How Agencies Can Learn and Grow in the Current Economy

By Jason Swenk on June 1, 2020

Is your agency struggling due to the current economy? Are your clients pulling back? Now is not the time to panic! Learn how your agency can thrive during this economic crisis and how to be prepared for the future.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • 2 Things agencies can learn from the crisis in the current economy.
  • How to start acting like an agency CEO.
  • 3 Steps to prepare for the agency’s future.

Today I had a timely and informative chat with Michael White, CEO of Lively Worldwide, a creative agency. Michael got his start in the agency world nearly 20 years ago, but recently made a major pivot when it comes to how he does business. Michael is here to discuss how these changes set him up for the economic crisis, and how you can prepare your agency for any circumstance.

2 Things Agencies Can Learn from the Current Economy

We don’t like to say it, but the current economic crisis has taught us all a few useful lessons. I always look at situations like this as an opportunity for agencies to prove who’s got what it takes and weed out the ones who don’t.

If you’re paying attention, there are a few things you can learn from the current economic climate:

  1. Digital is more important than ever. At a time when people can’t go to work, go to school, or even go outside, businesses are turning to digital agencies to help them develop strategies to continue to reach people and do business as usual. As a digital agency, this is not a time when you should be struggling and shutting down. If you are doing business right, this is the perfect climate to thrive.
  2. Those who do best are the ones who don’t panic. The economic climate is changing. You may have to develop new strategies or double down on current investments. Now is not the time that panic. People are struggling to survive quite simply because they are freaking out. You need to choose not to participate in the recession.

How to Start Acting Like an Agency CEO

CEO is not just a title, it’s a position. You can’t just call yourself the CEO, you have to act like one. In most cases, this means letting go of some of the control and thinking about the bigger picture.

Michael said he finally had time to start planning for the future and developing strategies when he started delegating and empowering his team to be more accountable. As agency owners, we have a tendency to throw ourselves all in and try to do everything. Not only is this the quickest way to burn out, but it forces you to be reactive instead of proactive. Listen to me — let go.

3 Steps to Preparing for the Agency’s Future

So how do you learn from the current economic crisis and not just survive, but thrive? How do you make it through this challenging time and make sure you’re prepared for the next economic downturn? (Because it will happen.)

  1. Do your research. Michael tries to take in as much information as he can. The more you can learn, the more you can prepare. Talk to your colleagues, listen to podcasts, read, read, read. Take it all in and learn.
  2. Have a plan for any and all circumstances. I read a story about how Wimbledon bought pandemic insurance a few years ago. Nobody else saw what was going on. But now that the tournament has been canceled, their foresight and preparedness are paying off.
  3. Reevaluate your business strategy (often). Michael says you shouldn’t ever create a business strategy without making changes every couple of years. The world is changing so fast if you don’t do a thorough check-up every two or so years, you almost certainly won’t be prepared for changes in the economy.

The economic climate is changing and you can count on it changing again. The key is to be prepared so when the next economic downfall happens, you’ll be ready to capitalize on the opportunities instead of fighting to survive.

Becoming a Better Agency Owner

In the current economy, growing your agency can be difficult. This is why taking steps to become a better agency owner is important. You will without a doubt come across challenges — this is where I can step in.

I have advice for agency obstacles from the hurdles you will come across when starting an agency to common agency mistakes you will come across years into your growth. I have advice on how to keep great agency employees in your team as well as fostering the connections made with clients. If it’s challenging growing your business, I have agency growth hacks, the best ways to improve management of your business as well as why building a remote team can be beneficial in the long run.

Learn more about my career as well as tips, tricks, and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

You can learn more from my experience from my Ask Swenk series and my videos on my Youtube channel. Check out advice and learn even more from other successful agency experts featured on Smart Agency podcast twice every week.

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