Since we launched Open Communications in 2008, we have learnt a lot – not least the difference between a P9, P11 and P45! We have also done a great deal of networking and now have a number of suppliers who we regularly rely on to provide us with the products and services we need.
What has always worried me is that there are lots of people we meet who say that in order to ‘stay ahead of the game’ you have to constantly reinvent your business. I don’t agree with this at all. I often come across people who claim to do this and then that and then the other and the harsh reality is that they don’t do any one thing well.
We are a PR agency and we also provide clients with marketing communications – in simple terms we are all about the words. If you want to communicate with someone and you want to bring a campaign to life then we will support you to do it.
We work with businesses of all sizes and there have been times when I have to admit that I can understand why some agencies profess to be ‘full service’ when the truth is that they just outsource to freelancers.
There are two things that are wrong with this approach; you are not being honest with clients and it’s likely to come back and bit you on the backside and any company managing an account in this way is going to take on the hassle of justifying someone else’s work when / if it goes wrong, even worse the client will believe it’s down to you!
Rather than reinventing your business, why not add products or services which complement your current offering. As an example we launched Open for New Business, which allows us to work with smaller companies who cannot afford a retained agency.
The benefits are that a smaller business gets access to our knowledge and time, while we extend our offering to a wider customer base. Since launching this service in 2010 we have had some excellent feedback and as we have been open and honest with clients about why we are doing this and what exactly we offer it works.
Open for New Business doesn’t mean that we can’t work with bigger business, it just means that we can also work with smaller companies who are in the position of wanting to know more without having the budgets to invest in a month on month service.
If we started to offer design, web development, sampling and event management then that would be a different thing entirely and I’m sure our clients first question would be to see examples of previous campaign and proven results – oops, we don’t have any doesn’t sound too good!
So next time you hear someone suggesting that you reinvent your business, think twice. What will your customers think if you suddenly start offering a host of new services – and be honest, would you have the time to do all of these things to the standards that your customers expect? If the answer is no, then it’s worth going back to the one thing you’re good at and building a reputation for doing it really well.