For all of you out there running or managing an Internet marketing company, I wanted to discuss some great leadership strategies to keep your company dynamic, skillful, and growing. With the economy the way it is, most companies have made serious strategic shifts in the way they market, plan, budget, hire, and forecast. Putting the financial aspects aside I wanted to talk about internal leadership responsibilities that will ensure clear communication, effective chain of command dynamics, and thorough processes.
Hiring: It is actually a great time to hire right now as the job market is full of talented prospects seeking employment. Consider hiring people part time (hourly) or as freelancers to fill positions where you can’t afford salaries. You definitely need to watch payroll expenses but without a talented team of experts, your Internet marketing company may not produce the results that clients are expecting. Take advantage of the economy. Local competitors might be downsizing and you can pick up talented designers, SEO engineers and project managers seeking a new home.
Training: A good leader will ensure that the staff has sufficient training on a regular basis to keep things fresh and ensure that the team is constantly learning. The Internet marketing industry is where this is probably most important. As algorithms change, strategies change. New SEO and social media opportunities are always developing and your team must be on top of the latest and greatest in the industry. Hold weekly training sessions with the team, choose a topic and prepare for the session. Everyone should attend including CEO’s and top executives (and not be typing away on Blackberry’s and iPhones). Start the training on time and end it on time.
Chain of Command: This is very important and everyone must understand not only their responsibilities but those of the people above and below them. The cleared this is and the more it is followed, the more efficient your team will be.
Management Team: Communication within the top executives should be consistent and frequent. Monday meetings to prepare for the week and tie up loose ends from the previous week are a great way to get started. Friday meetings are also encouraged but for a different reason. It is good for the top managers to have their own strategy, planning, and innovation sessions so they can always be discussing how to improve. Keep these short (15 minutes to 30 minutes)
CEOs, Presidents, Managers – Here are some qualities that are imperative for strong leadership:
- Lead by example – don’t ask your team members to do things you are not willing to do yourself
- Get to the office first and stay late when the opportunity arises
- Have integrity, humility, and own the ability to lead and inspire as well as listen and follow
- Reward greatness publicly – show your superstars that you personnaly recognize their efforts
- Be a decision maker and always execute
- Be organized
- Always execute
Sales solves everything: If you can’t sell your service or product it is not a service or product. You must always be selling. This includes CEO’s and top executives. In my opinion CEO’s and top level execs should bring in the most business of anyone. Have a consistent sales process, have good collateral material to send out, and educate clients. Don’t be afraid of giving away the secret sauce. People appreciate transparency. The more you earn their trust, the more likely they will be to use you.
An Internet marketing company is just like any other company and all the same rules apply. Good leadership will infect your people and inspire them to be great and do what needs to be done because they WANT to do it.
In the words of the great general Sun Tzu:
“Weak leadership will destroy the finest strategy, while forceful execution of even a poor strategy can often bring victory.”
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