Leading and scaling an agency is no small feat. The journey is filled with ups and downs, and the need to adapt and grow is constant. As the founder of Eyeful Media has stated, a fast-growing creative agency, they've experienced the challenges firsthand. In this blog post, I'll share the valuable lessons they've learned along the way, divided into the stages of infancy, go-go growth, adolescence, and prime.
Infancy: Laying the Foundation
When Eyeful Media was in its infancy, we relied on a network of contractors and consultants. But as they began hiring full-time employees, they realized the need for a stronger infrastructure to support their growing team. Here are some key lessons from this stage:
- Get a payroll solution: Transitioning from manual contractor payments to using Gusto for payroll simplified our processes and ensured predictability in staffing.
- Invest in quality communication tools: Upgrading from Google Chat to Slack improved collaboration and teamwork within our remote agency.
- Choose business accounting software: Starting with robust accounting software like QuickBooks Online provided valuable insights for growth analysis.
Go-Go Growth: Establishing Structure
As the agency entered the go-go growth stage, the focus shifted to establishing a solid foundation and refining their processes. Here are some key lessons they learned:
- Build a robust onboarding process: Creating a structured onboarding process with clear expectations for the first 90 days improved the onboarding experience for new hires.
- Establish a team structure: Adding additional layers of management, such as group directors, improved role clarity and provided support for the team.
- Implement annual reviews: Although not everyone's favorite, annual reviews helped provide structured feedback and goals for employees.
Adolescence: Embracing Efficiency
Efficiency became the primary focus as they aimed to optimize their processes and improve profitability. Here are some key lessons from this stage:
- Automate reporting data gathering: Utilizing tools like Supermetrics and Domo helped save time and streamline data analysis for our team.
- Track time accurately: Implementing a time tracking solution provided valuable insights into project and client profitability.
Prime: Sustaining Growth and Beyond
In the prime stage of the agency's growth, they continued to evolve and adapt. Here are some key lessons learned from this:
- Diversify your revenue: Balancing retainers and one-time projects helps protect the health of your business.
- Say no when necessary: Walking away from projects that aren't a good fit allows you to maintain the quality of your work and protect your team.
- Keep tabs on small expenses: Regularly reviewing software and freelancer expenses can help save costs and optimize resources.
Embracing Growth and Change
Scaling an agency is an ongoing journey, and each stage presents new challenges and opportunities. By diversifying revenue, making strategic hires, implementing efficient processes, and focusing on team development, you can successfully navigate the path to growth. Embrace the different stages, adapt to changing needs, and consistently evaluate and optimize your operations. Remember, every step in the journey brings valuable insights that contribute to your agency's success.