The pandemic has caused many agencies to reevaluate their businesses. The sudden and significant disruption of the marketplace — for better and for worse — has created a new environment.
Some agencies have seen sudden increases in business as the markets they help and the services they provide generated higher demand. Others took a hit to their revenue, either because of their niche or due to the general economic uncertainty.
My business has been no different than the clients I serve. The year 2020 has created both new challenges and new opportunities.
When I founded Agency Leadership Advisors two years ago, my focus was on working with growing small- to mid-size public relations and marketing agencies through management consulting. Much of this work came in the form of large-scale projects, often through in-person, on-site engagements.
As travel became impractical, it closed some doors but opened others. Geography no longer mattered much.
In the aftermath of the initial lockdowns, it became clear that agencies needed help. Like many, I tried to find ways to help the community. I offered free consulting to businesses in distress and created webinars, videos, and other resources to help get the agency community through the crisis.
Much of this work ended up centering on small agencies. It became clear that these small employers weren’t getting the same level of help and attention as some of their larger counterparts — from the government, media, and even clients.
I gradually came to the conclusion that I could best achieve my ambition to help the overall agency community by focusing on those at the smaller end of the scale.
The new environment in which Zoom calls became the norm made it easier for me to deliver advice economically to agencies with smaller budgets located in all corners of the globe. No longer did I need to have substantial minimum engagements to make the work productive for clients and profitable for me at the same time.
I always advise my clients to be clear about who they serve, so I needed to do the same myself.
As I reworked my marketing materials to provide that clarity, it became obvious that a more complete rebrand would be beneficial.
That’s why Agency Leadership Advisors has become the Small Agency Growth Alliance (SAGA).
This is more than a rebranding exercise.
Where my business was originally a more traditional management consultancy for agencies, SAGA seeks to provide individual advice but also to build a community and provide help to a broader swath of businesses.
In the weeks ahead, there will be a series of announcements about how SAGA will help small agencies. But this is also about building community, so I welcome your suggestions and ideas about how we can work together to help the small agency community thrive in the years ahead.
SAGA will be membership-centered, and I encourage you to sign up for the free Community Membership that gives you access to private discussion forums, virtual meetups, and other ways to connect with small agencies and those who support them.
There’s no question that 2020 has been difficult. Yet we know that periods of extreme disruption often give way to incredible innovation and subsequent growth.
Opportunity exists for those small agencies that are prepared to seize it. SAGA will be there to help.