Learnings from Covid That We Can Use in the Current Economic Climate

Here’s a list of the actions that high-performing agencies took to get through the slump caused by COVID that you can use to navigate the choppy economic waters.


  1. Be decisive. Death by a thousand cuts pleases no-one.
  2. Do the sums. What if sales reduce by 20/40/60%?
    1. Run a rolling 8-week cash flow forecast
    2. Talk to the bank
  3. Look at your team. Make the decisions now, in the cold light of day:
    1. Who will you let go?
    2. Who will you keep?
    3. How can you make tough decisions yet bring the team together?
    4. How can you increase the involvement and commitment to the goal?
  4. Look at your clients:
    1. Who is vulnerable?
    2. Who is safe?
    3. Who is strong?
    4. Who should you keep?
    5. Who should you churn?
    6. To whom should we give celebrity service?
    7. To whom should we give a one-star service?
  5. Look at your services:
    1. Which are vulnerable?
    2. Which are safe?
    3. Which are strong?
    4. Which should you keep?
    5. Which should you scrap?
    6. Create recession- and inflation-focused services.
  6. Become an ‘80/20 Machine’. Do more of what works (the top 20%) and ditch what doesn’t (the bottom 20%).
  7. Look at your client engagement:
    1. Re-present yourself as the person to help them navigate the future.
    2. Do more listening.
    3. Start consulting and helping them make the tough decisions.
    4. Create opportunities for clients to share their anxiety and work with you.
  8. Marketing:
    1. Target the clients that are slightly above your ‘pay grade’. They will be looking for more economical options and you may fit the bill.
    2. Do more marketing. Be more visible. Stand out and do not shy away from being seen and heard.
    3. Create collateral (white papers, articles, cheatsheets, how-tos) to demonstrate how relevant you are to your specific target clients’ needs.
    4. Revert to old-fashioned techniques: pick up the phone, go for a coffee.
    5. Look for non-competitive joint ventures.


The list can go on and on but there are core lessons from surviving COVID that need to be applied now:

  • It is a long game, not a sprint, so look after yourself and your people.
  • Lean into the uncertainty in every sense: be seen to be the agency that can help your clients, not just sell PPC or SEO.
  • Make rational, logical decisions: don’t mistake adrenaline and dopamine with the power of clear thinking taken in the cold light of day.
  • Do not shy away from tough decisions.


In many senses, the COVID survivors just need to rinse and repeat what they did last time:

  • Focus on the value you add to your clients
  • Be brave
  • Be clear
  • Know your numbers
  • Make the tough decisions
  • Be bold and lean into the storm. Most do not have the bottle to do that.


Finally, I will quote Andy Grove:

“Bad companies are destroyed by crisis, 

Good companies survive them, 

Great companies are improved by them.”