There comes a time in every small business owner’s life where she realizes she’d rather focus on delivering her offering, instead of stressing out about marketing and promotion. When that time comes, you have options! Folks like our fine team here at Upswept are happy to chat with you about making your online presence shine.
Something to consider, though: you’re inviting a designer or agency to be more than a service provider. You want someone who understands you, your audience, and your goals. You want a creative teammate.
Of course, we all remember the old adage, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’” As much as you are hiring someone to provide a service, your provider will expect at least some collaboration so they can help you reach your goals. Here are a few tips to help you and your agency partner work better together.
What’s All This About “Teamwork”?!
You may be thinking, “If I hire an agency to design my logo/build my website/manage my social media presence, shouldn’t they be doing most of the work?” And you’d be right, for the most part! You hire someone for their specific expertise, which is likely outside of your own zone of genius.
Thing is, your agency isn’t in it to only show off their skills. Their zone of genius is using their years of technical experience to help YOU shine online. The only way they can make that happen is if they have a strong grasp on your goals. And the only way they’ll capture that is if you share the details, goals, and resources that are so vital to the project.
Know Your Values – And Theirs
We talk about values often here at Upswept. Making positive contributions to our community is important to us. We choose to partner with other small businesses and nonprofits with the same intentions, and we don’t shy away from these intentions in our own messaging.
How an agency carries itself online can tell you a lot about them. It will also give you an excellent idea of how they may express your ideals online. Take some time to scope out someone’s social media presence to get a better sense of their “voice” and their priorities. Make sure they fit with your own.
Skip the Culture Shock
Just as a creative provider has a set of values, they also have a certain vibe to who they are and what they do. Make sure your company culture matches theirs. You can appreciate someone’s design style or marketing brand voice, but their approach to the work should fit you well, too. For example, if you’re a by-the-book professional focused on metrics and strict deadlines, you may find working with a more laid-back creative-type more frustrating than fruitful.
Keeping lines of communication open is crucial to a good working partnership. What makes great teamwork, though, is also being clear about how you prefer to communicate.
These days, many of us work remotely, and often asynchronously. We rely on email to keep us connected to our coworkers and clients, but there may be times when you need a different way to communicate. You may prefer the occasional phone call, or feel more confident with a regular in-person meeting. You may also find that an online meeting with screen sharing makes it simpler to talk through your needs. Be clear about what works best for you! This way, your creative teammate knows the best ways to connect with you.
Set expectations around availability. You may need someone who can share files or deliverables outside of traditional work hours. Make that expectation clear on the outset, so you don’t find yourself frustrated when you need something after 5pm on a Friday.
Deciding to work with a creative team can be daunting. But it’s a sign that your business is growing, so celebrate it! Remember your goals, your values, and your communication style—being clear on those will help you find your perfect match in a team.