Even an overtly optimistic person like me had to admit that second and third quarter of 2009 challenged the creative industry. Locally we saw ad agencies, marketing/design firms and in-house departments reduce hours, lay off staff and reduce salaries in an effort to stay viable. C2 strives to support the creative community by offering FIVE strategies to help maximize resources (and perhaps even GROW) while times are tight!
1. Hire well.
2. Invest locally
3. Retain great staff
4. Expand your service offering
5. Embrace new media while staying grounded in strategy
Strategy ONE: Smart hiring saves time, money and sanity while mitigating risk
Agencies who run lean eventually need to hire for projects or permanent positions. What’s the EASIEST, FASTEST, most ECONOMICAL, LEAST RISKY and satisfaction-GUARANTEED way to fill temp and permanent needs? Call C2!
What makes C2 the least risky hiring option? We offer our clients the opportunity to work with our W2 employees, for whom we pay unemployment and workman’s compensation, provide liability insurance and manage taxes. Check this LINK to see IRS the guidelines for determining who qualifies as an employee or independent contractor to protect individuals and companies. It’s a complex issue. Why risk an audit or unemployment claim? Use C2, we take the risk so you don’t have to!
Employers find it difficult to resist the temptation of competitive freelance prices, low hourly and project rates that lend themselves to increased profits. C2 can offer similar rates and a guarantee that if the talent doesn’t meet your expectations or needs, we’ll replace them at no cost to you. If a freelancer gets a better offer or has their own deadline, sometimes they don’t give you the attention you deserve. C2 helps hold freelancers accountable, but in the rare event that they flake out, we’ll bring in another talent to take their place. We’ve got you covered.
We know you can write a compelling job description, run an ad, screen the hundreds of resumes/applications resulting from the ad, review portfolios, schedule interviews, track down references and test software skills…of course you can. But why would you want to spend a lot of time and energy on that when you could try us first. Within hours of your call or web site request, C2 talent scouts will produce qualified, pre-screened, software skill-assessed candidates AT NO COST to you. Review resumes/samples and interview candidates without committing any financial resources to your search. We’ll negotiate a competitive rate only when you fall in love with a C2 talent.
Strategy TWO: Invest in Locally Owned Businesses
According to OurMilwaukee.net, a local business alliance, “For every $1 you spend at a locally owned business, more than 68¢ remains in Milwaukee.”
Since our inception in 2004, C2 has supported the creative communities in Madison and Milwaukee, investing time, resources and financial support through memberships and sponsorships. C2 actively participates in AAF Madison, Ad2 MKE & Ad2 Mad, AIGA Wisconsin, BMA-Milwaukee, the Creative Coalition, Design Madison, The Eisner, United AdWorkers (bowling, softball, golf outings), WPPC and many other professional organizations and user groups. Our investment of Jell-O shots, time, effort and passion for these organizations ultimately reflects our absolute dedication to the individual creative professionals in them. It’s not too strong a sentiment to say that C2 loves our clients, talent and the creative organizations that support them.
C2 knows you have choices when you need Adobe training or creative talent placement. We’re not asking you to ignore the other firms that wish to serve you, we’re just asking for the opportunity to bid on the job along side our competition. If you’re going to ask a national agency to search for a Creative Director, ask us too. Having multiple teams support your search will likely lead to a better pool of candidates to choose from. Worried about negotiating fees? At C2 you can get an owner on the phone or see us at an event. That accessibility isn’t an accident, we want to work with our clients directly to ensure satisfaction and encourage a long term, mutually beneficial partnership. At C2, relationships matter.
Visit the following two articles to read additional articulately-crafted arguments for buying local.
Strategy THREE: Retain Great Staff
Right now offering bonuses and raises to reward long hours, exceptional creative and client satisfaction may not be a an option. How can you show gratitude to valuable staff while increasing productivity? Reward them with professional development opportunities! C2 offers a spectrum of options, from free user group meetings to $5 Fridays, one-day seminars and multiple week hands-on training classes. Participants generally return to work more inspired, more productive and more confident. Ultimately you’re investing in the growth of your company by investing in the growth of your staff.
Another strategy to show you respect the sanity of your staff, hire project help rather than making your team pull late night or weekend duty. Quality of life can be a great benefit, can attribute to positive office morale and can make the difference when the team has to support management decisions (like salary cuts or position eliminations). Also, consistent sleep deprivation leads to sloppy work, including spelling, editing and calculation errors. Whether software upgrade training or a creativity workshop, invest in the best, make them better, keep the team happy, healthy and fresh. Your clients will see and feel the results.
Besides C2, professional organizations offer pro devo opportunities frequently, see the C2 Pipeline for all the regional meetings or if you want to expand your reach, see Big Shoes Network for their list of organizations. And, for a brain tickling exercise from overseas, check out: http://workout.dandad.org/
Strategy FOUR: Expand Your Service Offering
You spend a great deal of time building trust and relationships with your clients. When they ask you for more, say YES without hesitation. From Flash projects to hand illustrations, from copy writing to custom content management systems, C2 allows you to say YES! to any project, any deadline and most budgets without sacrificing sleep, employee morale or your profit margin. We have several clients who use C2 to manage service expansion, project fulfillment and capabilities exploration.
C2 offers you THREE shortcuts to success, delivered when and how you need them.
Creative Talent Placement (4 hours, 4 days or forever), choose from competitively priced and thoroughly screened creative professionals, from copywriters to web developers and all talents in between, satisfaction guaranteed.
Creative Software Training focused on industry best-practices for print and web design and production. From Adobe Acrobat to XHTML, our seminars, hands-on or one-on-one training options will expand capabilities, enhance workflow efficiency, boost productivity and are a great investment in creative professional development.
Offsite Unmanageable Project Support (as in, “OUPS! We may need some help!”) allows you to take advantage of all C2′s skill sets:
• experienced professionals (aka C2 instructors),
• a 12-station production facility (aka C2 classrooms) and
• a large supply of qualified creative professionals (aka C2 Talent)
to turn the most daunting projects to doable! So go ahead, say YES WITH NO STRESS! C2 can economically augment your team and facility – let us help you out! Nimble, versatile, ready to say yes to any project…that’s YOU and that’s C2, your shortcut to success!
Strategy FIVE: Embrace New Technology While Staying Grounded in Strategy
Buzz, buzz, buzz! Twitter, Facebook, Social Media, YouTube, LinkedIn, Meetups, Tweetups and all the other new media channels can be tantalizing to a client! Embrace the new channels as appropriate to your clients’ needs, but also hold on to your initial strategies. Keep all decisions about new media channels rooted in the strategic approach that guides your marketing, advertising and media buying decisions already. Regional thought leaders in social media have emerged, offering training, advice, case study material, guidance and consulting, to help you integrate these new channels into clients’ marketing mix.
A few to watch:
1. Cd Vann pulls together social media innovators for once-a-month seminars focused on building strategy. Check out Magazine Soho, the seminars and www.sohobiztube.com for info about these Naked Biz Growth events.
2. Join Steve Glynn and the Spreenkterns as they gather monthly for Spreenkler the Meetup. Topics vary widely but creativity, growth of the region and social media as a tool for growth are always on the agenda.
3. Trivera owners Tom & Marjie Snyder just hosted a sell-out seminar called Social Media University-Milwaukee. They too pulled together regional thought leaders to help businesses understand the power of this new media channel. The RECAP page is FULL of great resources! http://www.socialmediamilwaukee.com/recap.php