Switchboard is Growing: Wisdom from Navigating the Awkward Phase
August 30, 2016
So much for the dog days of summer. Our inboxes are bursting at the seams each morning, and we’ve all been hustling – signs that we’ve entered the growing pain phase of being a young business. Keeping to the theme of lessons learned, here are our top three takeaways from a year’s worth of growing – sometimes somewhat awkwardly.
Openness is all about asking the right questions and putting time aside to listen closely for the answer. Think about it: if you’re not asking the right questions, you may not be getting the feedback you need to improve performance or receiving adequate information to complete a project. Part of ‘driving communications strategies that get real results’ and ‘pushing the status quo’ (two things the Switchboard team is dedicated to doing) is being willing to move beyond the lowest-common-denominator of information-sharing – which can be quite hard in a fast-paced environment. It took a long time to find the right people to be part of our team, and we want to make sure everyone feels valued and supported. Creating a culture of openness is the best way to inspire a creative workspace, drive performance and maintain a high standard of work.
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When we underwent our rebrand from Kathleen Reid Consulting to Switchboard Public Relations, one of our goals was to improve our SEO. With help from our friends at Marwick Internet Marketing, we have seen Switchboard soar from page 20 to page four in search results for PR agencies in Vancouver. Not bad. Switchboard receives plenty of SEO and SEM requests, and although we as a team love the topic of SEO, it’s not our area of focus or expertise. It’s useful to know when work is best handled in-house – and when it’s better to refer a client or project to a trusted partner or agency. We have cultivated many positive relationships with top agencies in our city and have passed on great projects. We’ve found that turning down projects or referring them elsewhere ends up benefitting us in the long-run by facilitating meaningful new partnerships and relationships.
Embrace process and streamline, streamline, streamline
It’s hard to keep the forest in mind during the daily onslaught of rapidly approaching trees. Am I right? When processes like finance, project management and internal communications are streamlined, it frees up more time for the creative stuff that we’re good at – and that we’re most passionate about. Thanks to innovative tools such as Trello, Slack and FreshBooks, these mundane tasks are easier to complete. Sure, we still believe that giant wall calendars with rainbow Post-it notes are a (pretty) necessity in the office, but overall? Simpler. Is. Better.
Here’s a little secret for success in the growing pain phase: Confidently accept all forms of challenge. Embrace failure – just make sure you’re failing forward, and learning from your so-called mistakes. That’s it. That’s our formula for growth, and it seems to be working.