We (2) just started up a digital agency. What is the best way to answer: "How big or how many employees does your agency have?"

Each of us two founders have at least +8 years pro experience coming from big well-respected brands/companies. What is the best to answer or to handle this question? I guess the possible client whats to make sure how we deliver what we promise, right? What to do/answer to fully get his trust on this topic?


Answer with the truth.

And perhaps follow their question up with a question such as "Why do you ask?"

This serves 2 key purposes:

1. It helps you get to the root of what they are looking for / need / want. And regardless of whether you get that particular client's business or not - you gain valuable insight into the mind of your market.

2. It positions you as the adviser... Asking "why" helps you get more clarity so that you can make sure you are the best fit for them. In fact - their answer might prompt YOU to say "I'm sorry - it sounds like we might not be a good fit for you." By willing to walk away you show poise, confidence, and professionalism.

For more tips and assistance with growing your agency - give me a call.

Best of luck!

Answered 10 years ago

Totally agree with David.

Many companies want to work with small teams and know that the portfolio / client work on the site, was created by the people who are going to work on their project - so if you're a small team, that means you.

Focus on quality work, not size of your team - cause honestly, in todays world ... it's less about full time staff, and more about access to high quality contractors and how you manage client expectations and projects.

The biggest piece of advice I'll throw out there is ... as an agency, your "product" is your methodology - so focus on that. Don't be everything to everyone, be focused on a core customer type and solution to a HUGE problem they have.

It will keep you sane as you grow.

Hope that helps.

Answered 10 years ago

Raymond, you and Lincoln rock!

About small agencies ... I face the same challenge -- even more so, since I changed fields 2-3 years ago and work solo. 16+ years of cumulative experience will assuage most concerns, but I understand that large companies sometimes respect size for its own sake.

Agility. That's what you offer that some more cumbersome agency cannot.

Here's how I pitch myself to clients when they raise similar concerns. Really, that's the only kind of advice I can offer -- showing an example:

When I was a submarine officer at sea, if one of the oxygen generators broke, I could walk aft to the engine room, grab the engineer; and then we'd go forward, wake up the Captain, and have him sign the necessary piece of paper for the chief electrician to get cracking on maintenance. All that might happen in under 3 minutes.

As I was transitioning out of the Navy, I was stationed at a large shore facility -- a base with multiple tenant commands, vessels, buildings, sailors, civilian shipyard workers, and unions. I inherited a parking problem they'd been failing to fix for 5-10 years. Through 6 months of meeting after meeting after meeting, I hammered out a new system for assigning parking passes. Then the unions and the different commanders started bickering about front-row seating. The whole thing fell apart, and I'm assuming they're still working on it several years later.

Bigger isn't always better.

I use similar examples when people ask about my 2-3 years in the domain industry. I just point out that I don't waste time. When the Navy forces you to learn to manage a nuclear power plant in 12 months, mastering the domain industry in 2-3 years is hardly impressive.

This isn't about me. My point is that you have your own examples that you can bring up. Evidence convinces people. Communication is about stories. Find yours!

Answered 10 years ago

Love the answers given so far. I'd add one more thing to your message to the brand.

"We offer a guarantee."

Make up a guarantee that will quell their fears, reassure them that they're not taking a big risk working with you. And remember, the guarantee does not have to be a 100% refund. There are lots of different types of guarantee - workmanship, timeliness, quality, expenses markups.

Go for it and enjoy the ride! I only started my agency 4 years ago and I'm loving it.

Answered 10 years ago

It's a BULLSHIT question and you shouldn't answer it. What if they asked what the square root of 45,678,892 was? You would probably stop, look at them curiously, and say something like:

"What makes you ask?"

That's the same question you should ask in this moment as well. It's a bad strategy to answer a question for which you don't already know the "reason" behind the question. Sure -- there are some likely assumptions. But you don't KNOW why they are asking you.


This isn't about honesty. Integrity is just a ticket to the game. This is about being a smart business person. You don't answer other random questions a potential client might ask you. Why blindly answer this one? Right?

Answered 10 years ago

It is not possible for me to accurately say anything about the number of employees you are going to have, because you have “just started the agency”. Most companies grow through acquisitions, and in each new company there is a slightly different job model, compensation, payroll system, and HRMS and according to these, the hiring in a company is usually made. Every business has full time, part time, contractor, and vendor-provided staff. Companies treat these different parts of the workforce differently.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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