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How to Handle Failure When Running a Digital Agency

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As much as we hate it, failure is a natural part of life. From unrequited love to a business contract lost, many of the goals we set for ourselves don’t play out the way we originally imagined. But the inevitability of failure doesn’t mean we have to be controlled by it. In fact, there are many ways to not only rise above it, but also anticipate and prevent it from happening in the first place. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how failure tends to occur in business settings, as well as the importance of learning from it.

Section 1: Understanding Failure

Failure is characterised by a lack of success. Any project, business, or strategy that does not reach its bare minimum target of performance can be considered a failure.

In the digital marketing sphere, there are many ways an agency can fail. Some of the most common reasons behind digital agency failure include:

  • Poor management skills
  • Inconsistent cash flow
  • Having purely money-centric goals
  • Lack of company culture
  • Poor relationships with clients

Obviously, the concept of failure in all its forms is something that most companies strive to avoid. But despite the negative connotations of business failure, there are some ways in which a loss or misstep can actually drive important growth and development.

For instance, it can show you what not to do next time and motivate your desire for success. This helps your agency develop more strength, resilience, and innovation.

Section 2: Preventing Failure

Although failure can be a necessary (and somewhat unavoidable) aspect of business, preparing for it as best you can is always a good idea.

One of the best ways to do this is by conducting thorough research and analysis of your business strategy and market.

  • Develop a solid plan – Most of the time, when a business fails, it’s because there was a lack of planning involved. All digital marketing agencies should develop a solid short-and long-term plan to avoid surprises and prepare for any kind of future scenario.
  • Make data-driven decisions – One of the best ways to prevent failure is to use real data as a way of informing business decisions. You may not always know how to prevent or respond to a crisis, but data almost always does.
  • Be adaptable – Generally speaking, it’s advantageous for companies to maintain an adaptable structure. The more flexible and future-focused your agency’s plan is, the easier it will be to manoeuvre around common business pitfalls.

Setting realistic goals and managing expectations are another two powerful ways to prevent and mitigate failure in the digital marketing industry.

Section 3: Responding to Failure

We’ve already established that failure is a normal part of life. But what do you do as a business when it stares you in the face?

Knowing how to respond to failure (especially when you don’t have a pre-established prevention plan) is key to overcoming it.

  • Be realistic about the problem – You can’t respond to failure if you won’t accept that it’s there. Being honest with yourself and your team about the reality of a bad situation might feel scary, but it is the only way to start rectifying the issues at hand.
  • Maintain a positive attitude – When things go south, it can be easy to let failure get to you and your team on an emotional and mental level. Instead of allowing setbacks to impact your self-esteem or confidence as a business, try to maintain a positive attitude.
  • Be transparent and communicative with clients – If a cash flow or productivity issue occurs, you have an obligation to be fully transparent with clients. The success of your business impacts client’s projects and deadlines too, so don’t leave them in the dark.

Analysing and learning from failure is an extremely important part of mitigating the negative impact it can have. With these tips for responding to failure, you can minimise the amount of damage it does and use it as a learning curve for avoiding it more in the future.

Section 4: Bouncing Back from Failure

If you think your digital marketing agency is the first to struggle, think again. Businesses of all kinds are constantly faced with challenges that threaten the stability of their goals.

Being persistent and resilient in your pursuit of overcoming failure can be the determining factor in your future success. In fact, some of the biggest business leaders feel that overcoming failure is the very thing that helped them get where they are today.

To provide some context, here are a few examples of successful businesses that overcame failure in recent years. You can use them as inspiration for navigating problems of your own.

  • Reddit – Currently, Reddit is one of the world’s leading social media platforms. But it wasn’t always that way. When it launched in 2005, Reddit’s sign-up activity was so low they almost gave up on the project. Employees had to create a slew of fake accounts to grow activity levels and eventually attract real users. Now, there are 50 million active Reddit users who access the platform every day.
  • KFC – Colonel Harland David Sanders was only 62 when Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) took off. He famously tried to sell his business idea 1000 times before an investor took the bait. Now it’s one of the biggest fast-food companies in the world.
  • FedEx – This now-global company started off as a term project at Yale University. After very discouraging remarks from the professors at the time, FedEx still went into business and racked up thousands in debt and fuel charges. They almost shut down completely before finding an investor and becoming the biggest courier service in the US.

Learning how to rebuild and move forward after failure is integral to overcoming it. Your agency can use its experiences with failure as lessons for becoming better, stronger, and more adaptable.

Turn Failure Into A Future Growth

By embracing failure as an opportunity for growth and development, your digital marketing agency can reach its productivity and profitability goals.

Remember the importance of learning from failure and applying what you and your team discover to future endeavours.

  • Section 1: Understanding Failure 🤔

    • Poor management skills
    • Inconsistent cash flow
    • Having purely money-centric goals
    • Lack of company culture
    • Poor relationships with clients
  • Section 2: Preventing Failure 🚫

    • Develop a solid plan 📝
    • Make data-driven decisions 📊
    • Be adaptable 🔄
    • Set realistic goals 🎯
    • Manage expectations ✅
  • Section 3: Responding to Failure 💪

    • Be realistic about the problem 🤷‍♂️
    • Maintain a positive attitude 😃
    • Be transparent and communicative with clients 💬
    • Analyze and learn from failure 📚
  • Section 4: Bouncing Back from Failure 🚀

    • Learn from successful businesses:
    • Reddit: Overcame low sign-up activity 👥
    • KFC: Persisted through numerous rejections 🍗
    • FedEx: Overcame discouragement and financial challenges 📦
  • Turn Failure Into A Future Growth 🌱

    • Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth and development 🌟
    • Learn from failure and apply lessons to future endeavors 📖