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“Work smarter, not harder.”
The harsh reality is that you will have to do both if you want your agency to stay alive in 2023.
With the changing world of workyour team is already feeling the pressure — or, more likely, they’ve been feeling it for three years: managing multiple projects at once with higher client expectations and tighter deadlines and trying to balance productivity and burnout, all while make your wildest agency dreams come true.
But, this year, the thing that will separate who survives and who thrives will come down to one word: technology.
As someone who wanted to grow my agency but didn’t know how, I can confidently say that having the right technology tools built-in is essential if you really want to quell the chaos and unlock growth. Here’s where to start:
1. Get super organized with checklist templates
One of the biggest mistakes made by agencies is not get organized because they’re so busy. I speak to hundreds of agency executives each year and have seen the best agencies become hyper-organized using checklists For All. Checklists are essential for organizing your business and preparing it for growth. You should use them for onboarding, training, offboarding, setting up new customers, billing, and for your day-to-day projects.
Related: 3 steps to creating a brand that resonates in a crowded industry
Using project management platforms is the easiest way to embed checklists into every function of your business to protect your team from missing important deadlines or missing vital steps in your processes. Then, once you have foolproof, repeatable checklists in place for all the different client projects you run, you can easily duplicate them for future work, saving you time and a lot of pain. of head. Simply put, systemizing with digital checklists is the first step to scaling your business.
2. Make better data-driven decisions with time tracking
It’s the bane of every agency worker’s existence, but to avoid red, you need to know exactly how your team is spending every minute of work and which projects and clients are most profitable.
Many small teams still use spreadsheets to track time, but why? You want your account and your creative teams to be able to track their hours as easily as possible, which is why a designated time tracker is what you need. Really need. To keep your tech stack economical and streamlined, consider looking for a time tracking app that works with the software platforms you already use.
Time tracking can also help you combat burnout and improve employee happiness when deployed correctly. And when you better understand where your team is spending their time, you can make better resource decisions for everyone, which leads to better business results.
Related: 5 Types of Technology All Entrepreneurs Need Access to in the Digital Age
3. No more manual invoicing and cost tracking
It may seem obvious, but I’m never surprised to hear that small agencies don’t charge and track expenses properly. They are eager to work and want to jump right in. Or, they still manually track project estimates and actual costs.
The problem is that a large part of your growth relies on your ability to load, track and Invoice every billable minute you spend working on the client. An automated cost tracking and invoicing system will prevent you from going over budget and help you better allocate resources and estimate budgets in the future.
Look for invoicing and cost tracking software to create invoices based on your team’s timesheets. Small but effective tweaks like this (with the help of technology) will go a long way to improving your agency’s efficiency, so you can focus on growth.
4. Survey customers with smart software
When you started your agency or work-with-a-client business, the goal was very simple: get enough work done to keep the lights on. When you are in the growth phase of your journey, your purpose pivots. It’s not enough to just have customers; you need to make sure they’re happy every step of the way, and that’s where the right technology can help. The more satisfied your clients are, the more likely they are to recommend your agency to a friend. Opt for an affordable price NPS (Net Promoter Score) to help you create quick and easy to use surveys to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty and provide actionable feedback to help you grow your business.
5. Centralize communication for better collaboration between teams and customers
Even if you don’t feel the pressure of communication early on, things are sure to get worse when your agency grows to 20-30 employees. Centralizing your internal and client communications in one project management platform is one of the best ways I’ve seen agencies differentiate themselves in a competitive market and prepare for growth.
Most project management tools allow clients to access projects and task lists. This gives them greater visibility into your team’s work and provides greater accountability for approvals and deliverables.
Related: 4 trends that will change your communication strategy
Having your communication on one platform as you grow is essential, so that meaningful files and conversations don’t disappear with turnover and change. Plus, integrations with Gmail and Outlook automatically copy attachments and requests to projects so your team doesn’t miss a thing, even on the busiest days.
The most successful agencies and client-facing companies already use many of these tools, but the best ones have adopted a project management platform that does it all.
For agencies in 2023, there’s no shortcut to hard work – but with smart systems and processes in place, you at least have a chance of spending your time on the activities that have the potential to shift the needle and, therefore, to move into the next stage of growth.