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The Clientside Podcast

Growth in a Crisis with Elliott King

The Clientside Podcast

43 min Elliott King

Andrew Armitage talks to Elliott King about growth in a crisis.

The discussion focuses on the impact the recent crisis has had on businesses from different sectors and how strategy is crucial to get through the next few months. We discuss how having a short term plan and nurturing your current clients is vital. We touch upon the different types of growth and Elliott highlights the importance of measuring growth.

As we get closer to the end of the year, we discuss how you can prepare for 2021 and what strategy you can put in place to give yourself an advantage.

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Andrew:
Hey hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of the Clientside podcast. As you know, I'm your host Andrew Armitage and the agency I founded, A Digital is the sponsor of the Clientside. And we help companies with growth, finding new sales opportunities and getting the most from their digital activities. So thank you for joining us today. It's great to have you with us. If this is your first time joining us on the Clientside, then welcome. This is the show for entrepreneurs, marketing directors, comms managers and everything in between, giving you actionable steps that you can take back into your business to drive your brand, your marketing and your growth.

Andrew:
So it's good to be back with you for another episode and introduce you to another guest who's joining me to share their experience and advice. We are still, and obviously have been in the midst of a crisis since the start of 2020. So today we're going to talk about surviving a crisis. Now, it might seem a little late. The global pandemic struck at the start of the year and here we are several months later. But the reality in my mind is that we're going to have to learn to live with Covid. It's not just going to disappear. And clearly, global economies can't just be shut down. So this is the gift that's probably going to keep on giving for some time to come. And we're all going to have to be more agile in our businesses as we react to these waves that we're already seeing from the virus. So we're going to be talking about just that today. And my guest is Elliott King, who is the founder of London digital agency MintTwist. He's also a visiting lecturer at several universities and along with his colleagues, has developed a number of CPD certified digital marketing courses and workshops. Elliott also runs his own YouTube channel dedicated to helping marketing comms professionals and students start video marketing. So welcome to the show, Elliott, and thanks for joining me today.

Elliott:
Thank you Andrew, it's a pleasure to be here.

Andrew:
Now, I see from our bio that we've we've got some common ground, which let's just get that out to start with. It shows our age. We both started out with an Amstrad computer. But tell me a little bit about your background and and how you've got to where you are today.

Elliott:
Yes. So, like you say, it probably all started with that Amstrad computer. I was about eight years old and I got it for a Christmas present. But as you probably know Andrew, in those days, the Amstrad computers at the time didn't ship with many games at all, mainly because they hadn't been developed.

Andrew:
I think everyone was on BBC Micros at the time, actually.

Elliott:
That's right.

Andrew:
That seemed to be where the games were.

Elliott:
That's right. That's where the games were. And the Amstrads were a bit late on games. So we were motivated to program them ourselves. And that was my first experience of programming.

Andrew:
Right. Ok, and and obviously that's where your interest in computers has led you then into the more techie side. But now your emphasis is a bit more, not so much on the development, but more on the broader marketing. Is that right?

Elliott:
Yeah, that's absolutely right. I sort of look at myself as having two distinct halves of my career so far. I spent the first half being a computer programmer for about 15 years from leaving university. I was lucky enough to be in Silicon Valley during the dotcom boom and bust, working as a programmer, some great experiences. But off since about 2007, since I started the agency MintTwist with a school friend of mine, I drew the short straw, so to speak, and was the one who had to go out and do the sales, selling services. Which is why I like to think of myself as a sort of self-taught sales director, if you like, with technical experience, of course which always helps.

Andrew:
Yeah. Yeah. So let's start with just trying to understand a little bit of what's happening on the ground at the moment. We're yeah, I guess it felt a bit like we were coming out of this crisis. We've had lock down. We're then encouraged to go back to work then of course, we were encouraged to go back home. What's what's the general vibe that you're getting at the moment in terms of business confidence?

Elliott:
Yeah, it's it's really interesting. I think it's as you might expect, there's pockets of negativity and there's pockets of positivity. Certain sectors obviously are under pressure. You know, in other sectors, there's opportunities. And and we're certainly, we're certainly seeing that I sort of say to people feel a bit guilty saying this. But as a digital agency, as primarily a digital marketing agency, we ourselves are seeing strong demand in our services. And that's reflecting well in our revenues and new business wins. But obviously that's not the case for everyone. You know, we've each got our own strategies to manage and each got our own individual challenges and directors and managers out there, you know, have got a tough job on their hands.

Andrew:
Yeah, and are there any particular sectors that you see? I mean, obviously we all see the growth in e-commerce and we know Amazon stock has gone through the roof. But are there any other sort of particular trends or sectors where you're seeing patterns emerging from this sort of state of change that we've been thrown into?

Elliott:
Yeah. So, look, it might seem obvious, but, you know, any businesses that connected with the with the health sectors are doing well. And we've certainly, you know, picked up clients that they've got plenty of money to invest in growing their businesses. There are a number of I.T. focused businesses out there that are doing well. In general the IT sector is holding up quite well. Cybersecurity, as a subsector is doing extremely well. And then the interesting things we have seen and you know, we were speaking before the show, there are, there are some businesses inside the travel and tourism sector, there are some businesses inside the retail sector who are finding ways through this, you know, the situation that you would you would otherwise think would be challenging them, in particular being given the sectors that they're exposed to. But there are individual businesses that are doing well, even within those sectors that are, that are under a lot of pressure at the moment.

Andrew:
And is, and what do you think the reasons for that is? Is it because they're, they're sort of adopting a digital approach? Is it because they've adapted very quickly? Is it the leadership that is sort of a little bit more alert and perhaps a little bit more on the ball? What's what's sort of driving those trends, do you think?

Elliott:
Yeah, I think it's a combination of the things that you mentioned. And for me, when we're faced with a crisis and our business is not immune. We've been faced with crises many times before. There's kind of two things you really need. The first thing is you need a strategy and you need a plan. And that's you know, it's a medium term plan. It's a 90 day plan, really. So it's what are we going to do now, tomorrow, next week, next month, in three months time. And I think you really need to have that plan nailed down and then you need the right leadership and the right team, obviously, to deliver on it.

Andrew:
So I think you've really sort of highlighted an important point that three month plan, a 90 day plan, because it's not really much point in planning much further beyond that at the moment. Everything's moving so fast, isn't it? So that's obviously something that you advocate. You'd lean much more to putting that focus on a 90 day plan rather than, say, a 12 month plan. And I mean, who would think of a five year plan just at the moment?

Elliott:
Yeah, I mean, I don't necessarily think they need to be mutually exclusive. I think if you've got your long term plan in place, you don't need to throw it in the bin, as you say. You know, you've got to deal with the changing situation on the ground, you know, at the moment. So absolutely a 90 day plan or, you know, your weekly cash flow management, you know, obviously managing cash for any business is absolutely fundamental. It's no good doing that on a monthly basis during a crisis. You've got to be doing on a daily basis.

Andrew:
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So in terms of strategy then, you're coming from a strategic role. You know, you're running a business. Obviously, you're working with other companies and sort of guiding and advising on strategy. What are some of the key things that companies really need to be factoring into their strategy right now?

Elliott:
I think, like generic strategies would be, the assumption is we want to grow our business or organisation. So if we want to grow, there's kind of broadly two ways that you could do it. You can either diversify into new markets, new territories, new countries, or, and or you can diversify your products and services. And so I think sort of step number one, before you dig into the detail, the specifics of your organisation and your industry sectors, that you decide on your top level growth strategy, which could be one or both of those things, and you kind of go from there.

Andrew:
OK, but obviously keeping it fairly, fairly tight in that time frame because it's got to be measurable as well, hasn't it? You don't want to be in a position where you've set sort of particularly lofty ambitions that then you're really forced on the back foot in terms of achieving them. They've got to be realistic and they've got to be measurable haven't they? And of course, we know that everything is measurable, but that doesn't mean that it does get measured.

Elliott:
Yeah, that's absolutely right. So you've got this classic sort of acronym, the smart, specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time bound, which, as you said. And all objectives, all strategic objectives should be sort of defined in that way so that you can measure them. And if we're talking about strategies to take us through a crisis, you're absolutely right. They've got to be sort of quick. Sort of turnaround items, and I think the tactics that have seen us through crises in the past, and they're always relevant. There's sort of three main things I would say. The first thing is you just get really close to your existing clients. I mean, ideally, you will already have very strong relationships with them. But when a crisis hits and it's particularly if it's a global crisis, it's affecting everyone. Staying really close to our clients is really important, particularly if we're any sort of service based business. We need to react to the challenges that they have. And then having having that strategy that's been decided and agreed by you and your management team and then sharing that with your wider team. Because really, if you're going to get through challenging situations, you just need everyone pushing in the same direction. So once you've got that plan, sharing it with yourself and being honest and open with them so that they can help you get out of a problem situation or take advantage of an opportunity. And then the third one really is this concept of managing cash. So if it's, if it's almost like an existential crisis, then any business, the way it dies is if it runs out of cash. And so managing what's coming in, what's going out, you know, when, it's just, it's just really, really important. And running that cash flow management and reporting process on a daily basis, I think during a crisis makes a lot of sense.

Andrew:
Sure yeah, I want to pick up on a couple of points there, actually, that you've mentioned the first one staying close to customers. Ordinarily, we might have met people for coffee. We might have done presentations. We might have invited ourselves through the door, invited them to come and see us. That's off the table at the moment, isn't it? So what are some of the things that people can be doing to stay close to their customers beyond emailing? Because, I mean, I'm certainly conscious that we're all dealing with this crisis. It's a crisis for everybody and we've all got different fires to fight as a result of it. So how can we sort of keep those relationships close to heart as we're working through it without making a nuisance of ourselves?

Elliott:
Yeah, it's a really good question. So, look, clearly, you have to get the balance right. It's not a question of, you know, badgering your customers every five minutes. However, it's subjective. But in my experience, in my experience, sort of, you know, networking, mingling with directors, managers, owners of all sorts of companies, in my experience, we tend, and I'm not sure if this is specific to the U.K., if it's a British thing or if it's if it's more widely true, but in my experience, we tend to under underplay the importance of just checking in with our customers. And so, you know, if we if we sort of if we're at the start of a pandemic like the one we're seeing just now, then just checking in with our customers and just asking the question, what are the challenges? Is there anything you want us to change in the way that we're working with you or servicing you in order to help you through the situation? Just asking that question will work well for you. My sense is that some people might consider it almost a danger to be in touch with their customer because it's like, well, if I speak to them, then maybe they'll they'll want to pull some of the budget they've given me. Maybe they'll, you know, maybe that I want to keep my head out of sight, sort of, so to speak. But I think there's more danger in not engaging with your customer than than actually engaging with them, because I think particularly in times of crisis, if you're the one that if you're the one that's seen to be proactive in the relationship, you're, in my view, you're more likely to be able to retain and potentially even grow that relationship based on the information that they will share with you.

Andrew:
Sure. Right. Yeah. And I think it's also, you know, as we've kind of alluded to it, parts of the conversation. It's not necessarily the same crisis for everybody, is it? So, you know, I think there's a there's probably a tendency to think, oh, they're going through this terrible situation when actually it might not be as bad as you think. You know, there are certain sectors like we've seen who have outperformed probably their own expectations, to be perfectly honest. And obviously, there are others who are really struggling. So, you know, it's I think it's probably wrong to assume that the phrase I've heard a lot, actually, is that we're all in the same boat, but it's more that we're all in the same storm, not the same boat. We're all going through the bigger picture, but actually we've all got our own micro scenarios and circumstances, challenges that we're dealing with. And and they're not all necessarily bad and need putting out at the same time.

Elliott:
Yeah, I think that's a really good point. We're all in the same storm, but not in the same boat. It's a really good way of putting it. And it's absolutely right. And the only way we're going to find out, you know, what sort of boats our customers in and how that boat is faring is by, is by speaking with them. So the answer to your original question, I would say, is check in with the person, send them an email, offer the opportunity to have a Zoom call or Skype call or whatever it is, and just make the offer, because sometimes just the offer itself is enough to create that warm, fuzzy feeling in your customer that that will, you know, will just increase the value of your relationship, you know, from their point of view.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. And of course, it doesn't, the call didn't have to be to sell, does it? It might just be, you know, to look out for people and say, how can we help rather than necessarily pitch the next product or service.

Elliott:
Absolutely right. And look, I think during during a crisis, in normal times, but especially in crisis times, it's going to be easier for you to retain and potentially grow your existing customers than it then probably is to be able to go out and win new business. I think too often I've seen during a crisis, it's like, oh, you know, we need to run around and sell some things. But in actual fact, making sales is quite an expensive process in terms of overheads. And and actually, if you can retain and nurture your existing clients, I think that's like, you know, that's priority number one. Certainly during the crisis. It's not to say that sales isn't important. Clearly it is, but it shouldn't be done at the detriment to, you know, nurturing those existing relationships.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. Good point. I guess that kind of leads quite nicely into the second point that I was going to pick up on, your cash obviously it's king, you've got to manage your cash. And I suspect there's probably been a lot of people who have rushed to cut costs. No doubt marketing budgets have been in some of those cuts as well. And sadly obviously we've seen headcount in and some of those cuts, too. But I think you've got to be obviously, these companies will have take the time in terms of determining the best outcome. But a slash and burn around marketing budgets can actually work out more costly in the long term. I think it can't it. Would you agree?

Elliott:
Yeah. I mean, one hundred percent. I always think of business as sort of three interconnected operations. So you've got the operational side of the business. You do what you do, what you know, you build what you build, and then you've got the finance side of the business which which funds the operations, but obviously also brings in, brings in the cash, and then you've got the sales and marketing operation and, you know, if you don't if you don't keep up your sales and marketing, then you don't have any customers and orders in order to do to do the doing, to maintain the operational side of the business. So these two interconnected pieces and, you know, wholesale slashes to sales and marketing in the short term, you know, will undoubtedly will have a long term impact. So it's a good strategy. A good you know, you know, short and medium and longer term strategy would certainly incorporate sales and marketing in some way and, you know, to do anything other than that, which would more than likely be a strategic error.

Andrew:
Yeah, sure. And, of course, you know, we talk about the here and now in terms of that short and medium term. But the long term doesn't go away, does it? And I guess there's you know, the impact of the pandemic is still very much unknown. We can see the here and now and all the disruption and the inconvenience that it's causing and obviously the impact on people's lives on a more personal level. But do you think there's a risk where those companies that have performed particularly well this year, are they going to have a delayed impact from the pandemic and perhaps, you know, they're going to see a ripple effect come through perhaps slower and further down the line. And so, you know, in many ways they've still got that opportunity to react. What sort of things should they be thinking about as far as the strategy?

Elliott:
Yeah, I think it's really, a really good question because there's so much going on around you during a crisis and there's lots of stuff to deal with. There's lots of fires to put out. But you definitely need to keep one eye on the medium and longer term because you know, your the long term viability of your business ultimately is the most important thing, dealing with the short term is required so that you can get there. But if you don't have a plan long time, then you'll just be constantly fighting fires for, you know, until until your organisation sort of will eventually..

Andrew:
Fizzle out eventually, isn't it?

Elliott:
I can sort of reference a sort of, I guess, a famous company that everyone will be able to relate to. I touched earlier on the fact that I was in Silicon Valley during the dot com boom. So this is where all of the fledgling e-commerce businesses, or 90 percent or more of them went under and disappeared. One of them that was a little known while they were a startup company at the time were Amazon. Now they during the crisis, they were not the biggest e-commerce player. eBay was way bigger than them, way, way, way bigger than them. But Amazon knuckled down. And although they were losing money every year, they just relentlessly focused on customer service and customer experience. At that time, e-commerce businesses and the challenge that that many consumers in the US and globally still didn't really trust buying things off a website. They weren't comfortable with doing it. And more than any other company back then, and I would argue still today go out of their way to make sure that that consumers feel as comfortable as possible in their purchases. Now, I'm not saying that Amazon is all good. They're absolutely not. But what I am saying is that they for many years now have had a strategy of putting customer service and customer experience at the forefront of every decision that they make. And I would argue that one of, that's one of the main reasons why they're one of the most, if not the most successful company in terms of profit generation and revenue generation and growth then that the world has ever seen. And it's also it's also an obviously a good example of the benefits of long term strategic planning and, you know, and, you know, sticking with it basically.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. And I think the other thing that Amazon are obviously particularly good at, yes, they're first and foremost. Well, are they first and foremost a retailer? They are a retailer or are they first and foremost a data company? You know, are they using that data to really tailor that customer experience. Obviously, they will be running tests left, right and centre to see which page works better than another page, blue button versus a green button, what have you. And, you know, I still feel that there's a lot of companies that don't factor data the value of data into their strategy. When you look at Facebook, you look at Amazon and you've got the big companies that for right or wrong, you know, they're using all of this data. They're collecting it left, right and centre from our browsing habits, our buying habits. And for a lot of other companies, you know, the level of data that they can collect is clearly going to be much lower. But I have this feeling that companies need to be making more use of their data and using that to inform their strategies. I think there's a real risk that there's a lot of companies just reacting to what they think and are not probably a bit harsh to say they're unfounded assumptions. Clearly, they're not going to be there's going to be some experience that goes into that mix and there's connections with clients, customers, et cetera. But I think going forward as digital accelerates, which we know it's happened, it's going to continue to happen. There's going to have to be much greater adoption of analysing data and almost becoming a data first company where, where it sits sort of front and centre in terms of how they react and how they listen to their expectations and requirements from customers.

Elliott:
Yeah, I think I would completely agree Andrew, it's really a good point. I mean, we're already seeing the rise of the CDO, the chief data officer in sort of global corporations. And I think increasingly companies and organisations of all types are seeing data as a significant asset to the business, actually has a tangible value and in some cases will be, you know, will be placed as an as an item on the balance sheet even. And I think, you know, it's valuable because, as you say, it gives the company the insights that they need to be able to make longer term strategic decisions, but also increasingly day to day operations of many, many businesses are being driven by what they see in their data.

Andrew:
Mm mm. And I guess moving on from that, just carrying on with the theme of Amazon while it's on the table. Yeah, absolutely. I shop there because of the convenience. And do you feel that Amazon are you know, they're not going anywhere soon, clearly, they're going to continue to grow, they've got huge resources. Do you think there's going to be sort of a more community based impact on sort of Amazon? Clearly, retailers, other businesses, small businesses are sort of investing in their own digital assets, their own e-commerce operations, rather than perhaps using an eBay marketplace or an Amazon marketplace. Do you think there's going to be some kickback from these big retailers where people want to sort of go and support smaller businesses more directly?

Elliott:
Yeah, look, I think it's definitely a sentiment amongst a subset of consumers that they would like to support local businesses and they would like to support smaller up and coming businesses. But obviously that's contrasted against, you know, you touched on it, you know, the convenience and the ease of looking through a platform like Amazon. So look MintTwist the digital agency, we do work with a number of retailers, some very large ones and lots of smaller and medium sized ones. And it's sort of a common conversation within, you know, retailers is, you know, product owners is about do we put our products on the Amazon infrastructure or not? They will invariably have a lower profit margin for products that they sell via the Amazon infrastructure. However, they're going to have access to the enormous consumer base that already exists on that platform. So it kind of comes back to strategy. It's about what is what is you medium and longer term strategy. And then off the back of that, some retailers decide to go on the platform. Some retailers decide that they will never go on the platform at all.

Elliott:
And then consumers, you know, as I said, I think consumers will, you know, will make their decision. But in order to give you a kind of direct answer to your question, I would have thought that the majority of consumers will be will be behind Amazon and actually moving on to Amazon in even greater numbers going forward.

Andrew:
Right. Right. Yeah, interesting. One of the words that we've heard a lot, seen a lot, particularly on LinkedIn over the last six months, have been the word pivot. What does that word pivot mean to you? And what should what should companies be thinking about and considering before they go into a pivot?

Elliott:
Look, it's a good question. I think from from a personal point of view, I don't particularly like the word pivot and strategy in the same sentence. The reason and the only reason I say that is partly my personality. I think if you, if you've got a strategy you believe in and you're moving in the direction that you think is right, in my personal experience, I think it's better to evolve rather than rather than pivot. I think the exception to that might be if you if you've diversified into a new market, for example, and you've been trying in hammering away and it's just not working, you might pivot away from a new market. I would suggest that if you're pivoting your entire strategy, you know, unless you're a very, very early stage of your business, it's probably not. It certainly wouldn't be my first choice of move, let's put it that way.

Andrew:
Yeah, I guess I think my view is that you can end up in this fight or flight type situation. And if you find you've got to pivot very, very quickly, either there's been such a huge impact on what you do day to day or your original strategy probably wasn't as robust as it needed to be. And clearly, where pubs have just been shut down, who would have expected pubs to be shut down, left, right and centre, and they suddenly pivot into creating a takeaway service or something like that. And that's fine. That's that's survival. And I completely get that. But I think there's a danger of of suddenly giving up on one approach in favour of another. And it's going to be each their own at the end of the day. But I think there is a danger of pivoting too much too soon.

Elliott:
Yeah, I completely agree. And I think, you know, strategy needs to be well thought out, well planned. And then and then you start on that journey. It's not to say that you don't change direction as you go, but making, as we say, huge swings in changes probably. Yeah, it shouldn't be, it shouldn't be our sort of first move in terms of reacting to some sort of external crisis.

Andrew:
So, OK, so the the crisis is here to stay. I think we've all got to get to learn to live with it. Clearly, there's going to be a bit of back and forth with sort of second, third, fourth waves, etc., not to mention slightly confusing government communication as well. But what should companies be looking at for 2021? Because that's, you know, for me, OK, there's still Christmas and that's going to be a huge time of year for a lot of retailers and other businesses, of course. But I think for a lot of companies, 2020 is more or less written off. And it's now a case of saying we've got to make 2021 count. How can we best prepare ourselves? We've got three months to go. What should those companies be thinking about putting those strategic plans together?

Elliott:
So there's lots of, there's lots of sort of moving parts, but I think as you sort of intimated, it's safe to say that we're not going to go back to the way things were exactly. You know, there is going to be a new normal and that new normal will almost certainly involve more of us spending more of our working lives from home, is probably going to be less face to face meetings, you know, going forward. And I would suggest that's a normal, that we need to sort of get used to, which, you know, which implies that our digital transformation strategy, that all organisations, frankly, should have already started. This is a this is a perfect opportunity for us to ramp up what we're doing in that regard, because if we don't have the infrastructure in place to be able to communicate with more of our partners, our customers, our suppliers from their remote destinations, then we're going to be at a disadvantage when when compared to our competitors. So having the right infrastructure to speak to our customers and all the constituencies of our business is really important. I would suggest and certainly our agency is seeing an uptick in the effectiveness of video and we're seeing video being multimedia content more broadly, but specifically video being more and more prevalent across all of the channels. You know, but it's still an engaging content format. And it's and it's one that I think most organisations need to get to grips with if they're not already.

Andrew:
And I've seen some of your videos, actually, and on your YouTube channel about getting people started. And I think one of the really important points with video is it doesn't always have to be perfectly polished. It doesn't have to be sort of broadcast standard in a studio. Perfect audio. I mean, some of those things will definitely help over the longer term. And obviously it depends on how that content is going to be used. But doing it and just sort of been more prolific with it, perhaps rather than perfect is every bit as important, I think, isn't it?

Elliott:
Yeah, I think that's a really good point. I think I think there's a few things to say. First of all, like with with anything, with, with many things in life, you know, done is better than perfect. You've got a list of to-dos that we need to achieve on a daily basis, let's get them done. On the branded content versus ad-hoc content. I think it's a really, it's a really interesting one. And there are lots of different views. And I'm not going to profess to have the final view. My personal take on it is that if you're putting content out as, as the brands, then you do want an element of professionalism and polish on it. Having said that, I think the other elements that's going to be really relevant for many, many organisations now and 2021 and beyond is this idea of ambassadors and influencers. Classically we might think of Kim Kardashians of this world, you know, people like that. But for me, for many, many organisations, large, medium sized and small, the best ambassadors and influencers are actually the constituents of that business. So the employees, people, leaders, founders, whatever, owners of that business. And I think if you've got a personal brand and you've got, you know, a network on the social channels, then putting out content that is not entirely branded and is not entirely polished. It can work really, really well for the brands and or the organisation that you're working on behalf of. So I think, you know, it's about getting the right strategy. And a marketing strategy incorporates digital and it incorporates video and the formats that you're going to choose and the channels that you're going to push them across, whether it's an ambassador channel, an influencer channel or your own branded channel, you would probably have different formats for those different types of channels. Certainly my own personal content at the moment is across my personal channels, loosely referencing the agency with which I work.

Andrew:
Sure. And I guess that's the irony that we might find that comes out of this process, the pandemic, rather, that we've all lost personal contact in a physical sense. But actually there's a greater opportunity to to develop other means of contact through video, through podcasts like this and so on. When I asked you earlier, how do we keep those relationships close, that that plays into that perfectly, doesn't it?

Elliott:
Yeah, look, I think you're actually right and kudos to you for developing a podcast like this. It's episodic content. It's good quality content. It enables you or enables you to stay in touch with your audience periodically on a weekly or monthly or fortnightly basis.

Andrew:
And it's on their terms as well, can't it?

Elliott:
Absolutely. Absolutely right. Yeah, yeah.

Andrew:
Ok, well, we're coming up to time Elliott, but before, before we sort of wrap up, is there anything that you've learned about yourself through the pandemic in your own personal business experience, perhaps aside from some of the clients that you might work with, anything that you've identified in your own strategy that you think? Right. well, this is something we've got to react to as we look forward to to what may lie in store ahead.

Elliott:
Yeah, it's really it's a fantastic question. I'm glad you asked it, because there was something there was a very specific lesson that I learned, you know, just at the start of the crisis to be fair. So, yeah, the lockdown was announced in the U.K. quite quickly. It was almost within days that we had to sort of close the office. Everyone had to start working from home. And obviously we had to put in plans around how are we going to service customers. You know, luckily, from an infrastructure perspective, being a digital agency, we didn't have any issues there at all. Where I was concerned was, you know, would, would the managers in the team, with the staff members, with the leaders in the team, would they all be doing and saying the right things at the right time. So I think during the first couple of weeks, I was probably one of those really annoying managers that was bouncing between people you know, Skype calling and Slack calling them, checking in on every two and a half minutes. And and what I realised was when a few of them sort of politely said that, you know, I could sort of relax a little bit. Well, I realised very quickly and very sincerely was actually this, once we had once everyone sort of got, you know, got an understanding what they needed to do. People at home working from home just got on with their work. And very quickly and I say this in all sincerity, we found out that in many, many ways we worked as a team almost even more effective and proactive in our individual roles and then collectively as an agency. And so I've been very, very pleasantly surprised at how quickly and with such skill our team members and I believe this is true of organisations more generally can adapt to a new situation like the one we're in, where people have to still work together as a team, but have to do it remotely and via digital channels.

Andrew:
Yeah, and I think I think to be fair, we found the same thing. But I got to say, I'm delighted to be back at work even. Sorry, not back at home. We are still in the office actually. As it happens, we're a small team. We've got plenty of space. But I have noticed that the benefit of being together and having those ad hoc conversations is fantastic. And I know there are companies, plenty of them, that have made a huge success out of remote working. But my own experience is that I like that team collaboration where you can be in the same place, the same environment. And I think people do play off each other. That's not to say it can't. And clearly, like I said, there's lots of people, lots of companies that are very successfully demonstrated that they can work remotely. But I do think that even in those environments, if people do need to come together from time to time and see the faces of their colleagues in the flesh.

Elliott:
Yeah, look, it's a fair point. And look, people obviously given given the choice, most people, I think, would like the idea of collaborating closely. But, you know, in the scenario, you know, where you, where you have to work from home, you know, if you if you're lucky enough to have a team like you have, like we have, like many people have where, you know, they're going to work together, collaborate together and get on with the work as if they were sitting in the same office together. You know, it's a really, really great place to be. And, you know, I think it's I think, you know, it gives me some hope, I guess, for the future of UK p.l.c..

Andrew:
Yeah, sure. Sure. Well, great Elliott. That's I really enjoyed chatting with you. Before we wrap up, where can people find you? You know, we talked about your YouTube channel. Obviously, you're an agency founder. Where do you hang out online? What are the links that people can use to find out more about you?

Elliott:
Well, the best place definitely to connect with me is on LinkedIn. So I'm Elliott King, which is two L's and two T's. Connect with me and it would be wonderful to speak with you there, I'm also on on Twitter as well.

Andrew:
Ok, well, we will put those links into the show notes, which will be available at Adigital.agency/podcast. So Elliott, just thank you very much again for joining me today. Really a great pleasure to speak with you and some interesting things that have come up there. So thanks very much for your time.

Elliott:
Absolutely. Thank you very much for having me, Andrew.

Andrew:
So my thanks to my guest today, as always, for giving up their time, I always enjoy having these conversations and hearing other people's experiences as we've gone through this, quite honestly crazy year and how they've managed to adapt and to work through and cope with everything that it's thrown at us. So thank you for joining me and tuning in. Now we'd love to hear from you as well. So please do get in touch. If you've got any suggestions for topics that we might cover, guests or any feedback, then I'd love to hear from you. Just send an email through to hello@theclient.show. That's the Clientside, all one word and I will get back in touch with you just as quickly as we can. Also, if you've left us a review recently, then thank you. You know who you are it's very much appreciated. If not, then please do take a moment to give us a rating and review if you can. Very much appreciated to know that we are providing some benefit and people are enjoying the content that we're putting together. So if you've got this far and you're thinking ahead to your digital plans for 2021, which is not that far off now, then please do get in touch. Check out our website, head across to adigital.agency. We've also got an online scorecard on the website, details of which are coming up next. So we'd love the opportunity to see where we might be able to support you, work together and help you through some of the challenges that are inevitably going to crop up in the next few months. So I've been your host Andrew Armitage. Don't forget, you can also find me on social media. I'm Andrew Armitage on LinkedIn @aarmitage on Twitter. So do look me up there as well. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with the next episode of the Clientside. So in the meantime, stay safe. Take care and I'll see you next time.

Andrew:
Thank you again for checking out today's episode of the Clientside podcast. I really hope you found it a useful conversation with some actionable steps that you can apply in your business, if you can spare just a few minutes of your time then please do look us up on Apple podcasts, search for the Clientside podcast by A Digital and leave us a five star rating. And if you can leave us a quick review, I'd love to hear your feedback. I would really appreciate your support. If you're interested in learning more about a digital and how we might be able to work together head across to our website, to adigital.agency and complete our online scorecard so you can benchmark your own digital performance, you'll get a free personalised report sent to you by email. And I can learn more about you and your business and the particular challenges you're facing. We can then follow this up with a free call to map out your priorities, either on the phone or over Zoom with absolutely no obligation. Thank you so much, everybody. I'm really grateful for you tuning in. If you have any comments about this episode or any previous episodes of the Clientside podcast, then drop me a line to Andrew@adigital.co.uk or head across to our website at adigital.agency/Clientside. See on the next show. Cheers.

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So if we want to grow, there's kind of broadly two ways that you could do it. You can either diversify into new markets, new territories, new countries, or, and or you can diversify your products and services.

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