How Digital Agencies Can Stay In Business In a Post-Coronavirus World

April 3, 2020 David Rivera
digital agency tips during coronavirus crisis

The threat of the coronavirus remains strong, but it doesn’t have to affect the way you operate your Digital Agency. With over a million cases confirmed worldwide as of this writing, it could be hard to think about how you can keep your digital agency afloat. There’s lots of uncertainty about every business niche, with major malls and merchandising companies shutting down indefinitely. And don’t even get us started with how COVID-19 is hitting the entertainment industry with blow after blow of shutdowns and closures.

Despite that, there’s still hope for digital agencies like us. We can rise above the occasion. Here we provide you with some effective guidelines you can follow to make sure that you can still give value to your clients (and acquire some along the way).

STEP 1: ANALYZE THE SITUATION

An estimated 1 billion people are on quarantine mode globally, with reminders to stay at home constantly hounding those that plan to go about their days as if nothing’s happening. Non-essential industries have closed down while groceries, pharmacies, and markets are the holy trio of survival. 

Before taking action, make sure to check in with your Local Government Unit about lockdowns and community quarantines. In the Philippines—where we operate with over 60 employees—the entire island of Luzon (topmost part of the country including Manila) has been placed under “enhanced community quarantine.” This means no one is allowed to go out, save for going to the market/grocery to buy food and trips to the bank and pharmacies. All leisure activities are canceled, as well as massive public gatherings. There are strict rules that everyone is mandated to follow, lest they incur a night in prison. Most businesses are not allowed to open as well.

So the first thing you need to think about as a digital agency in the midst of coronavirus has to be how you will be affected. Take a look at most of the industries that are heavily affected by the pandemic—tourism, gyms, events, and the like. Many niches will go out of business or scale down drastically. Because of this, it will be harder to gain new clients. Many digital agencies will up their game, if not pop up in drastic sequences all over, so expect your competition to be tougher.

There’s a silver lining here. Since most of us rely on the internet to do our job, we can all definitely work from home. Our company is still very operational, with all of our staff holed up safe in their homes and working on shifting schedules to keep up with our clients’ needs. Tasks are still being fulfilled and work gets done every week. As a digital agency, you can still generate income online in the midst of COVID-19.

STEP 2: TAKE ACTION

Once you’re done assessing how the situation will mold your digital agency operations from here on, it’s time to take actionable steps to ensure your business’ survival. If you’re working with a few admin officers for your agency, consult with them and come up with plans on how you can fix your work schedules and all necessary arrangements for the entire team.

Since it’s recommended by the CDC and various health departments to stay at home, it’s best to come up with a 100% work from home policy. You have to take care of your team first before you can perform your necessary tasks. As you notify your team about the changes, make sure that work from home protocols will be in effect. Along the way, you have to set milestones and expectations that your team would have to hit while they work from home. Remember, the situation has changed—what used to work will have to be upended to fit the current competition. You and your team have to up your game.

Of course, communication is of paramount importance here, so have your systems administrator set-up communication channels that are secure, easy to use, and can be customized to track your team’s time while working. We use our own portal for logging in tasks and employee hours whilst communicating with each other through Discord, Zoom, and Trello for important meetings.

Once your employees are fully oriented about the new normal for the next few weeks, you should zero in on your sales team next. This is where you should be more aggressive—protect your frontline; once you stop prospecting, your agency will die. As you ramp up your sales strategy, you should also make it a point to secure your fulfillment team. They are the blood and guts of your post-coronavirus operation.

A big part of taking care of your existing customers during these trying times is by telling them about your new systems and how you’re committed to fulfilling their work orders. Show them how you can help.

STEP 3: ADAPT TO WHAT’S COMING NEXT

Keep in mind that in times of hardship, the strong and prepared will survive and the weak will be left behind. This is the same mindset that applies to all businesses in a post-coronavirus reality. You have to analyze everything that’s happening, keep tabs on every development, and adapt to it. By doing this, you’re setting yourself up to overcome these challenges albeit slowly but surely. At this point, the best asset you can rely on is your mind.

As you get a grip on the systems you have in place, you also have to make sure that everyone is accountable and that protocols have to be followed so everyone can survive. Take care of your people and they will do the same for you.

Again—and we cannot stress this enough—pushing your sales team to go into hyperdrive is a pressing need. Without new clients, you’re very likely to go out of business just like the other industries. There’s a vast potential of things you can offer to your clients that can also help them stay afloat in the midst of COVID-19’s threats. Bank on that and make sure that you are offering something of value and not things that only jump on the hype. Avoid inappropriate/out-of-touch topics/services (coronavirus sale! Dear god what a travesty!) about coronavirus as well. Just because it’s a thing doesn’t mean it can work.

It’s also important to realize that this might also last for quite some time. That’s why events that are scheduled in the second half of 2020 are canceled. You never know what’s going to happen, so it’s best to prepare yourself for whatever changes might come across your way soon.

Analyze, take action, and adapt—these are the three main concepts that can help your digital agency make money and offer value in the midst of a pandemic.

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