By Mimi Rasor, APR, President
Two weeks ago, we published Part One of this blog: an in-depth look at how the unfolding pandemic affected Rasor and the initial steps we took to ride out the storm. In Part Two, we look at the agency’s recovery and subsequent growth, and the lessons we learned.
The Push Forward: By July, we were still meeting weekly as a leadership team and monitoring revenue projections. We were now four months into this quarantine that all of us thought would be over in a couple of months. Our team had adapted to work from home. We had received our PPP loan assistance, which gave us confidence to keep pushing forward. And our clients – across industries, public and private, held on tight and pulled us in.
I had always managed our business knowing that our diverse client portfolio was a strength, but never was it more apparent than during this global crisis. Many of our public sector clients needed immediate counsel and communications support to conduct required public outreach in a new virtual world. Our B2B and B2C clients were understandably cautious, but gradually re-engaged with new messaging and strategies. And our healthcare clients were engrossed in serving the public, keeping their staff mentally and physically well, and preserving as many jobs as possible. We flexed our team accordingly and flowed to the work. And it worked. By August we started ramping staff hours back up to 100% and by October, everyone was back to their original schedule – just remotely, of course.
Fast forward to a year later and things are stronger than we could have imagined. Last year we nearly hit our revenue stretch goal, and if this year continues as Q1 started, we could exceed that aggressive growth strategy we kicked off two years ago. We’re growing to keep pace with client needs and just celebrated our sweet 16th year in business. We are so grateful for all of our clients and partners and thrilled to be thinking of seeing this pandemic in the rearview mirror soon.
- Marketing works. I realize that sounds a little self-serving, but I would be remiss to not first note that the business we are in is successful because marketing communications is an effective investment, especially in times of uncertainty. Historically, studies of economic downturns have shown that companies who promote their products and services during those slow times, recover much faster.
- Meet more often. I’m not usually a fan of a lot of meetings, but I am convinced our weekly revenue management and strategy sessions were key to guiding us through the uncertainty. No stone was left unturned. We were on top of contract renewals well in advance and could plan for work shifts accordingly.
- Take care of your team. None of us were ready for the new demands of working from home with dogs, cats, kids, spouses, and other distractions. When quarantine started, people began canceling their vacations, understandably. At our weekly team huddles, I began talking about the importance of time off and encouraged people to take time away from work, even if they couldn’t travel. We talked a lot about stress and mental wellness and looked for things to keep everyone engaged, including a couple of outdoor happy hours and small gifts of appreciation.
“Uncut”, the newsletter that started out as weekly during the pandemic has since evolved to a monthly publication. We share communications tips, industry insights, client news and lots more. I’d welcome you as a subscriber; just scroll to the bottom to join our email list. I hope your organization is thriving, too.