Starting a business isn’t easy, and scaling one isn’t either. Like many business owners, I also feared putting my companyat risk in the hopes of scaling up. Six years later, we’ve managed to grow a successful business and work with some of the world’s leading brands.
Here are five tips on how to scale your agency:
1. Double your prices
To attract clients in your early days, it’s certainly a good idea to keep your prices low, but eventually, this will impact the amount of work and number of employees you can hire. WowCompany does a yearly agency benchmarking report which reveals how much UK marketing agencies are charging by day, and I quickly realised I was undercharging for the services we offered. With this new information, I decided to double our day rate in order to hire new staff. Importantly, I still ensured our price was around 20 percent cheaper than the average rate making us an affordable agency compared to competitors.
2. Invest in a sales resource
Before starting Kaizen, I disliked the approach many salespeople took towards their work at previous agencies. This concern meant that I didn’t hire anyone to do the job as I felt it was important to have someone share the same ethos as me. Long story short, I burnt myself out and ended up hiring a sales director way too late. Admittedly, this may be expensive and you might end up paying them more than you pay yourself! However, with clear and rigorous KPIs, and someone willing to generate sales with the right ethics is an investment—you’ll be surprised at how quickly you see a return.
3. Make a list of things you want to delegate one day
Ultimately, you want to be working on the business, not delivering every element of the actual service once you hit a certain point. Initially, this was a difficult transition, but by making a list of all the things I wanted to be completed without my assistance, meant I could train my staff to take on those responsibilities permanently. Things I outsourced in order to focus on the agency’s growth included things such as; finance & bookkeeping, administrative tasks for clients, copywriting, and creative campaigns.
4. Put three months of running costs aside
Unfortunately, similar to British weather, you can’t plan for a rainy day – but they’re always going to happen. Whether it’s a global crisis as we are experiencing, or a major client leaving – things happen. Make sure you have at least three months of salaries and office/rent expenses in the bank so that if things go wrong, you always have a reserve, allowing you time to gain a new client or a new service.
5. Help others without a motive
It’s been the biggest generator of leads for our business over the last six years. This can be as simple as replying to a tweet, having a coffee with someone to help with their next career move, or giving them feedback on something they’re currently working on. This exchange works both ways, as friends I’ve made along the way have worked in agencies, then decided to work in-house and have turned into customers for our business. I think a lot of these relationships turn into business because they can see that I love my job and helping people with business decisions, but also I provided them with some value at some point.