In order to scale your agency and serve a larger number of clients, you'll need to establish a track record for getting results.
You need to have a clear vision for your business and growth targets and prepare for that growth before it occurs, in order to succeed in scaling your agency.
Using my own experience of scaling an outbound sales agency, as well as hundreds of conversations with clients and agency owners, I will share with you four steps you can take to help you scale your agency. By implementing these steps, you'll be better positioned to scale your growth without sacrificing client experience.
As long as the client's happy, you can get away with just doing the work for a small, tight-knit agency. However, you should think just as much about how you do it if you want to scale.
Smaller agencies, for example, are prone to each team member using his or her favorite tools. They may also perform tasks differently.
It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of the work done in your agency as it grows when everyone is running on different software.
When done correctly, set procedures can actually help your team spend less time on repeatable parts of the process, contrary to some agencies' fears that they will stifle creativity and kill the 'magic'. Therefore, they are able to focus more on delivering a high-quality service.
The following are some of the prime processes you should document if you want to scale effectively:
It makes it easier to measure and improve performance when your team uses these systematized procedures to carry out key tasks faster and more efficiently.
You will be able to identify any obstacles or inefficiencies that have crept into your agency's workflow just by documenting your processes, eliminating unnecessary steps and streamlining your work as a result. It is impossible, however, to optimize an undocumented or constantly changing process.
In the early days of your agency, when you had a small team and a handful of clients, communicating was simple. You probably didn't even consider it - you just sent someone a message and got on with your day.
Taking your agency to the next level requires you to have a clear documented plan for how communication will take place, with a focus on two main areas:
Communication within your teams. How will you make sure important information gets to the right people? Just as importantly, how will you avoid overloading your team with unnecessary messages? In order to avoid explaining procedures and best practices to everyone on your team, you should have a single source of truth (SSOT) for them.
Communication with your clients. How will you communicate with them? Who will take care of that? What channels will you use to communicate with them? You can make it easier to balance client expectations with the demands of your team by using templates and automation, but it can be challenging.
People typically think of scaling by hiring more people, but you can't just throw people at the problem and expect it to work.
You will have to expand your headcount at some point if you want to grow, so it's vital to have your processes and procedures in place before hiring new employees so that they can be properly onboarded. Streamlining one's operations can be achieved easily by hiring a virtual assistant.
It is equally important to hire the right people, even with training. The last thing you want is to damage your hard-earned reputation with a poor employee. This is especially true for management or leadership positions. In order to scale, you will need to build a team you can trust to do the job without you constantly checking on them.
Initially, you might be tempted to take on any job that comes your way. As you scale, however, you might still find it difficult to turn down clients. After all, how are you supposed to grow if you're rejecting clients?
Scaling requires focus, so by defining your positioning—what you do, how you do it, and for whom you do it—you can optimize your service.
Are there any advantages to using your agency rather than using an in-house team or going directly to a freelancer? What kind of clients would benefit the most from your services?
Your messaging will be more clear when you are clear on the answers to these questions, and you will be able to attract and retain more of your ideal clients.
By implementing this strategy, you will be able to stand out from the competition and scale effectively.
As an agency scales, it can create more problems if you aren't prepared. Rapid growth can create more problems in any business if you aren't prepared. Your agency can scale effectively to new heights if you have documented procedures, clear communication channels, the right team, and strong positioning.