The Most Important Soft Skills for Running a Successful Agency
In order to run a successful agency, you need to be able to recruit and manage great talent, run effective meetings, and balance your budget — all while making sure the work your team produces exceeds your clients’ expectations and makes them happy. But what are the soft skills that allow you to do these things? Today we’re going to discuss some of the most important ones and explain how they will help you run a successful agency. Let’s dive in!
Although running an agency can be quite rewarding, it’s not going to always be easy. There will be long hours, tedious paperwork and days where you wonder if you’re in over your head. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but instead brick by brick – so make sure to stay focused on your end goal. If you don’t have patience, or feel as though there’s too much on your plate to handle, keep striving until you get there. After all – Rome was definitely worth it!
Choose your battles wisely
In many cases, there’s no sense in engaging on an issue that won’t really impact your business. This could be anything from losing sleep over an email you sent out and didn’t get a response to fretting over making amends with someone who has personal issues. (There will always be people who have personal issues.) But if something is going to have serious consequences on your company or career—like offending your best client or missing deadlines because of personal differences with someone on your team—it might be worth addressing. If it isn’t, don’t worry about it. And remember that sometimes you need to pick battles with people above you, too. They won’t appreciate being micromanaged either!
Stay on top of everything
An agency’s services are only as strong as its teamwork. In order to offer quality work, employees have to be on top of everything at all times. This isn’t a glamorous task by any means, but it is an important one that has serious consequences if you don’t keep up with it. As manager or owner, take charge of organizing schedules and calendars in order to stay on top of client deliverables and deadlines. Check in regularly with your team members throughout their day to ensure that everything’s running smoothly.
Always be positive!
The first and most important soft skill you’ll need to run a successful agency is… optimism. Nobody wants to work with an agency that sees failure on every corner. Any service business—from law firms to web design agencies—must be able to attract clients and clients need positive energy, positivity, and confidence from their partners in order to be successful. As much as possible, always stay upbeat about your agency’s prospects, because if you never seem like you have confidence in what you do, no one else will either. Keep your head up high at all times! You’ve got big plans and huge dreams so don’t let any negativity get in your way!
Determination is key to running any successful business, especially an agency. You need to be motivated, driven and focused on your goal. Being an entrepreneur means you’re not only responsible for yourself but also others who are counting on you to succeed. To make sure success happens every time, you have to work hard—and that doesn’t mean just doing what needs to get done; it means going above and beyond at all times.
No isn’t an option
More than anything else, leaders need to be able to make decisions and stick with them. We talked about setting priorities above, but now’s where you have to turn those priorities into decisive action. When you are presented with something new or different in your business, what will determine if it gets done? In other words, when push comes to shove – and if you want something accomplished in your agency – what will matter more than anything else: How good of an idea is it? Or how well you motivate your team? Decisiveness trumps all. There is no decision that can’t be made any longer because there isn’t enough time or budget or manpower available.
Network, network, network!
The only way to get your name out there is to network. Don’t let your pride and fear of rejection stop you from getting involved with local events and Chamber of Commerce meetings. If you want people to know what you do, then you need to start making contacts that may be interested in hiring you at some point down the road. And don’t forget, online networking has its place as well. Connect with other agency owners on LinkedIn (free) or create a profile on Facebook and Twitter (both free). You never know who might be interested in working with your company, or maybe they have contacts that could help out at some point. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to try.
Use the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule is a pretty well-known business technique, especially when it comes to client acquisition. For example, if you need to attract 100 clients in your first year, you could: Reach out to 100 potential clients and get 2 appointments each day; see 50 of those people and close 1 deal per week; see 25 of those people and close 2 deals per week; see 20 of those people and close 4 deals per week. If you’re tracking your progress on all these numbers at once, chances are good that they’ll start leveling off as they get closer to 100—that means you can drop them (the ones that aren’t getting results) and be left with 2 or 3 outreach methods that are generating serious leads.
Pay it forward (on Medium!)
It’s impossible to be an expert in everything. If you’re looking to build and run a successful agency, there are certain skills you’ll need to bring on talent that can cover areas where you’re weak. To get started, share your knowledge—blogging is one way you can take your expertise and share it with everyone on Medium. This builds your credibility as an expert and helps you attract new clients who see your expertise in action. Plus, by sharing what’s worked (and what hasn’t) on Medium, others might find solutions to similar problems they’re facing when growing their own agencies. If they do, they just might pay it forward by building content around those solutions—giving your business even more exposure!
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