I have an observation about the ad agency I started during the Great Recession, which I am re-branding as I write this. Gaining traction and a reliable cash flow is essential for business survival. Ad agencies are businesses.
In my particular case, CDM Digital Advertising is a small business.
There should be one commonality with all types of firms – core organizational structure. The core determines business culture, and is the mainstay for all operational activities. Without structure, a business will not viable as it could be. I find this to be the case with a companies I approach regarding marketing their brand. Often, there is no one making a determination as to that company’s marketing needs. Consequently, I am told to call another day when an owner or designee can go over things with me. I want to scream, “Why don’t you just get someone to make that decision, already?”
Then, as my lungs inflate with criticism for said small business and prospective client, I discover four hundred emails in my in-boxes and realize I’m just as guilty. Some of those emails are new business inquiries — inquiries that need to be answered right away.
Here’s what I’m finding out concerning the ad business. No small agency, especially mine, will grow if it is disorganized. There has to be a deliberate, active growth plan — it will not happen by itself. Generically speaking, organizational structure offers true managerial direction for a company. It also forces a business owner to absorb, digest then act on information that can help their company past a particular hurdle.
At the beginning of the year, I started gathering material for things like new business solicitation, account management, tips on agency growth, and so on. I put the material together as operational manuals. This systematization also includes the proper way to invoice clients, ‘gentle reminder’ collection letters, contracts and form letters for just about everything a small business might encounter. These manuals are specific to my ad agency, but can be tailored for any small business. The idea is to create a culture of organization.
This effort has been a unique challenge. I cannot manage by improvisation. I’ve tried it and it does not work.
I suggest that companies should look into similar types of systematization. That way, response time to address what is important will be shortened, and hopefully beneficially.
Catch you later,
Bernard Alexander McNealy