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The importance of effective processes for agency growth

Date
September 26, 2023
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Every business, no matter the industry they operate in, relies on processes. Without them, things are unlikely to get done quickly, efficiently, or successfully. Despite this, process management tends to be lacking across the board. Once you have a process that works for you, it’s easy to get stuck with it, even as things change and modernise, leaving scope for more effective processes to replace them. 

This blog is the last in a series discussing the four key pillars for agency growth. We’ve already looked at leadership, financial management, and people, as well as an overview which you can read by clicking here

Effective process management can be particularly difficult in the creative industry. This is an industry with frequent change, schedules that can be unpredictable, and things that are constantly innovating. As such, establishing and maintaining effective processes can be complicated. However, as a big fan of lean processes myself, I have helped many agencies implement them to great success. So, here are a few of my tips to help your agency achieve the same kind of thing. 

Why is it so important to have effective processes?

Agencies need good processes in order to run as efficiently and effectively as possible, not to mention to aid in their long term growth. However, it goes deeper than this, with processes (or the lack of them) affecting every area of your agency, including: 

  • Missed deadlines. These can have a negative impact across the whole business. Deadlines being missed consistently will annoy your clients, and may even lead to them taking their custom elsewhere. 
  • Miscommunication. A lack of clear processes often means that people aren’t clear on what they’re supposed to be doing, what others are doing, and who they should speak to and for what. This can have an effect on both employees, who may get fed up of losing time for creative work to managing communications, and clients, who can easily get annoyed if things aren’t communicated to them promptly and clearly. 
  • A focus on creative work. Overall, when workflows are streamlined, deadlines are met, and communication is clear, teams can focus on producing exceptional work for clients, leading to greater employee and client satisfaction across the board. 

Top tips for improving processes in your agency

It is clear that effective processes are key for any agency that wants to grow and meet its other goals. For me, effective processes are those that provide a clear, simple structure, but aren’t so regimented that they don’t allow for true creative work. Throughout my years in creative agency operations, I have found that these kinds of processes give teams enough structure to get the job done efficiently without compromising on the work's creative quality. So, here are five of my top tips to help your agency develop lean and effective processes: 

Standardise processes

Structure is useful, even for the most creative of people. To get the right balance between rigid structures and creativity, define and document standardised processes for different tasks and workflows. This will ensure consistency and efficiency. However, you should also clearly communicate to your team that, beyond the basic clear processes, creative freedom is still allowed and encouraged. Overall, you should find that this improves your creative output whilst your agency becomes more efficient. 

Automate where possible

When it comes to technology, it feels like something new is coming out every single week. Try not to be overwhelmed by this, but instead use it to your advantage. By using technology and tools to automate repetitive tasks and streamline workflows, you’ll free up time for more creative work - that’s work that can be billed to your clients, helping to boost your profitability and ultimately growth. 

Use data to inform decisions

As a creative agency owner, you’re probably not too data minded. However, data can be your friend when it comes to growth. Use data analytics to track and measure performance, identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions. It may take some getting used to, but it will make for effective processes that improve your agency’s efficiency across the board. 

Prioritise communication

It’s an old cliche, but communication really is key, especially when it comes to processes. Ensure that communication is clear, consistent, and timely across all teams and stakeholders. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and delays, which can be very costly. 

Continuously evaluate and refine processes

Whatever you do, try not to become complacent when it comes to processes! The creative industry is constantly evolving. If you don’t move with it, you risk being left behind. Regularly review and evaluate processes to identify areas for improvement. Then, make the necessary adjustments to optimise effectiveness. 

Overall, efficient and lean processes are truly key for any agency that wants to grow. These processes will help your team members by giving them clear guidelines to follow without their creative work having to suffer. However, they should also improve client satisfaction by making clear communication the standard - not to mention a probable improvement in work quality. Of course, improving your processes alone is not enough for your agency to reach its full potential. That’s exactly why I have produced this series of blogs - to outline the four key pillars that should be the starting point for any agency that wants to grow. By reviewing the four pillars together, you should have the start of a comprehensive strategy for success.

If you want to get an even better idea of where your agency stands against the competition, as well as receive personalised recommendations for where to improve, I have a Scorecard that will tell you just that. It takes under five minutes to complete and is totally free. Please click here to take it and get some useful tips for how to improve your agency in even less time than it took you to read this blog. 

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