A closer look: Growth in 2020

Business growth success process, Woman hand arranging wood block with icon business strategy and Action plan.Stories of businesses closing and sales dropping in 2020 are common, but there are also plenty of organizations that experienced surprising growth during this unprecedented year.

Planit, a creative agency based in Maryland, is one such organization. The company increased year-over-year revenue by 40+ percent. It’s even added four fulltime positions.

What has contributed to this phenomenal growth during one of the most challenging years to run a business? Nimble leadership, a strategic push, and solid communications. President and co-founder at Planit Matt Doud explains more.

What factors have driven your agency’s growth?

I attribute Planit’s growth during this pandemic to a combination of preparation and nimbleness.

Planit initiated a deliberate growth push in 2019, acquiring several new clients just prior to the COVID shutdown. This contributed to Planit’s strong specializations in key verticals that happen to be thriving during this pandemic, including home and garden, CPG products and healthcare.

Secondly, unlike many advertising agencies, we are fortunate to offer public relations and crisis communications services. These services have been crucial to supporting our clients through the global pandemic of 2020, allowing us to retain and even grow clients who may have otherwise paused their marketing spend to focus on communications priorities related to COVID-19.

The combination of account growth in key verticals, as well as specialized crisis communications services, was complemented by a nimble leadership mentality and approach to our business operations. This has allowed us to pivot and make smart financial decisions, adjust our workplace norms and processes, and make unique employee-first changes to age-old policies that would have otherwise not been considered.

We’ve opened our eyes to different, and many think better, ways of operating.

What impact has the pandemic had on your business? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had an emotional and mental impact on all of us, especially Planit’s younger staff.

Ad agencies typically attract a younger workforce–Planit’s average age is 35. That means many newlyweds and young families. That group faces unique challenges with childcare, working from home, aging parents, etc.

Ironically, the pandemic has improved productivity and contributed to Planit’s already strong culture. Prioritizing communication, flexibility, support, and collaboration has helped to decrease the opportunity for isolation, stress, and anxiety and increased collaboration and innovative workflow improvements.

Business growth also required Planit to hire. And our newly remote workforce opened our eyes to the possibility of hiring and retaining candidates living outside of Baltimore’s footprint, significantly improving our pool of available talent and resources.

Planit now allows all staff to work remotely from locations in Baltimore as well as from across the country. We now have full-time employees residing in D.C., Florida, New York and Illinois.

matt doud planitMatt Doud co-founded Planit with Ed Callahan in 1994. He is currently president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization chapter in Baltimore, Maryland.