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Straight from FIG HQ

My lessons learnt – keep customer centric

March 2021Helen

FIG has been a marketing and communications business now for 25 years, since 1996. It’s been quite a journey with plenty of highs – good memories with fabulous staff, some great clients and so many stand out projects.

The last 25 years has also presented plenty of challenges, as you can imagine, so there’s been plenty of opportunities for lessons learnt. Here are some of our lessons learnt and top tips for business longevity – the first six tips, more to come!

  1. You need a vision

A vision will help to take you and your team and customers along with you in the same direction. Some think that a vision and mission are something corporate companies do. I disagree. I think companies of all sizes should set out their vision. A vision can change but ideally your vision should set out your aims and objectives for the next 5-10 years. In 2015 FIG changed its vision collectively as a team:

“To become a beacon of ethical, effective and exciting marketing that exceeds our client’s expectations and set standards others wish to follow.”

It’s a vision we aim for in everything we do and mirrors our ethics and values. You need to keep enthusiasm for your vision, so if things change, don’t be frightened to change it. Keep it real, meaningful and achievable.

2. Keep customers centric

An important lesson to learn when running a business is to listen to your customer’s needs. So often we’ve seen businesses do what they want to do, rather than what your customers are looking for. At FIG we’ve certainly made this mistake before but I like to think we try to be customer centric in our decision making now. It is an easy mistake to make in marketing too. Keep reminding yourself who is the audience and what they need to know. If you’re just telling them what you want to say, all you’ll achieve is a wasted marketing budget.

3. Have a robust marketing and sales strategy

Well I do own a marketing agency I hear you say, I would say that! Of course. But my experience prior to FIG came from the corporate world and there’s a reason for having a robust marketing and sales strategy. It keeps you on track and it works. But your plan needs to be based on realistic values, not plucking targets from the air. It should be achievable, based on data and knowledge. Consider where your business comes from and how you are going to achieve growth. But also consider how your business will service those sales if you meet your targets.

4. Embrace change

Well, we’ve all had to do that in the past few years, with Brexit and COVID-19 curve balls. Inevitably change happens and we can’t always plan for it. None of us saw COVID-19 coming for sure! Change can be disruptive and extremely challenging, human beings don’t always deal with change very well, so expect some upset in the team. But as a business, change presents just as many opportunities as it does threats. COVID-19 has challenged every single business. Many have had to cope with the unthinkable, of not being able to trade. Some have had to look for new markets to survive but this may have changed the way they work post COVID. Whilst some sectors have benefitted massively from greater demand for their products – which sounds a great position to be in, but this creates its own challenges.

5. Be nice

Probably a life lesson than a mere business lesson. But I never understand why sometimes people are just not nice in business. Even if things go wrong, and we all know they can, it’s the measure of the business in how they sort it out. I think there’s never a reason to be rude or unprofessional in business but unfortunately in 25 years we’ve dealt with rudeness and unprofessional behaviour. My advice if people are not nice to you in business, walk away, even if it is a client. It’s not worth the upset for you or your staff.

6. Be decisive

Running a business requires decisions to be made every day and I empower my team and managers to make informed decisions so that we can be efficient and get on with the job in hand. But ultimately there are big decisions to make and your team needs someone to be decisive, show leadership and do the right thing. So be that leader and make those decisions.

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