Every decision you make for your company is make-or-break. As a business, there any many reasons you’d bring in a third-party company. This includes for social media, app development, website design, technological solutions, and much more.
As you scale your business, enlisting third-party help is necessary. In most cases, you simply won’t have all the resources in-house. You need the expertise of hard-working teams and/or technology to get you to the next level.
Bringing in a third-party team of experts is about so much more than just receiving the deliverables. An SEO expert can keep you in the SERPs for years to come; a web design agency can create wonders and help increase engagement; a social media expert can give your business the online presence it needs to build out its brand. Alternatively, hiring the wrong company can stifle growth and result in a huge sales loss. To strengthen your chances of nabbing the right team, here are three tips to keep in mind:
Make A List Of Options
Begin the research process by making a list of viable options. For example, there are hundreds of social media agencies around the country and abroad. Your preliminary list should be the result of basic web searches. Keep the following questions in mind:
- Does the company or individual have demonstrable passion for their work?
- Do their values align with your business values?
- Who are their previous clients?
- Does the company specialize in a skill or are they a one-stop shop?
- What is the size of the team?
- Do they have an “About Us” section that shows the people behind the company?
- Do they have a reputable blog and/or portfolio?
- Do they offer proposals? Are they free? If not, how much?
Use these questions as a steering guide to cut some businesses from the list. You’ll also use this list throughout your search and narrow it down as you undergo additional research phases.
Take A Look At Reviews & Case Studies
Don’t just let your research be the deciding factor; reviews and case studies speak volumes for how another company conducts their business. For example, Retail Management Solutions offers POS solutions and dedicates an entire area of their website to local pharmacy case studies. Similarly, social media agency 42 Entertainment has a “Work” section that features a roster of award-winning videos they’ve created for their clients.
Agencies that are proud to show off and verify the work they’ve done are likely to continue to produce good results. Case studies and portfolios also show you the clients they’ve worked with in the past. This not only gives you the opportunity to check out the websites of those clients, but to contact them if you feel the need to do collect references.
You’ll also need to look at company reviews. Check the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Google Reviews, and other sites to ensure there are no negative marks against the company. These first-hand accounts mean much more than a beautifully designed website. Too many negative reviews is a red flag, no matter how the company tries to frame it. There are many companies out there, particularly in the social media sphere, that don’t produce quality work. Don’t let cost be the deciding factor. Reading reviews will help prevent you from getting scammed in the longrun.
Talk To Company Representatives
Once you’ve done your preliminary research and narrowed down your choices to two or three, you can begin reaching out to company representatives. This gives you the opportunity to collect project costs (and negotiate where necessary). Ensure that there are no upsells or hidden figures.This also gives you the opportunity to gauge communication. From the very first email sent, you get a feel for how long it takes them to reply and how seriously they take their inquiries. Once you get on the phone and ask them questions, you’ll be able to better understand their fit with your team.
If the companies you’ve chosen offer free proposals (larger scale projects take several weeks and eer on the pricer side), take advantage of this and request a few. There are many benefits of a request for proposal. These proposals offer a clear representation of how the company handles their work and intends to achieve your goals.