How to Scale Your Agency
Have you tried to scale your agency many times in the past without success?
Have you failed to do so even when spending long sleepless nights and expenses piling up?
Have you been held back by staff issues and unsupportive technologies in running “business as usual”?
Have you lost projects because you were too focused on managing teams?
Scaling an agency doesn’t have to be risky, scary, or impossible. An agency has plenty of time to grow in the main line of business if someone else handles the “side jobs” and solves problems as they arise.
How about using immensely flexible, elastic, on-demand expert skills to ensure you can run a high-performing remote workforce without distracting you from your main business goals and without increasing the complexity of managing virtual teams?
Instead of relying on a handful of people from a limited local talent pool or a finite number of outsourced experts with particular skills and losing clients, you can run a digital agency deploying Virtual Teams-as-a-Service (VTaaS).
Scaling an Agency with Flash Teams
“In the race to help partners grow, we’ve often encountered the same problem. Our teams got overburdened. Projects became congested, creating bottlenecks that were draining out the growth potential. Due to the lack of appropriate experts, we had to compromise time. But working longer was not necessarily the same as working better. To respond to demands that were growing more specific, we had to become more transparent and flexible ourselves. We needed to fast-track the hiring process. We wanted to own the right tools to eliminate the architectural or structural problems that were interfering with scaling the agency. “
The Two Most Important Agency Scaling Secrets
One of the key agency scaling secrets is having the right people, in just the right amount and at the right time. But people are only a part of the problem. The second part is functional technology or having the right tools to provide support to an established expert team.
“When we integrated these two elements, people and technology in flash teams, instead of two weeks after the project deadline, we’ve managed to complete projects two weeks ahead. That’s a huge difference in terms of savings”, points out Manuel.
So, what do we do to help owners scale agencies? Here are the crucial steps:
- Streamline the hiring process. We have an in-house HR team that goes beyond the conventional outsourced methods to check the quality of the selected experts.
- Manage the workflow with integrated automation tools and individualized team architecture. Each team consists of the best person for the job, the role, and the project. Each person has access to adequate work automation tools.
- Monitor performance. We track project and people performance by implementing project-relevant and expert-relevant KPIs, acting instantly upon metrics by either changing the metric or replacing the expert.
- Solve problems immediately. Real-time solutions keep problems from escalating to higher management and stalling project execution.
- Work transparently and flexibly. Each team member has a defined role, tasks, goals, and salary. We don’t allow role pollution. Clear role definition removes confusing obstacles created by conventional outsourcing where members don’t get to know the team in detail.
- Transform stereotyped leadership structures. Flash teams are project-based. Instead of tying the person with an organizational role, we use the flash methodology that works for the purpose of the project without worrying too much about organizational complexities.
- Improve communication. We create responsive teams. Virtual work pushes independent workers to leave the deep-digging of solo work and focus on communicating with their team.
- Win new business. We help you to communicate the immense flexibility you get with Flash Teams as a USP. Selling something unique will create additional value for your business, resulting in much higher conversion rates.
We create virtual talent pools of on-demand experts for which we provide managed support and customer success tools. A Squad Manager takes over a part of the client workload, ensuring that the agency is fully supported by the Squad – an internal team which also includes a Technical Consultant and a Customer Success Manager specialized for handling customer problems as they arise.
How does this process look in practice?
Benefits of the Flash Team Architecture
People are an important part of the solution to scaling an agency without useless trade-offs.
Localized agencies or long-term virtual teams are based on shared interests and nurturing team relationships. They must promote an agreeable organizational culture and joint financial goals. Even in conventional crowdsourcing, freelancing experts often work following the organization’s rules and don’t have absolute freedom of choice.
As a general rule, though, freelancers get to choose what and whom with they work, advancing their personal interests. And supporting organizational rules, structures, and relationships inevitably adds an extra line to the budget.
In flash teams, we hire people, not organizations. Flash teams are virtual teams-as-a-service. Instead of paying money to support organizational structures, you remove that expenditure out of the equation and get just the right volume of succinct expertise.
We leverage both quantity and quality to maximize your growth while minimizing structural and relationship problems.
Quality Assurance and Assumption Checking
Organizations place a lot of value in trust, often failing to deploy quality assurance processes. When people trust each other without any reservations, they don’t communicate from a critical perspective. Not assuming trust is good for a project, even if it’s not the best option for organizations, or even for smaller agencies and teams that are used to working together.
In flash teams, people don’t work alone such as most freelancers do. There is always at least another person to review the job done and assure quality. To scale your agency without settling for lower project quality, you can decide to include more than one – two, three, or four persons.
For example, when an expert builds an architectural plan and suggests an estimate about how much it will cost, by bringing in more persons to question and critically examine the estimate, we come up to a more realistic figure.
Estimates don’t always depend on the expert seniority level. As Manuel says, “In flash teams, we don’t give maximum trust to the most senior person because that person may not be the best expert for a job. Often, new team members provide fresh insights into newer technologies. So we ask the novices, too. And we repeat the process, over and over again, several times, until we get to a real picture of the estimate. We don’t base estimates on assumptions.”
Think of the AWS toolset of components for building complex infrastructure platforms.
On-demand experts are such “components”, with an important difference. In contrast to making software simple, flesh teams make your workforce simple. They help with hiring people and growing digital agency sales with the pace that suits you.
With virtual teams-as-a-service, scaling an agency is not so challenging as it used to be.
To find out more about various flash team architectures, read about the virtual team hierarchy that could be the best for your digital agency.