How turning your agency into a scalable business to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges
Customer habits have changed almost beyond recognition over the past couple of decades. Adapting to this constantly evolving digital environment presents one of the biggest challenges for traditional media agencies. Continued digitization in the media industry places them under rising pressure to design and pilot new services and tailor-made offerings that enrich customer experiences and allow them to scale with increasing demand.
Here are the key steps to turn your agency into a scalable business:
1. Review your business processes
Sage advice holds that any business process which can be automated should be automated. But that doesn’t mean you should try to modernise everything at once. A rapid transformation without the backing of a robust and adaptable plan can actually leave you in a worse position than when you started.
When reviewing your business processes, look for those which are hindering user experience, whether those users are your customers or your employees. The first step is to garner a bird’s eye view of everything your organization does. Determine which processes consume the most time and other resources, particularly those which are routine and repeatable. These should be the first processes you improve upon. For traditional media agencies, it might also be necessary to invest in entirely new digital strategies and products, such as social media and digital display media planning and trading.
2. Identify your largest income streams
The next step is to identify your largest source of income and the steps which ultimately lead to one of those transactions. This will help you determine which operations add the most value to your agency. Naturally, they’re the first ones you’ll want to optimise and improve.
Fuelling the most profitable processes is the key towards scaling your business. Look for any repeatable processes in the value chain, particularly those which are currently done manually and may potentially be turned into a digital product. For example, if a customer wants to keep renewing a subscription, why not allow them to have it renew automatically? Or, perhaps, you might want to automate your media trading with programmatic advertising.
3. Implement the changes
Now that you have a list of business processes which can be improved, ordered by priority, it is time to start implementing the changes. For traditional media agencies, the list may seem overwhelming at first, so it’s best to start small by choosing just one or two processes to turn into a digital product.
The best approach is to start with a minimum viable product (MVP). Although the term usually applies to software companies, it can also apply to changes made to business processes. The idea is that it doesn’t need to be perfect from the outset – it just needs to deliver a measurable improvement, after which you can start gathering feedback.
4. Gather feedback from users
Developing digital products and services typically follows the agile approach, which mandates continuous testing and improvement. End users, be they customers or employees or anyone else, are involved from the outset, thus giving them the opportunity to provide useful feedback.
You should collect feedback from users at every possible opportunity, although the process should never intrude on the user experience. For example, if you’re implementing a new web or mobile app that lets people manage subscriptions or orders or chat to support staff online, be sure to include a clearly visible feedback button that lets them rate the experience.
5. Expand and refine your efforts
Turning your agency into a scalable business through digital transformation, as in any other industry sector, is about continuous improvement. It’s not a final destination, but rather a journey that persists for as long as the agency itself. It’s about adapting to the constant pace of change and scaling with demand. In other words, what might work perfectly now, might not work so well in a year’s time.
Implement further changes based on feedback, and go back through the cycle regularly. Start small and work your way up steadily, but not so fast that you risk losing track of what’s going on. It’s much safer to digitise and improve upon one or two processes at a time than work with dozens.
Managing change to turn your agency into a scalable business requires a group effort and a business culture that’s driven by innovation. It won’t happen overnight, but neither should you want it to. Media agencies are now making a wide range of transformational moves, using scalable technology to take on more customers and enhance employee productivity.
Philipp Noack –
Co-Founder Venture Leap
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