5 Steps to take before working with a new service provider
Recently I have had many discussions with business owners who say they have been misled by service providers, particularly in the marketing industry, who over promise and under deliver services to them such as social media, websites, online services and more which resulted in losses; that most of them could not afford.
Does this sound like something you can identify with?
If yes, we have put together five steps that you can follow before considering working with a marketing or any service provider for the first time.
1. Be clear about your business strategy
Before you even consider employing a service provider such as a marketing agency, make sure that you have a clearly defined strategy for your business. A clear business strategy will inform all the other operational requirements of your business (such as marketing, accounting, human resources, etc.). This will empower you to determine what you need from a marketing agency (graphic design, marketing management, digital marketing, etc.) or any other service provider. If you would like a FREE resource to help you develop a one-page strategic plan for your business, please fill out a contact form and we will share it with you.
2. Don’t sign a long-term retainer or subscription contract immediately
Retainer and subscription contracts are a good way for businesses to guarantee income for an extended period of time, normally from 6 months to a year or longer, so it is no surprise that many try to lock you in ASAP. Signing up does have its pros and cons, but it is always better to test the waters first before you agree to a long-term commitment.
A good option is to opt for a trial period or test by requesting smaller once off jobs in order to help you explore and measure the value you will receive.
3. Ask for references
Many companies showcase previous work or share positive client referrals on their websites, but more often than you think these are presented to win you over and does not necessary give you the full picture. Asking a business for a few references who you can contact to verify the legitimacy of a company before you work with them is highly recommended. In doing so you have an opportunity to learn more about their work ethic and the quality of work which you can expect from them.
4. Request concept proposals
A concept proposal is an outline of the background, objectives, goals, methods, cost breakdown and media that will be used to deliver a service that you have requested. Obtaining this document means you will have all the information you need to understand the work that is agreed to be done, before any work is done. The benefit of a concept document is that it becomes a reference point for what is agreed to and protects you as the business and the service provider as well.
5. Shop around
Don’t go with the first service provider that offers you the cheapest deal. Shop around and look at alternative options for what you are looking for. Follow steps 1 - 4 whenever you follow this process to make sure that you find the best fit for your business.
As a business owner myself, I understand that every rand you earn and spend counts towards the success of your business and losses cannot be easily afforded. I hope these tips will help you avoid falling into poor service delivery traps in future and that your business continues to grow from strength to strength.
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*Don’t forget to use these steps on us too.😉
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