How is Q handling the pandemic?

COVID-19 has already started a global recession, but so far, Q hasn’t been affected. This article is about why Q is holding up and what are our tricks to fight the recession.

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According to Bloomberg, “Coronavirus Could Cost the Global Economy $2.7 Trillion”, while Financial Times says, “the economic downturn will be sharpest since the great depression.”

Q agency closed its office as soon as the virus started spreading in Croatia, and only 32 cases were confirmed. Our reaction was rapid and fast but structured and planned. We knew a lockdown was imminent to Croatia as well, considering trends and ways other countries were fighting the coronavirus around the globe. We wanted to make sure we are appropriately prepared, so we made a plan beforehand, and when the time arrived, we executed it in only one day. But closing the office wasn’t the biggest obstacle. Keeping a strong team spirit, making sure both employees and clients still have faith in us, and keeping our business going are the challenges we were facing.

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Q agency is a #1 fastest growing software&design agency in Europe, with more than 140 people making sure our little factory keeps producing new digital solutions for our clients

One month in, and we can say that for now, we are ahead of this crisis, fighting it fiercely and successfully! It looks like we have a formula for a business vaccine that keeps us being immune. Here are the ten ingredients to our recipe on how to keep your company’s head above the water.

1. Global Footprint

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Headquartered in Zagreb, with offices in 6 different countries, Q has a strong presence in various markets

We are working in 20 countries worldwide, with clients spreading from Alaska to New Zealand. Our biggest market is the DACH region (Germany — Switzerland — Austria), where the pandemic is slowly getting under control and where the economic recovery is excepted sooner.

As a result, we are not relying on the economy of one country, which would make us highly dependent, but rather distributing our risk on different markets globally. Now more than ever, we’re going global.

2. Diverse Portfolio

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Our Chief Business Officer Vedran, on a factory tour at 3AC — a leading manufacturer of materials used in the construction of airplanes, the world’s biggest wind turbines, and the fastest trains

Throughout the years, we never gravitated toward a specific industry. Some might think of it as a bad strategy, but in this scenario, it turned out to be an excellent risk dispersion. With some sectors being hit more than others, incline towards an affected industry affects your business as well. Software development and design have an element of freedom to choose what field of work they are oriented towards, and luckily we chose none.

Whether it is banking or gaming industry, we are choosing challenging and exciting projects for our workers and us as a company. This decision gave us a safe and stable income regardless of fluctuations some industries are currently struggling with.

3. Big Biotech Clients

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Novartis is the #2 largest pharma company in the world and one of our seven biotech clients

Many pharma and healthcare industries are booming right now, and we happen to work closely with some of the most prominent players in this segment. We’ve got seven clients in biotech spreading across Europe and the US.

For them, we’ve created a significant amount of advanced software solutions, which are already thriving on the market and supporting their internal processes. We’ve been collaborating with each of our pharma and medical clients from the earliest project phases, to execute their ideas and concepts in the most technologically advanced standards.

4. Financially Independent

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Some of the big clients Q has or is working with

Many software development and design agencies get most of their income from one or two big clients, which makes them vulnerable and heavily dependent. We, on the other hand, run more than 40 projects simultaneously.

All our clients are between 1–10% max. of our revenue. In case this crisis hits our biggest clients, we are still stable enough to survive with minor to mid consequences.

5. Blue Chip Portfolio

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We are working on a couple of projects with The Times, the oldest newspaper in the world

Most of our clients are sound and stable companies. We’ve got only a couple of startup clients, while over a dozen of our clients are global industry leaders, ranked in Global Top 5 in their segment of work.

To establish communication directly with big clients without the middlemen takes a lot of work and lots of ups and downs. But it’s worth it. The crisis hits many agencies and mediators, but strong and big companies are the ones who tend to survive in the worst times.

6. Long-Term Clients

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We have a lot of long-term projects that are like living organisms, in a constant need for upgrades, adding new features, and maintenance.

A lot of our old clients that we worked with before come back with new proposals. They value loyalty and hard work, which is why we never give less than 100%. “A happy client makes the best marketing campaign,” and our regular client feedback surveys show that our clients count on us strategically in the long run.

7. Remote Work Pros ®

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We are the remote work pros! That was our way of life since the very first day our company was established, allowing our people to work from home whenever they wanted.

Now six years later, one of the first measures taken by every government in the pandemic was: Work from home. We said “no problem” and just had to re-arranged a couple of things. Our projects at Q haven’t suffered an inch since.

8. Sales, Sales, Sales!

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When the COVID-19 hit, we didn’t cut costs by laying anyone off but rather hired new Salespeople instead. We immediately re-organized and created new strategies, encouraging out-of-the-box thinking. The market is different now, so we had to adapt too. We put focus on the industries that aren’t affected by the crisis, such as gaming, online learning, and delivery services.

Never in the history of our company we’ve had so many different sales efforts and initiatives. The sales stats are transparently shared with the entire organization, so people feel informed and included.

9. 100% Transparency

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Dalibor, Filip, and Vedran, the three founders of Q, openly communicating everything to anyone, both good and bad news

We think that the “100% transparency” is the key during these times. We’re taking our task very seriously to keep everyone at Q informed of literally everything necessary. We are completely honest in our communication.

We introduced the “Friday Management Video,” a 15–20-minute wrap up of the entire week, e.i. Important news, project status, new clients, sales stats, problems in communication, etc. We added the “Round Table,” where the management answers the open questions from everybody. The results are amazing, and the team spirit of the company has never been more energetic.

10. Strong “Esprit de Corps”

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The results of our anonymous internal survey, conducted after the first week of full remote work

We all miss social contact with our friends and colleagues. No matter who you live with, it is natural to feel down and isolated. Which brings us to our next step — a whole bunch of our internal online social activities. Despite our entire office working remotely, the Esprit de Corps at Q has never been better:

We introduced 12 new online initiatives, such as “Q Talks” Google Meet events hosted by Q people, team games such as “Quarantine Quiz,” Slack channel “CookBook” for cooking recipes, the “Online Yoga” and workout videos, and “Virtual Couch Sessions” for stress management with our psychologists, etc. Though distant, we are still together.

Conclusion

We are growing stronger day by day, with zero restrictions or cut-offs (we are even employing!). Even with all this being said, no one knew this crisis would happen, and no one knows how it will unfold. So regardless of our current good situation, we need to sleep with one eye open. All we can do is do our best, keep our head straight, maintain focus, and continue to invest in our employee’s happiness and safety.

We need to pay attention to our surroundings and be agile in making decisions and plans. The only way to overcome this pandemic is to be flexible and adapt to every situation we find ourselves in.

And, hope for the best.