Some entrepreneurs live and die by the principle that bigger is always better. The idea is that the bigger a company gets, the more successful it inevitably is.
But when you're managing a creative agency, expanding too much can not only decrease the quality of what you're producing, but hurt your bottom line. In fact, the smallest creative teams often turn out to be more efficient, effective, and manageable.
Here's what happens in creative workplaces built around small teams.
At Killer Infographics, we've focused on keeping the company small for a reason. A single in-house team works together in the same office because this enables us to reach better solutions faster.
When a client comes to us seeking to deliver a particular message or to better harness the power of a popular platform, it's our job to offer creative solutions. That doesn't just mean looping in a designer, or a copywriter, or a project manager -; it means getting everyone in the same room to throw their expertise into the ring.
A content editor needs to optimize his or her script for the motion graphic or interactive web page that it will eventually become. A designer needs to understand the message and the underlying goal of the piece before knowing how best to visualize it. And each challenge has its own solution; there's no cookie-cutter answer in the world of the creative agency. That's why two-hundred employees scattered across the globe can't accomplish as much as five creatives in a room together.
Smaller teams working together in a single location get to know each other as people, not voices on the other end of a phone. This encourages mutual respect and all that comes with it: fewer unreasonable demands on coworkers' time and energy, and more chances to express gratitude for each other's hard work.
There's less turnover in teams whose members feel respected. This same level of respect, because creates a happier and more emotionally healthy workplace, extends to how clients are treated as well. In the end, you'll spend more time creating and less time on HR.
Collaboration at Its Best
When product development experts collaborate, customer-driven revenue increases 160 percent. Profits increase, too. Meanwhile, when salespeople collaborate, the likelihood that you'll lose customers if one leaves drops dramatically.
Skillful collaboration, then, saves you both time and money. You may feel you can earn more revenue with a bigger team, but with the added expense and logistics of managing multiple offices in multiple time zones or even countries, it's often more cost-efficient to have just one well-oiled group.
Next-level Customer Service
Creative agencies aren't content factories. We're essentially a service industry. It's our job to get to know our clients, understand their goals, and make informed recommendations -; all of this from the earliest stages of a project.
Massive creative teams tend to lose sight of this, and instead start focusing on producing as much as possible, as quickly as possible. They have so many clients that losing a handful doesn't do much to their bottom line. That's when they stop being their clients' trusted advisors, collaborators, and teammates. Personalized service gets left behind. The end product, instead, becomes one-size-fits-all.
A Stellar Reputation
Because larger agencies are often producing work on a massive scale, the pressure to cut corners can sometimes mount. An illustration gets repurposed for a different client; content follows a rote formula; the same content packages are recommended for everybody regardless of their needs.
There are too many employees and too many projects for anyone to notice this is happening. And all of this corner-cutting could actually cost you more in the end, when your company's reputation falters and clients opt instead for agencies that have the time to craft a truly custom campaign for them.
Room for Innovation
As the demand for visual content explodes, it's essential that creative teams stay on the cutting edge of their craft. For instance, augmented reality has emerged as an entirely new content format for brands in just a few years' time, and creative agencies that don't offer solutions in this realm may soon find themselves behind the times.
Small creative teams are made up of individuals, each with their own strengths and interests. More than any corporate initiative, individuals have the power to monitor the zeitgeist and bring it to bear on business and product development. Small teams can nurture, then harness, the skills and knowledge of each member in a way that allows them to more quickly and effectively implement new product and service offerings. In a word, they're more agile. What's more, their employees feel heard and valued.
Whether you're trying to build one or not, every company is a community. In my experience, small companies make for the best communities of all. They're not just more productive -; they can often come to feel like family. And like family, few things are more rewarding.