Processes and systems are required for a business to run without you. Can we all agree on that?
But how do you get them?
Are they something that can be copied and pasted from one team to another?
How do they work?
More importantly, how do they work for you?
It feels like everyone is looking for the swipe file or a magical checklist that they need to download. There is this sense that there is something that everyone else knows that I'm just missing. So we go out and try 1,200 different project management tools and opt into all of these lists trying to find the magic pixie dust.
But none of this works. None of the pieces fit together.
We're left sitting on the floor trying to complete a puzzle with pieces from 15 different boxes.
It is frustrating, exhausting, and, at the end of the day, impossible.
In the midst of this chaos, agencies miss a core point: You don't need to be good at doing things, you need to be good at solving a costly problem.
If you think you need documented processes and systems in order to escape your chaos and scale, you're wrong.
You first need a process worth repeating.
The mechanics behind how that problem is solved are driven by internalized procedures.
Creating processes and systems is doing the hard work of extracting those internalized procedures and placing them into a system that can operate with their constant supervision.
The answer is to channel the creative experience of your team behind mastering one path that multiple clients can travel.
There is no way to have standardized processes when you have 3 standardized retainers and 37 other clients on various arrangements.
Copying and pasting someone else's processes won't sustain you for the long term.
The "agency in the box" offer isn't going to serve you for the long term.
The core problem that swipe and deploy templates doesn't solve is "What is your proven process for solving their costly pain?"
These offers and promises may help you get to $10,000 a month, but what happens from there?
So what if you land three clients? That is easy. Keeping three clients while bringing on the next 30? That is the hard part!
Find a pain in the market that needs solved and bring the solution to the market.
Serve the audience that feels that pain.
How do you get standardized if you're scattered right now?
There are two steps.
1) You buy yourself time
You need capacity if you're going to solve your agency business model issues. You need to pull yourself out of the every day to do this.
Start by capturing how you deliver services for each client today. Build out the exact deliverable load that each client receives each month. Then map out how that service is delivered.
Remember, this is a band-aid on a bullet hole.
Don't get too proud of yourself when you've built out these agency processes.
2) Find Your Favorite Case Study and Replicate that Success
The key to building an agency that serves you is serving a specific audience that is stuck with a costly pain and mastering their path from struggle to triumph.
This choice is scary for most people.
Remember, this isn't like getting a tattoo.
If your first stab at this doesn't work, just try something else.
The best place to start is to find your favorite case study and replicate that success. Go find another company that looks just like your past / current client and pitch them on the same process.
This is the path of greatest fear at the beginning. But it's also the path of least resistance once you jump in and start swimming. It isn't complicated, but neither was McDonald's original menu: burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Look how that worked out for them.
Just do it!