These days, partnering with the best digital design company for your startup is as essential to its survival as finding the right investors or earning loyal clients. In fact, finding a digital agency that understands your brand and your objectives can help you with these two crucial goals.
The reality of today’s startup environment is that outsourcing non-core operations is now the rule rather than the exception. For this reason, cultivating good relationships with proven digital agencies and other third-party providers can be important for helping keep a startup competitive. If you wish to have a long working relationship with a digital design company, here are some things to keep in mind.
1.) Take communication seriously
Most issues between startup clients and design agencies can be avoided if both parties took the time to be clear and concise with their concerns and intentions. Bad blood can easily develop if either party fails to communicate clearly and promptly on different concerns. Inadequate attention to communications can result in deliverables and expectations from both sides not being met. If things are bad enough, the agency you have come to rely on may even reject offers of extending their contract.
2.) Give each other the tools to succeed
As much as a client would appreciate having their design agency understand their brand and objectives better, a client should likewise attempt to understand the scope and challenges of the agency. This can allow the client and the agency to provide each other resources that may help work run along more smoothly.
3.) Keep things friendly but professional
Things can and do go wrong in client-agency relationships. But they don’t necessarily have to be the end of the world, especially if the client is benefitting continuously from the agency’s work. For this reason, an organization must remain professional yet warm in their interactions with the agency. Keeping a fair but friendly attitude can help prevent a permanent souring of a relationship and can encourage the agency to stick with a client even after a few minor missteps.
4.) Contextualize projects
If there’s something agency workers dislike, it’s clients forcing them to be psychic. Too many clients refuse or neglect to give detailed briefs or context to different projects, only to have countless objections on the deliverables they are given. This can lead to plenty of frustration on the part of the agency, and discourage them from extending a contract. Be sure to be as detailed as necessary when discussing project requirements and give the greater context when possible so that the agency creatives are not forced to just guess what you need.
5.) Respect each other’s boundaries
We’re not just talking about what’s in the contract between the client and agency. Common decency should be practiced. This isn’t just about basic social expectations either. For instance, think twice before asking for something during the holidays or asking the agency to perform something out of scope. A few times may be fine, but constantly asking for favors — especially if you haven’t been paying on time — is bound to get you some negative attention from the agency.
While you hired contractors because they can perform things you cannot, the Golden Rule still applies. If you wouldn’t want it done to your startup, don’t do it to an agency. Digital design agencies can be a close-knit group, and word of problem clients travels fast. If you don’t want to have problems finding help in the future, treating the hired hands fairly is a good start.
We’d love to hear about your experiences working with digital design agencies. Tell us about your long-running relationships with your contractors and tips you have for maintaining them in the comments.