There comes a time at most small to medium sized marketing and creative agencies where ad-hoc, Excel or paper management of projects and work becomes unmanageable.
Generally, the growth of a successful agency is driven by great creative work and/or strategic thinking, but long-term viability and continued success is achieved by developing an efficient and repeatable process, understanding the allocation of company resources, and effective project planning.
Remember, your agency can produce the best work in the world, but if you can’t produce it for less than what you bill out at (i.e. for a profit) … you won’t be in business for long.
Thankfully, with the proliferation of software as a service (SaaS) project management solutions, ensuring the long-term success of your marketing company no longer requires a significant capital investment. You can simply find a tool online and begin using it for a fairly low monthly fee.
The question then becomes “what tool is the best fit for my organization?”
As a creative or marketing firm, you need to manage project milestones and deliverables as well track time and expenses in order to truly evaluate the profitability of your work. This is the case regardless of whether you are able to directly invoice time, charge a fixed fee on a per project basis and/or have retainer clients.
The key is to look for a project management solution that will encompass the majority of your workflow, such as:
- Dealing with prospects and clients
- Creative briefs
- Estimates and proposals
- Project and task management
- Time and expense tracking
- Client login
It might be easiest to try and look for a solution that seems to allow you to continue doing exactly what you are doing, but you also want to look for a company that you believe fits with your company.
A project and workflow management tool will become much more than just a piece of software, so you’ll want to work with a partner that will add value and work with you to ensure that you’re working better. Look for a partner that understands the business side of the creative industry.
This article was contributed by former Function Point employee, Tate Lillies.