Separating good from excellent.

Out the mouth of Chase’s Chief Projects Officer: Kyle Saffy

Considering the vast expanse of the business and advertising landscape, it is always a challenge to choose a topic.  Let’s look at the factors that separate the good from the excellent and learnings from my own experience.

The three key factors that need to be considered are processes, structure and discipline.

After many consultations and numerous Chase implementations over the past 10 years, it was evident that two of the underlying reasons why our clients were looking for a system, was to improve their processes and redefine their organisational structures.

Clients often know that something is wrong with their operations but they can’t always put their finger on the problem. Other times it’s about the business owner and management wanting to fulfill their dreams of having a global presence, but not having the right tools to get there.

It is surprising how many agencies can effectively use excel and email to fulfill their quoting, billing and communication requirements. However, there is always a limit and risk to the ‘old way’ of doing things.

There is always a risk associated with quoting in excel. For example, if a formula is omitted from a quote or heaven forbid, you expose your margin to a client, it could be critical.

Although advertising agencies differ considerably from other businesses, their underlying business processes are similar. When there’s a request from a client to produce a piece of work, it needs to be correctly estimated and margin needs to be added in order to make a profit. Production, billing and payment all need to happen on time.

I’m oversimplifying the process, but the point I am trying to make is that business and its processes can and should be as simple and logical as possible. The only way to achieve this is through fully integrated, bespoke systems that are designed and developed by industry professionals.

Another important element is structure and ensuring the right controls are in place. Without the right advice and processes in place and not having structure, is like trying to navigate your way through a minefield blindfolded.

Often, all that is required is for businesses to take a step back, re-evaluate the situation and enlist the help of industry professionals to get sound advice on best practices.

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur. This is one of my favourite quotes and it’s so true. Ensuring the right fit between the person and the role is critical, make sure your staff are doing what they are good at. It is dangerous having an unskilled, inexperienced employee dealing with key accounts for the sake of saving on salaries for example.

Being disciplined by sticking to the daily, weekly and monthly routines is what makes good agencies great. Do the basics well and do them often is the key. Have status meetings to keep everyone updated on current projects and conduct WIP meetings to ensure you are on top of your billings and payments.

The days of manually preparing Word or Excel reports that can be ‘lost’ or ‘didn’t save’ should be a thing of the past. There are far more important tasks that employees should be spending their time on like building their sales pipeline, managing cash flow and last but not least, having the time to sit back and marvel at what they have managed to achieve and have fun while doing it.