“Growin’ ain’t easy”.
Said nobody to me ever. Mainly because no one I know talks like that. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Growing your business is tough.
New services to existing clients.
It requires work.
On top of that, even when it goes well, it can harm your business.
Here are three things to watch-out for when you plan to grow your agency.
1 – “IT’S NOT OUR BEST, BUT IT’LL DO”
Otherwise know as a Drop In Quality
More business means more money, but it also means more work.
Often, this means you need to hire more people, or at least you need to find partners to help you deliver the work.
With an increase in output, sometimes follows a decrease in quality. It’s also very hard to keep on top of everything that is going out the door, so you may not even notice at times.
I’m not suggesting that you insist on seeing every piece of work that is ever shared with a client, but occasionally looking over projects you’re not directly involved in may be a good idea.
One thing to look out for, and literally ban, is the phrase “It will do”.
If you ever find yourself, or any team mates saying this, really audit the work you’re referring to. If it will only do, it’s not good enough.
2 – “THAT CLIENT’S NOT AS IMPORTANT AS THIS ONE”
Otherwise known as a drop in Service
More business can mean more clients.
This can lead to prioritisation and favouritism.
Avoid this at your peril.
The way I’ve always looked at clients is, every client is as important as any other, regardless of how much they spend with you.
Another way of looking at it is, every client is your most important client, and should be viewed that way.
The second you begin to prioritise certain clients and treat some differently, the second you start providing a worse service, the second you start losing clients.
3 – “WE CAN MAKE A START ON THAT IN A FEW WEEKS”
Otherwise known as an increase in Lead Time
I’m not sure if you’re married, but something that baffles me is how long wedding photographers take to return edited photos – some people have told me they waited 6 months!
It doesn’t take 6 months to edit 500 photos – it takes a day tops. What takes the time is doing all the other work, so you can make a start on them.
Don’t fall into the wedding photographer trap. If you’re bringing new work in, and the business is saturated, you have two options:
Turn it down saying you can’t get it done quick enough (this may earn you some serious respect from your client for your honesty)
Partner up with someone who can help you deliver
Whatever you do, don’t take the work on and sit on it for a month (or 6). This is bad service, and will damage your reputation.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Growing is an essential part of your business strategy and should be pursued, however, not at any cost.
Beware of a drop in quality or service, because these will damage your business in the long term.
Most of all, remember what no one ever said ever:
“Growin’ ain’t easy”.