Working with startups

It is often said (by creative agencies!) that your work is only as good as your client. There is a little truth in this, but it is the responsibility of us as the creative agency to allow our clients to be the best they can be. When working with startups, this is particularly true. Unlike larger clients, with well-defined processes, startups often have ill-defined processes (if any at all) and need a slightly different approach.

Here are some thoughts on our experiences of working with startups to ensure everyone gets the most out of the relationship.

1. Explain the process

When we work with startups, we find it invaluable to spend time outlining our approach and co-creating an approach together. Doing this in detail by outlining what is required and delivered during the process clarifies things for everyone. This brings agency and client together, working with common understanding and terminology. Nothing in the process is too trivial to spell out in detail! As the creative agency, we need put aside (for the moment) what we think our client needs, and focus on what you think you need. You will understand your business better than we could, and part of what we need to do is give you confidence that you are on the right path by influencing it, rather than dictating it. A detailed description of an approach, with timescales and deliverables, will go a long way in allowing the creative process to integrate with your wider goals.


2. Understand the category - not just the task

Typically a startup will be trying something new and you will certainly be an expert in aspects of this business. However, working in a new category means that established ideas and processes can be challenged. For a creative agency to do this with any credibility requires a broad understanding of the category beyond the purely creative. Understanding the technical, operational and competitive landscape will go a long way.


3. Be interested

Startups are interesting! They are doing new things in new ways. You will certainly bring an energy to what you are doing, and be taking risks in doing it. We need to be at least as energetic and excited as you are. As a creative agency, we often provide a moment of levity for you during your challenging journey. By making how we work a joy for you, we can more easily do better work, and make it more enjoyable for us too.


4. Be versatile

A startup requires a versatile team with the experience to tackle tasks beyond their prescribed roles. No task is too menial, and we will certainly all be learning things along the way. You will be improvising and be bootstrapping and we should be ready to do the same. In order to become truly useful, we have had to become PR consultants, social media strategists and recruitment advisers for our clients at various times. We certainly aren’t experts at everything, but we have experience and a network of collaborators to call in when required.


5. The benefit of experience

From experience, we will see potential problems or blocks coming in the distance. It could be simple advice around allocating future budgets, or more complex strategic issues. We can help identify and address these situations before they become more serious.


If you are a startup, then drop us a line if you need some support. 

If you are not a startup, but want to think and act like a startup, drop us a line too!!!