Three ways to be less expensive and more profitable.
In advertising, the traditional goal is to have more clients and make more money. Then you can have nice things, and drive that car around that makes everyone wonder what you do for a living.
We’re taking a different approach. We aim for fewer clients, so we can do more (and better) work.
Here’s a real world example of what we’d like to model. Take a look at Nokia, who owns a vast percentage of the cell phone market. Then let’s look at Apple, who owns a much smaller percentage of the phone market through the iPhone. Even though Apple owns smaller portion, they make more money. They have less of the market share, but more of the profit.* What gives? There’s gotta be something to it.
That got us thinking- Apple’s smart. What are some more ways we can be more profitable by doing less? We thought of how we could keep our overhead low, and essentially cut down on costs while still turning a larger profit than agencies with huge client lists…
Cut back on meetings.
This has nothing to do with the fact that we’re not huge on meetings. It has everything to do, however, with being smart and thinking of how we can offer the best service to our clients. We charge for our time, and if we’re in a meeting for two hours, that can really add up in costs for our client. Of course it’s also time when the e-mails stack up and phone calls are missed. Chances are, the same points that are covered in a meeting can be illustrated over the phone or via e-mail- often more succinctly. In an e-mail, you’re forced to sit down and write exactly what you want to say. You’re also forced to be more specific this way.
Answer the phones… or not.
Having someone jump on the phone every single time it rings is just the way it is. A real person equals friendliness, and that equals accessibility, and that equals the notion that we’re “easy to work with” in general. In an electronic world, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to encourage clients to use their inbox a little more. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a phone. There are going to be times when no one is available to answer the phone, but what if those times were more often than not? What if the message you heard after three rings was something along the lines of, “Thanks for calling Entermotion. We’re not here to answer the phone at the moment. E-mail is a great way to reach us, so please feel free to shoot a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. However, if leaving a message is your thing, you can do so at the beep.”
Re-evaluate the use of your office.
These days, nearly everything can be done online. So in an effort to not only keep costs down but to keep employees happy- ask them. Do they even want to come into an office? If everyone would be more comfortable and productive working from home, why not go that route? You could pay for them to have office furniture if they didn’t already have it, and that would be cheaper than renting out a large space hardly anyone uses. You’d be providing an environment where your employees could be more productive and turn out better work, but you’re spending less on office space. We’re already at a point where most of us work from home. We could see a point in the near future where we didn’t even bother to have a traditional office with workspaces. Just a conference room for meetings, and some storage.
Everyone knows the deal with spec work, but when designing logos, many agencies and studios still tend to show quite a few before a decision is made by the client. To make the most out of your time and the time of your employees, show less.
Don’t give printed mocks
Once again, this has become standard practice. Getting a printed mock is something hard, something tangible, something the client can see. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a waste of paper, and mocks can easily be edited digitally. Although those words may seem a little scary and unfamiliar to some clients, as a studio you could offer to explain the process to them. Communication will be faster, they’ll be able to use your lesson for things other than projects you’re working on together, and they’ll be happy with the quicker turn-around time.
Efficiency is often underrated, but it’s associated with the everyday cost of things. Be more efficient by getting your point across in an e-mail instead of waiting on hold or spending drive time for a face-to-face. Be more efficient by recognizing the things you need versus the things you want- like a large office. Be more efficient by doing your best work first.