These days, agencies are more determined than ever to operate more productively. According to recent data, only lead-generation ranks higher as an issue for web-oriented companies. But becoming more productive can get complicated. After all, there’s rarely one quick fix to making your agency run faster, smoother, better.
To maximize your time, here are 5 practical productivity tips for your agency (START).
Standardize client interactions
Tap your monthly-revenue potential
Automate your workflow
Reuse your elements
Tailor your approach
1. Standardize Your Client Interactions
You use templates for building websites. Why not operate similarly when dealing with clients?
Begin with your pricing plan. Agencies often fail to establish firm and consistent parameters on their charges for service—and, as a result, lose countless hours on everything from client trouble-shooting to expanding project expectations. Set clear terms of engagement from the get-go—i.e., the maximum allowable client-touchpoints—and don’t waver from them.
The same approach can apply to many forms of client communication, from project proposals to even casual exchanges. You don’t need to craft a new email every time you’re showing clients their first mockups. You’ve done it before and you’ll do it again. Save time by creating email and project templates accessible to anyone on your team who’ll need it.
2. Tap Your Easier-Revenue Potential
When it comes to generating revenue, many agencies put their greatest emphasis on growing their client base and finding new business. This makes sense. But experts maintain that, in a field such as web design, there are more efficient ways to make money. By nurturing recurring monthly revenue streams, you give yourself a steady cash flow and free your time for other business endeavors.
Offer a retainer model for clients you've already designed website for and offer monthly services like SEO, site maintenance, updates and content. With the right platform, you’ll be able to quickly make edits. This kind of revenue stream flows easily—a gift that keeps on giving.
3. Automate Your Workflow
Are you using one tool for management, another for billing, and yet another for design work? You’re not alone. At many agencies, workflow moves in too many directions. Some firms might use literally half a dozen different tools, online and offline, to conduct business, with various departments in their own corners. This is a recipe for miscommunication and missed deadlines. And for diminished productivity.
Various new CRM tools streamline communications under one umbrella and automating workflow. Explore options for your best-fitting platform, and seriously consider one that automates your workflow from lead-generation to invoices. This way, your designer can show a client an early mockup in the same space dashboard that your business manager sends invoices, with notification-tools keeping everyone informed. The result: less confusion, more cohesion. And greater productivity.
4. Reuse Your Work
The desire to innovate, or at least find what’s fresh, is hardwired into many who get into business. But you can still be innovative while reusing components that save you time in the long run. Developers can create reusable elements, apps, and widgets. Designers can create their own website templates and customize them according to each business. Not every project has to start from scratch, so having templates and apps ready to go for any situation will help your entire team work faster.
5. Tailor Your Approach To Your Own Productivity
Sure, a few universal concepts can help anyone enhance their productivity. The rest of the time you’re dealing with distinct skills, teams, and goals. Be wary of general productivity methods that don’t match your needs. These days it’s hard to agree on what constitutes the optimal number of work hours in a week.
Which means that, at the end of the day, your agency can’t operate at it most productively until you make a clear-eyed assessment of its scale and style. If you’re a bigger agency, you might consider enlisting an organization development consultant, at least for a look under the hood. If you’re a smaller agency, you might require that your employees have the skills to wear multiple hats. Pick and choose; mix and match. Visualize your own business’s ideal for efficient productivity, then convert that model into an actionable, sustainable method of operation.
Being more productive is a process—both a goal and a system. With the right steps and the right outlook, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your agency’s peak potential.