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How to grow your business in a recession

How to grow your business in a recession

By Rebecca McKinlay, Managing Director, Ambition.

There is a certain truth that small agencies aiming to grow can be benefited by recessionary factors.
For an agency seeking investment, however, the climate can cause difficulty in terms of slower decision making from financial institutions, and external investors looking to negotiate hard.

For a small company looking to grow organically, the fact that clients are actively looking to reduce wastage in marketing budgets and demanding increase returns on marketing investment, the climate can work in their advantage.

Small agencies in the most part are more nimble, flexible and have lower overheads that they need to cover.

Decision making is faster and the hunger the management team need to demonstrate to clients can be more easily cascaded through the organisation as a whole.

In our opinion, the key to growing in a recession comes down to a few, important factors

1.    Entrepreneurial Spirit

Maintain your entrepreneurial spirit consistently. Where you can claim big agency experience and skills sets within a smaller agency, maximise and communicate this advantage wherever you can.  

Employ those who demonstrate the same entrepreneurial drive, accountability and energy as the senior team to ensure the philosophy runs the length and breadth of the company.

Resist any temptation to become complacent.  The situation could change at any time, and other agencies will work even harder to steal business.

2.    Recruitment

As many agencies freeze their recruitment drives, those still in a position to recruit can select from exceptional candidates, who in the past may have wanted to work only for bigger name agencies.   Embrace graduates.

Make sure you are the right environment for them to start their career within and ensure they fit your culture before offering potential candidates a permanent role, by running one month internships. Any graduate with the hunger to join your organisation ill be keen to demonstrate their worth over this month long period

3.    Supplier selection

Suppliers will be more grateful than ever for the continued business a growing agency can provide them with, and reward generous payment terms with sharp pricing and extreme loyalty.

4.    Client relationships

Clients benefit from working with smaller agencies in tough economic times. During the recession, all clients have looked hard at their marketing spends. Some have taken the approach of simply cutting this expenditure from the bottom line, but most others have just looked at where and how its spent – determined to cut wastage where-ever possible.

Demonstrate your commercial acumen and let them see your hunger and enthusiasm, but don’t be tempted to work with clients who use the climate to your detriment.

A small agency’s remit and influence within larger client’s boardroom will be increased by the fact they get large agency deliverables from a personal, experienced small agency.  Ensure your low cost base, efficient working practices and effective creative delivery are appreciated.

5.    Bank partner

Find a bank that understands your business model.  They need your business as much as you need them – use the time to review whether your current bank is really offering you the services levels you need and products that will enhance your business, particularly where you have cash reserves.  

Concentrate on building a profitable, stable company – leaving profits in the company to ensure there is enough in reserve to weather any lean times that come your way.

While we may not be the best known agency in London, those clients that do know us have increased the amount of work they have put our way over the last two years.  We believe our philosophy and modus operandi is extremely well suited to our clients’ requirements:  

•    Low in Fat – with Ambition you don’t pay for unnecessary big agency overheads or fancy furniture
•    High in Protein  - you’ll work will seasoned marketers who have extensive client side and agency experience
•    We’re light, lean, sharp and more responsive – so every penny of your budget works harder and faster.

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