Every agency dreams about growing and becoming a successful, high-performing business. Of course, there are a number of challenges associated with trying to grow an agency as sustainably as possible.
There are many “thought leaders” and influencers out there who have opinions on how to hack the growth process. You might have seen their video ads stalking you on Facebook or Instagram with promises on tripling revenues or touting advice on giving away your best material to gain clients (yet they somehow always charge you for this advice).
Some of those strategies might work, but the only thing that’s proven is focusing on streamlining operations: building scalable, repeatable processes and leveraging automation to fool-proof the process.
Growing a small agency into something self-sustaining and functional requires a lot of work. In this article, we will dive into the critical truths behind growing an agency sustainably — and the secret to creating highly scalable processes.
5 Ways to Grow Your Agency into a High-Performing One
1. Study the “The Golden Ratio.”
The first step to achieving sustainable growth is to study your current service and pricing model. Unfortunately, many agencies believe they are succeeding because they are bringing in sufficient revenue to pay the bills; however, they are likely only breaking even. Agencies will never be able to grow unless they are turning a profit on each product they sell or service they offer.
The best way to approach this is to follow the 5x rule—also referred to as the “golden rule” or “golden ratio.” Simply put, your agency should make at least five times what you spend.
For example, figure out what you spend on marketing, sales, manufacturing or production, or any other channel. Then, calculate your profits. If you aren’t making at least five times what you spend, then this will make it difficult to grow your agency. You may need to adjust your pricing model accordingly.
2. Keep Goals Front and Center.
Every team member or leader can get wrapped up in the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks, and as a result, lose sight of overarching goals. If team members lose track of key goals, then this can cause projects to derail, teams will feel lost and dysfunctional, and quality will inevitably suffer.
If you want to develop your talents and create a high-performance team environment, then be sure to regularly communicate goals, objectives, and KPIs with teams. Not only will this help keep the vision and goals at the forefront of team members’ minds, it will also help them to see their own value and their part in the company’s success.
Furthermore, when every team member is on the same page and understands the larger operational picture, the unit runs smoother, more productively, and more profitably.
3. Build Internal Processes.
People and processes are what help make an agency grow. Processes should help streamline operations, increase efficiency, reduce costs and risks, and deliver quality and value.
However, there are a few common mistakes that keep creeping in: building overly-complex processes, lack of process discipline, and not building processes at all.
Regardless of the scenario, any of these things can be a recipe for disaster, making it incredibly difficult for your agency to grow. So how do you ensure that you build the right processes in your agency? Processes should be reliable, repeatable, predictable, simple, and sustainable.
On the other hand, there is such thing as too much process. Many agile agencies follow the “barely sufficient” process framework. This means that the agency implements processes for each project phase, however, team members can use their own individual processes to achieve the needs of each project phase.
4. Build the Right Team.
Agencies are only as strong, successful, and sustainable as the people on the team. Furthermore, agencies can build all the internal processes they want, but if they don’t have the right team in place, then agencies will find it more difficult to grow.
So, what does the right team look like? In addition to recruiting team members with the right skill set and experience, personality and attitude are also essential to consider.
One of the key motivators for individual team members is understanding what is expected of them. The right people will want to know what needs to be accomplished and how to deliver results.
Good team members want to be able to see the value in their work, why it’s important, and how they are contributing to agency goals. They also want to work within a team environment that is committed to delivering quality work.
Additionally, today’s team members need to be open and adaptable to change. The more teams collaborate, engage in discussions, and solve problems, the more valuable they will be to the agency—and to customers. Therefore, it makes sense for all companies to invest in recruiting the right people.
If your agency wants to build or produce an adaptable product, you must have an adaptable team. Delivering a high-quality product or service and operating with efficiency stems from processes and people.
5. Automate your processes.
Finally, one tried and true way to build efficient processes, maximize profits, and drive value is to automate. In fact, 20 percent of organizations and agencies that build automation into their internal, existing processes report at least 15 percent cost savings. And when built correctly, automation can save you and your team massive amounts of time.
The first thing you need to understand about automation is that it starts as a mindset. Automation involves thinking about and approaching work differently. This means that rather than thinking about who will perform a new task or project, think about how something will get done.
So, the next time you need to assign a project or task, ask the question, “Should this be automated?” You can automate tasks, projects, or other processes that are often tedious, time-consuming, and repetitive.
Furthermore, you don’t need to be a developer, nor have a developer on your team to take advantage of automation. There are many tools available that help teams build automations.
For example, Rindle is a project management tool that has built-in automation capabilities, allowing teams to automate tasks directly in the platform without using a third-party automation service, such as Zapier.
Once you begin automating tasks, you might be surprised to discover just how many tasks in your existing workload can be automated. If you are unsure of what to automate, ask your team. They will likely have ideas on what tasks to automate and how to go about it.
Remember, the goal of automation is to “set and forget” the tedious tasks so project leaders and team members can devote more time and energy to impactful, valuable, and meaningful work.
Manage Agency Chaos Efficiently
Yes, growing your business into a high-performing agency requires a great deal of time, effort, dedication, and hard work—and it won’t happen overnight.
However, taking the time to build the right team, processes, and optimizing and automating those processes where necessary can help build sustainability, allowing your agency to grow that much easier.
Furthermore, teams that are centered on goals and overall mission and vision will beat the competition, rise to the top, and become high-performing agencies.
Are you looking for a sustainable tool to help align your team as well as monitor and support projects and goals? Give Rindle a try today.