Things Small Businesses Need to Know About Working with an Advertising and Design Firm

by MAD Contributor Fiana

There is a partnership that comes with all businesses. However, one of the biggest partnerships you will need is with a great advertising and design firm. Why? Well, first of all, as a small business it is very hard to get out there without good advertising. Sure, there is word of mouth, and flyers – and social media has made a lot of things simpler. However, no matter what, your advertising and design firm will be that one thing that helps launch your business. Well, how do you maintain a great partnership? Here are some things small businesses need to know about working with an advertising and design firm.

1. Treat them like a partner not a vendor
Notice, that we have written “partnership” over and over in the intro. Get into the mindset that it is in fact a partnership and not an investment or a, gasp, vendor. They would like to work with you, and be treated with the same respect as any other partner. Your success is good for their business, too. They want to help you get this thing going, so keep them in the loop. They can help you bounce ideas. Talk to them like they know what they are doing, because well, they do! A great partnership with good communication will really help them relay to potential customers what your business is all about!

2. Be up front about budgets.
They understand that not every one is made of money, which is why they are there to help you work within your budget. They want you to get the most bang for your buck! So, be up front with your budget and from there they can get you what you need without costing you an arm and a leg.

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3. Make sure they understand the goals.
This goes back to being a partnership. If you do not clearly let the firm know what you want, chances are you won’t get it! If you don’t get what you want then no one is happy. So, always be clear with where you want to go and how you’d like to get there. Communication is key.

4. Be realistic regarding timelines and deadlines.
Some firms might just be miracle workers, but not all. Even those who are have someone working over time to meet an impossible deadline. Is that the best way to get their best ideas? Make sure to let your firm know when you want things done. If you can, draw it out for them! Let them know what your timeline is so they can work with you to get what you need done in a timely manner.

5. Listen to them, they are professionals.
They don’t claim to know what your business is all about (although they will try their best to learn your business inside and out) but what the advertising and design firms know… is how to advertise and design! So, please understand that they are the professionals and that they know what they are doing. All those questions they ask — are to help them better understand how to solve your advertising or design issue. However, definitely bounce ideas around so that there is a healthy mesh of ideas that satisfies everyone.

6. Keep the lines of communication open.
Communication is key. If you don’t speak up, they won’t hear you. Be clear, and keep constant communication. Keeping the lines of communication open guarantees a successful outcome. Closed lines of communication lead to delays and missed deadlines.

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7. Limit the number of people involved in approval of work – just the owner, or a very small team.
When there are too many opinions flying around the room, chances are that nothing will get done. Keep the approval of work to a small team or maybe even just the owner so that everything is done correctly the first time.

Last, but not least:

8. Pay them on time.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Just pay the firms on time. If you do not pay the firm on time, then they can’t pay their workers, bills, etc. Not to mention, the work they are doing for you will take a backseat to the clients who do appreciate the firm and pay them on time. It is a whole domino effect that just simply is not necessary if you budgeted properly (refer to #2).

If you read this whole article and you are ready to launch your business, contact us and let’s get this ball rolling! The MAD House helps build brands that bring enjoyment to life.

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