like to look at recessions and economic changes as a cleansing. Those that are prepared and are good at what they do will succeed. The rest of the agencies who are just winging it and reacting to the economic changes are the ones who really struggle. There are a few things you can do to make sure you are in a good position. 

  • Prepare in advance. It's harder to make the right decisions when you're doing so under pressure or in a panic. 
  • Identify which costs you can cut. Try to avoid cutting manpower. Instead, look at your billing and eliminate any recurring spending that is eating away at your margins. Work with your vendors to see what kind of allowances can be made for pausing or extensions.
  • Know your why. When you can tell your clients why your service matters and what you provide, they will have a hard time letting you go. 

2 Reason Why You Should Always Start with Why

Most of you have heard me talk about knowing your why. Your why is your purpose or reason for doing what you do. It's your driving force that inspires and motivates you. Knowing and understanding your why is key to growing your agency because:

  1. It will make the hiring process easier. Think about the last employee you hired. Were they a good fit? If you don't know what your agency stands for, how are you supposed to hire employees that will help you achieve your goals? 
  2. You'll be able to provide more to your clients. How can your clients understand the value of your services if you don't even understand why you are providing them? When you know your values and the culture you want to create, you will have an easier time providing exceptional customer service at every touchpoint. 

3 Ways to Find the Right People for Your Agency Team

Let's be honest, building a team you love is hard. It takes a lot of work to find people that support your values, support your team, and are actually good at what they do. But the good news is, there's a large pool of candidates out there right now. Your team can quite literally be the difference between success and failure. So how do you find people right for your agency?

  1. Bring in your team to help conduct the interviews. Obviously, the final decision about who you bring on board is yours, but culture-fit is important. When you get the opinions of current employees, you're more likely to find a good fit. 
  2. Dig deep. Don't ask for references. Just don't. Candidates aren't going to hand over a bad reference. Instead, do a little digging. Mark says he usually jumps onto LinkedIn to reach out to second connections. These people are the ones who will truly know a candidate's strengths and weaknesses and will be able to provide greater insight into whether they will fit into your culture. 
  3. Hire for attitude and culture (and be creative with your questions). If part of your culture is being resourceful and scrappy, don't ask a candidate if they are "resourceful and scrappy." Of course, they are going to say yes. Instead, ask them questions that will help you determine their likelihood of fitting in.

Values and culture can help you stand out from a crowd of "me too" agencies. During an economic downturn, this is more important than ever. Start with why and you'll find you'll have an easier time getting the rest to fall into place. 

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Direct download: How_Does_Agency_Culture_Help_During_Economic_Crisis_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST