“Business development” means different things to different people, but for many, it evokes ideas of demand generation and lead nurture strategies. For a small company without a dedicated sales team, however, business development is much more organic.
In seeking to expand our client base, I started by looking backward. What was it that allowed us to continuously grow, even as two recessions claimed many digital agencies our size? As it turns out, FATFREE’s growth has had nothing to do with email drip campaigns or call registers and everything to do with staying true to our core values.
“FATFREE’s growth had nothing to do with email drip campaigns or call registers and everything to do with staying true to our core values.”
Core Values as a New Business Driver
When we established this company, we set out to cut away the layers and the BS and let the work speak for itself. Day to day, that means we behave like we’re a part of the client team. When we’re asked to partner with other vendors, we welcome them on board rather than try to grab their piece of the pie. We provide honest feedback, even when it may not be what a client wants to hear. If we don’t know something, we say so (and then we find the answer). And when we make a mistake, we apologize and make it right.
None of this may sound particularly outrageous, but in a time when people try to bend over backward to avoid responsibility and everyone is always in cross-sell or upsell mode, it stands out.
When our clients or employees move to new companies, it’s never long before we hear from them again. Even our vendors like to share their clients with us. Roughly 80% of our clients have come to us this way, and I’m like a proud parent every time I’m reminded that doing the right thing has paid off.
Self-Selecting for Good Clients
Sure, everyone gets referrals. That’s natural. But when your referrals are based on your ethic, rather than just knowing someone, there’s an important side effect—you tend to attract nice people as clients. So as FATFREE continues to expand outside our circle, we’ll always find room for those who come our way because they heard about us from a shared connection. After all, people who want to work with someone they can collaborate with and trust tend to be a perfect fit.