Real You: Are you looking for an advertising agency?

Finding the right agency is like hiring a new employee. You need to be selective. The firm needs to fit in with your brand/culture—get your brand/culture. Think of your agency as an extension of your team. Because if you and your agency aren’t collaborative and creative together, you’re better off apart!  Try these agency hunting tips to ensure a stellar team for your business’ growth.

  • Ask for recommendations. Talk to your friends, and find out what kinds of experiences they’ve had with different firms in town or across the country.
  • Check out each agency’s past work and client list. Anyone in your space?
  • Have a brainstorming meeting with their team—the ones who will actually work on your account.
  • See what kinds of ideas they have. Are they fun, innovative? Do they get your brand?
  • Learn how their processes and communication work. Will you be talking to them once a week? Will you receive documentation on what they’re working on and when items are due? Will you have a dedicated account person?
  • Be specific about what you want and when you want it. If they can do it, get it in writing. Have them clearly define their role and the scope.
  • Make sure your contract has an out. Not all relationships were meant to be, and you don’t want to be stuck paying for terrible work or service.
  • Ask if they will work with you on a project-basis or if they will be on retainer. Most all beginning relationships begin best as project work.
  • Don’t be fooled by a big name, big client firm. Sometimes—but not always—that means you’re the small fish, and they may be more worried about their big accounts. Make sure you know they’re committed to you.
  • Look for agencies with specialties. Some firms will tell you they can handle anything; while others focus on a niche, like book marketing. Take a look at what you need and find a great complement.  

Remember, these are the folks that will help build and grow your brand. So be selective, and make sure they’re the right fit for your needs. That way you, and your agency, will grow together and experience real results.

Real You: Take a Hiring Hint from Apple

Have you ever met someone that had a spark? A stranger or acquaintance you instantly connected with and thought, that person is going places. Or maybe she was a great salesperson who went above and beyond to make your visit complete. You know, the kind of person that makes you want to visit again and again and tell your friends about the outstanding experience.  Recruit those people! They’re special. They’re driven. They’re unique, and they might just make the perfect addition to your team. You could begin the conversation by asking how they enjoy doing x. Or maybe you say, “You are a fantastic salesperson. Have you ever thought about the X industry?” 

One of my favorite brands, Apple, approaches these rising stars with “enticement” cards that display their logo with these words: “You’re amazing. We should talk.” The back goes on to tell the salesperson that their service was exceptional, and an associate would love to talk to them about their career. (See the card and read the full text at AppleTell.) 

So the next time you run into one of those real, genuine, exceptional folks, make sure you’re ready to introduce them to your business. 

How have you successfully recruited someone? Leave a comment!

Empowering Cultures Attract Positive People

Businesses often go through growing pains. Sometimes good; sometimes bad. And right now, many companies are facing the pressures of having to downsize. However, there are some companies that are prospering and need to hire more employees.

To ensure that you hire the best and most well-fitting employees, my advice is to create a great culture; one that is inviting and represents your company’s outlook. Potential employees will use your culture as a guide for gaining insight on your company. And, if you misrepresent your company’s culture, you may end up wasting time interviewing candidates that are not a good fit for your company.

To ensure your culture is truly representative of your company’s brand, first take a quick inventory of your surroundings. How would you define the culture you’ve created up to this point? Is it stiff or fun? Casual or crazy? Formal or informal? Do these qualities really represent your company? Although these things may seem small and relatively insignificant, they’re not.

Simple, inspiring cultures attract A-list candidates. It’s no secret that people want to feel inspired by their jobs. They want to participate in something sustainable and worthwhile. That’s why creating a real, creative and stimulating culture will contribute to your success.

Make sure that each employee understands your brand essence and your vision for the company. It goes way beyond just telling employees what you’re about. You’ve got to live it daily.

Remember, if your personal brand and your business brand are in alignment, it shouldn’t be hard to attract the right individuals. You want real people who are attracted to your company and what you’re trying to achieve. Now, go get ‘em!

Tips for hiring a great team

Begin by articulating your personal and business brand to potential employees. That’s as easy as writing a job description that provides a glimpse of what your company is all about. That will get the ball rolling when it comes to attracting the right individuals to your door. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. They’re the workers who understand that it’s your company, but treat it as if it’s their own.

You’ve created a real brand. Now it’s time to hire some real people who think like you about the culture you’ve created. For more tips on hiring a knock-out team and building a creative culture, check out Real Fact Five in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials For Women Entrepreneurs.

What makes your culture great?

Develop an excellent support system of mentors and employees.

They will become your team.

To accomplish this, you’ll need to determine the qualities you want in an employee. Begin by thinking about your heroes. Write down the names of two or three people, past or present, that you admire. Then, list the characteristics that you admire in those people. Are there some commonalities between them? If so, these may be the qualities you want your employees to exhibit. And they will likely be the same qualities that you admire in your mentors.

Lisa Cini, president/owner of Mosaic Design Studio, is a great example of how this works. She’s done a fabulous job of developing a strong support system of mentors and employees. “Not only did the mentors allow me to learn from them, but they also provided a safe place to express excitement, fears and concerns,” she says. At the same time, Lisa makes it her mission to hire happy, honest, passionate, hardworking problem-solvers who want to be challenged. Together, mentors and employees create a winning combo for Lisa—and her business.

What are the qualities you look for in new employees? Learn more about hiring in Real Fact No. 5 of Real You Incorporated.