Evaluating Our Goals – 2017 And Beyond
As with any freelance design agency, goal setting is always an important focus on our future business. We are evaluating our goals and taking a new look into the way that our agency will be conducting business.
So what is it that you look when evaluating business goals? Is it the amount of income you have earned, the level of workload you take on, or how you decide what type of projects to take on?
I would like to think that with any successful freelance agency, taking a look in your business processes plays a major role in how you begin evaluating future goals for your business. It is certainly no different for our agency.
Evaluating Business Goals – What’s Going To Be New In 2017
So as we begin to evaluate our goals, it was crucial that we step back and take a review in how the flow of our business went in 2016. While we feel that our model in 2016 was productive and we seen a huge growth in client business, we knew that we had to re-define some of the processes that we had in place as well as what type of clients we would be accepting in the future.
As a freelance design agency, it should come as no surprise that the bulk of our business was based on word-of-mouth. Of course we experience a fair share of business via local search results as well.
We were willing to take on any project, regardless of scope and size, as a means to increase our revenue to our agency. However, as we learned throughout 2016, this is not always the best approach to yield effective business growth.
The explosion in our business forced us into taking on new associates to assist with our load of design business. Certainly something that any agency desires to see. Furthermore, it forced us into putting other business elements into place that we had not previously set in concrete. You know the usual things such as, contractual agreements, on-boarding processes, and ongoing client relationship models that many freelancers tend to overlook.
Seeking Out Smart Goals For Our Future Growth
Any freelancer should be on the lookout to implement smart goals to assist them with their future business growth. Our agency is no different. In 2016, we begin implementing our entire business model around creating unique designs for our clients and relying strictly on the Divi Framework.
Many freelancers seek out the use of premium themes from a variety of theme marketplaces. As many of you are aware, this brings forth both an increase in costs that you must build into a client project, as well as licensing issues.
When we made the decision to create all of future designs based around Divi, we knew that this was the best decision for us. Since the majority of our team is very familiar with this platform, it just made our workflow easier.
When be began evaluating our goals, we knew it was time to take a look at other processes as well. Such things as how we handle our billing, ongoing client services and other crucial elements to our design and development process.
Going Old School In Our Daily Workflow
While our agency reached out during the past year to automate a lot of our processes and automation, it did not take us long to realize that many of these processes were taking away time from us focusing on the right areas of our business.
Think about this for a minute. How many of you utilize outside tools such as Salesforce, or other CRM tools. Then you have to worry about the constant bouncing in and out of those networks. I’m not even going to explain what a nightmare keeping up with daily tasks were.
Then add to that the vast amount of tools we were using for collaborating on projects, such as Slack, Trello and other related type item’s. As an agency, we were spending more time within those tools as opposed to turning out high-end, quality design projects.
In 2017, our agency is going to be going back to old-school techniques. While automation is amazing in the tools that it delivers, there are times when getting back to the basics yields a better approach in how you manage your daily workflow.
As I discussed in a podcast with Geno Quiroz from Monterey Premier, I had indicated my love for themes and plugins. For anyone who has been in the WordPress ecosphere, you can quickly become a plugin junkie.
It’s one of those things that happens. Then you spend a great deal of time in removing those that provide you with no relative functionality in an effort to deliver the results that is necessary for your website to function properly.
So it will be for which processes we use for on-boarding new clients. Have you really evaluated the vast amount of processes and steps it takes for someone new who may desiring your services? As a part of our ongoing process of evaluating our goals, we will be looking into simplifying the process of how a potential client can acquire our services easier.
Choosing The Right Clients
Another aspect of our business that we will be focusing on is how we choose the right clients for our business model.
Just because someone brings cash to the table, doesn’t always equate to them being the best fit for your business model. Even as we announced about us making the change to our business model to focusing primarily on church and ministry clients, we will be putting this into effect for them as well.
Not all clients are created equally and each bring for a special set of specific needs that may place more of a demand on your agency than you are prepared to effectively deal with.
Also, we will be focusing on making sure that our clients have the best set of self-help tools to assist them in their further development of existing website content. So we have comprised a team of specialists who will be spending the first part of the year in determining what is going to work best for us as well as our existing clients and new ones as well.
Since part of our goal is to make using WordPress easier for our clients, we truly want to capitalize on elements and processes that are in place to truly bring this into full-circle.
I think if many freelance agencies would think about this for a moment, that majority of us have tried entirely too hard to re-invent the wheel. The best way to achieve a smooth ride is to take advantage of what others have worked on to make our life easier.
It’s pretty much a matter of trial and error.
Making Room For Additional Growth As We Evaluate Our Goals
The one thing our freelance agency has always been focused on is about creating new growth opportunities. Not just for us as an agency, but for those we bring into our agency as design technicians.
We’ve always taken a great level of pride in providing opportunities for our team members to create a better lifestyle for themselves and their family members. I’m not sure who said it, but a happy employee is a productive employee.
Of course, we have never look at our team members as employees, but rather as a part of our family. Seeing that each of them play such a vital role in the growth of our business, we take care of them in the same way we take care of our clients.
We strive to create the environment that causes a team member to want to come to work, as opposed to dreading going to work! While we took a lot of our approach from what we were able to learn about those who work for Google, they certainly have the right idea and deliver it in an environment that causes their team members to go to the next level.
While we don’t have the half-egg shaped cocoons for our team members to take a chill session in, we are creating an environment that is fairly close.
As you can see in the video below, Google provides an atmosphere that causes an associate to want to take their work to the next level.
Making Time To Evaluate Our Goals
Just as with any other process you are either going to be evaluating, it is crucial to be able to set aside the time for us to evaluate our goals for the upcoming business year. Even though we are working on a new product launch coming up in January, you can be assured that our senior management team is working diligently to put these new item’s into our core business.
While we may experience a few stumbling blocks on the way, once everything has been finalized, you can bet it will be a better experience for everyone. From our new clients, down to our existing ones as well.
One Location Or Multiple Locations
For any freelance agency who has experienced any level of growth, when it comes time to evaluate whether you have one location you operate from or multiple, it certainly presents a fair amount of challenges and things that you must take into consideration.
Since we have experienced an increased level in the growth of our business, it came time to discuss whether or not we wanted to establish a brick and mortar type location. Now if you recall, we talked about how we enjoy being able to deliver a working atmosphere that delivers a family atmosphere. Our team members are not just employees, but rather a part of our family.
While a brick and mortar location sounds wonderful, that in of itself brings forth an entirely new set of challenges and complications along the way. We have decided to build a new home with an add-on addition which included a unique working environment for our team. We truly do believe in feeling like you are working from the comfort of your home.
You may be asking, well if that is the case, why not go to remote styled work-at-home type members. That’s a simple question to answer. First, when it comes to collaboration, when you can bring your team into one place, working out the details on any project is easier. Of course, we all know about various collaboration tools that exist for that.
Yet again, we are about making this process less about tools and more about the face-to-face interaction that in our opinions offers a better experience for everyone working on the project.
While having this type set-up still presents challenges, they are nowhere close to what the element of having a brick and mortar type environment brings.
What goals will you be evaluating for your freelance agency coming up in 2017? Share them with us, we’d love to hear about what is going to be new for your business model in 2017.