Growing a marketing agency is hard work. It requires a number of elements to come together and push it forward. Here are two critical things that an agency cannot grow without.
If you want to grow your agency, to scale, you need to create repeatable processes. You need to standardize, in the best way possible. You must hire capable, experienced people and then empower them to lead those repeatable processes.
Without process, you’ll be tackling every project from scratch, providing every client with a custom solution, continually reinventing the wheel.
You see it happen in movies all the time: instead of checking the backdoor like he’s supposed to, the security guard skips it and then BAM! he get eaten by a dinosaur. It’s classic. Someone decides to deviate from the process just this one time, and ends up paying dearly for the deviation.
Process allows the agency to move forward. It allows the agency to set best practices in stone and then continually evaluate them and improve. If you never follow a process, then nothing is documented, and when nothing documented, it becomes very hard to improve your work.
But you must also have discipline, the discipline to always follow and protect the process. The impact of the process is directly related to how often it is followed.
2. Discipline (to follow the process)
Great agencies protect their process. They follow them religiously. They document them, continually improve them, and most importantly, they defend and protect them.
When you first defend your process to a client, it will be uncomfortable. Because you will have to say “no.” *Gasp* You may fear being seen as inflexible, and unwilling to compromise, stay strong, it’s for a greater good.
Remember, you’re the expert they’ve trusted with their project’s success. To be successful you need to follow your process. You’re actually saying no in order to help them reach their goal. *Sigh of Relief* Remember, if you break the process, you break the end product (and your clients are buying the end product).
“We are what we repeatedly do.”
There is no way this saying is not true. It’s a mirror.
If you look at your last month or last couple months’ worth of projects and see disorganization, chaos, missed deadlines, rushed projects, pissed off coworkers and unhappy clients, this is your reality. This is what you repeatedly do.
And as one of my insightful coworkers recently noted: “it sucks to suck.”
Your agency is either a scattered, disorganized, flies by the seat of its pants, just barely hits the deadline, making up everything from scratch shop. Or it is a disciplined, structured shop that can repeatedly address problems and repeatedly ship projects. That’s it. Those are your two options.
The gray area in-between is just agencies who kind of suck but are working on it.