The future is littered with uncertainty. A collection of good and bad outcomes resulting from our direct and indirect actions, yet to pass. All we can do is plan ahead and steer towards brighter horizons, hoping for the best outcome possible.
We don’t always get our predictions right. We can end up making poor decisions, which lead to some form of failure. Until some SCIFI nerd dreams up the time machine, planning will always be our best option. Even if planning is just a guess, albeit an intelligent one, it's all we have.
Why is planning useful?
As switched on business owners we use planning to forecast annual profits, predict market shifts and so forth. Planning gives us a sense of control in an otherwise cloudy or unpredictable situation. It helps us cope with possible failure and stay level-headed when success is obtained.
Failure can be hard to swallow, but if we foresee it, and plan accordingly, we won’t feel so bad. In fact, these pre-planned failures can make us stronger. Some could even be converted into micro-successes (we'll know what not to do next time).
Are you forgetting the team?
Business owners put a lot of time and effort into financial planning and setting goals for the upcoming year ahead. It's around this time of year (November) that we start talking about our plans for the future in our groups. This is great and all, but financial planning isn't the only outcome we should be pro-active about in our digital agencies.
Have you considered how the following affect your ability to achieve the future success you desire, or avoid some form of failure?
- Office space
These factors influence how many staff members we need and the number we can physically take on, assuming you hire locally vs a remote team. Regardless of local vs remote hires, staff are the very thing we require in order to grow and scale up our operation. If we aren't putting enough time into planning our staff, we can't possibly react quickly enough to new demand. This will have a real impact on our ability to scale up.
How does a team impact our future success?
As previously mentioned the very possibility of achieving more in our digital agencies is down to the people we have. This can be either hired employees or outsource teams.
When we get too heavily involved in the technical work inside of our business, we lack the time to work outside of it. This outside time enables us to grasp opportunities, convert new business and feed our agencies growth. This is made all the more possible, and achievable for that matter, when others take lead on doing the technical work that can consume us. When we separate ourselves from our work we are better placed to achieve more.
Outsourcing can save the day
I didn't want to go preaching about outsourcing but this article wouldn't feel complete without covering a few reasons why outsourcing should be in your plan.
Reason 1 — Flexibility
An external team will be able to jump in to help you with overflow work, or cover holidays and staff sickness with minimal instruction and prep-time (depending on the complexity of the work of course).
I was recently able to help a good friend of mine by stepping in to cover one of their developers, who had to down tools and attend to an urgent family matter. This came at a time when my friends digital agency had taken on a new client and were required to start straight away. We stepped in and were able to keep to the deadline and the end client was delighted.
Reason 2 — Timezones
Now I know time zones can be a PITA when you want to speak to someone on the other side of the world, but stick with me. They have their benefits too.
One such benefit to timezone differences is the early start or overnight progress you can achieve with outsourcing teams from different parts of the world. Communication can be a nuisance but there are true gains to be made if you utilise and instruct these teams with enough notice.
Reason 3 — Leveling up
No, not a new Skyrim level. I'm referring to the increase in ability and skill that can be obtained by working with external teams. Teams that have a greater ability and understanding of the services we provide. Adding an experienced element to your team can deliver exceptional quality and greatly improve your agency — and help you increase your fees.
Reason 4 — Space and equipment
If you want your local team to be in one space you'll need to rent an office. Depending on your location this can be a costly expense, especially if you need room for new hires.
As well as physical space you also need to equip your staff with a full-featured workstation, which includes…
- Desktop computer
- WC (toilet)
These costs can quickly escalate and get out of hand if not planned for. In comparison, these expenses go away with an outsourced team. You don't pay for any physical space or equipment. You literally can save thousands of pounds/dollars each month. That's gotta be a real benefit for newly expanding agencies.
Hopefully we have convinced you to see the value in planning for more than just mere profits. Financial goals are important but so are the very way in which we achieve these goals. The people who make up our teams are more important than we give them credit for and forgetting to think ahead about changes to your staff can greatly impact your scalability, and add a real headache on your shoulders.
Be sure to consider how your new staff or outsource team can help you to achieve the goals you are likely planning right now. We all need to be mindful so that we can achieve our goals free of pain and burnout.