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Online Approval Software Solves the Agency Dilemma

February 12, 2017 | Productivity

Before we get started, there’s a concept we need to define: scalability. There is a difference between a business that can grow and a business that can scale. A business can grow without being scalable, but eventually that growth will plateau. A business that can scale has the ability to grow exponentially without the risk of plateauing, but there are some key issues preventing scalability that every agency faces.

These problems – processes that haven’t been streamlined, the inability to replicate yourself and a lack of manpower – all have a common solution. Automation can take the weight off your shoulders, so to speak, and an online approval software could be the tool that makes this happen. Before I explain the solution, let’s first nail down the problems resulting in your agency’s inability to scale.

Lack of Manpower (and Womanpower)

A growing agency demands a workforce that can meet the growing demand, its simple economics. However, when the costs of generating manpower begin to outweigh the revenue from this demand, your business can’t scale. The answer is not necessarily to hire more employees. You can be more efficient about how you’re using the manpower you already have. The more time your team is spending navigating twenty different versions of a proof, which revisions have been approved, and whose inaction is holding up the workflow is time wasted.

Be smarter about how you utilize your manpower. Online approval software can cut down on the amount of time and energy required for each project by introducing automation into your processes. When the client can easily review a proof and point out the edits they want, it will cut down on the number of versions necessary for the completion of each project. When the software automatically alerts the next person in the workflow to take action on a proof, no longer will time be wasted tracking people down or waiting for someone to check their email. Making an online approval software your newest team member makes your entire team more efficient and able to put out enough manpower to meet the growing demand.

When your agency lacks the manpower to get the job done, it can also lead to the next problem.

Processes that have not been Streamlined

As with any business, logistics are very important to a digital agency’s ability to scale. Every day, an agency can have dozens of processes that must be completed, and for a business to scale these processes must be adapted to an expanding workload. When processes aren’t streamlined, costs increase, customers and employees become frustrated, resources and time are wasted and a bottleneck affect can cause deadlines to be missed. This will be about the same time your growth will start to plateau.

An online approval software can manage these processes for you. Client involvement for example, presents a unique challenge. They have different proposals, different levels of expertise and different assumptions about how involved they should be in the process. Some clients have difficulty navigating an email chain while others want a point by point breakdown of everything you’ve done. An online approval software takes the conversation out of an email chain, keeps all relevant parties up to date on the project and allows the client as well as anybody else to suggest fixes and make observations.

When processes aren’t streamlined, especially those related to fulfillment of a client’s needs, it leads to your next problem.

Inability to Replicate Yourself

As your digital agency grows, you’re suddenly finding that the tasks you and your team have always undertaken are now mounting up. On the one hand, this is what you want. Unless you’re a Kardashian, being successful means being busier and busier. On the other hand, managing your time and resources has become a major issue for you. Remember the bottleneck I mentioned? It’s contributing factor to your inability to replicate your previous successes. At some point, your agency’s growth reaches its full capacity under the current workflow and processes you’ve set up, and unless you introduce automation to some of the tasks you’ve been manually undertaking, you simply won’t have the manpower needed to maintain the level of productivity you want to be working at, and your growth will slow as a result.

This is where online approval software can help you. By automating processes that you’ve been manually managing all this time, utilizing this new technology can decrease error, time spent on each task, and compliance costs for your team.

Come Ashore

All of these issues are coexisting. If you’re having trouble with one, you’re also having trouble with the others, but they all have a solution in common, as well. Simply by introducing automation into your workflow and approval procedures, your business will have the freedom to scale, and an online approval software like Ashore can help your agency do just that.

Ashore brings everybody on the team, including the client, into one place where they can review the proof, suggest edits for it, and approve it in a workflow order already decided upon. Even better is that it doesn’t automate your workflow by completely upending it, because we know nobody likes change. Ashore can integrate with the project management platform you’re already using such as Basecamp, Google Drive or Dropbox. If you want to allow your agency to become more efficient – to scale rather than just grow – make Ashore the most valuable new member of your team.

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