As your digital agency grows you will reach a point where, as a founder, you need to transition from an operational role to a strategic one. You will need to make important decisions that will shape your agency’s direction and growth, rather than doing the day-to-day work.
For many agency founders, this is unfamiliar territory, because this transition requires a shift in mindset and skillset. So today I’m looking at how you can improve your digital agency’s strategic decision making.
1) Listen to Others
If you’re a sole founder, it can be difficult to get validation for your ideas. Getting input from others will be invaluable for sanity-checking your thoughts, whether that’s something as simple as questioning the timing (do you really want to launch project X at that point, right before a national holiday?) or pointing out details you’ve overlooked or essential steps you’ve missed out.
To improve your strategic decision making, it’s vital to run your ideas past someone else, to get an objective view of your plans. For many, that might be a co-founder. If you’re a sole founder, you might want to consider finding a mentor or coach that specialises in agency growth to discuss your plans with.
Additionally, when making big decisions that will affect the day-to-day running of your agency, it’s worth talking to your team members, too. As a founder, stepping away from the daily workload in your agency means it can be difficult to see exactly how your decisions will affect the work your agency does, and the morale of your team.
2) Use Data to Inform Your Decisions
One of the most important things you can do to improve your strategic decision making is to use data to inform your decisions. It’s said that “you can’t improve what you can’t measure”, and using data and metrics as the basis for your decision making will mean you make choices based on trends and reasoning, rather than your gut feeling.
To make smart strategic decisions, you need an overview of your agency’s performance, as well as insight into the minute details of its day-to-day performance. For agencies about to reach their “Tipping Point”, A resource management tool like Scale will help you get the high-level overview you’ll need to make important, data-driven decisions.
3) Keep Learning
One of the biggest reasons agency founders make poor strategic decisions is that they think they know enough to make the best decision. However, your job, your agency, your industry and the technology you use everyday changes at an incredible pace, so what you learned a year ago may not be applicable now.
The best founders keep on learning and educating themselves, and if you keep on learning you will be better informed to make the best strategic decisions for your agency.
4) Dedicate Time to Strategy Work
One of the biggest changes in the transition from an operational to a strategic role in your agency is how you will spend your time. If you’re used to doing work all the time, it can feel uncomfortable spending time thinking about your agency – without necessarily producing any immediately tangible work.
However, as an agency founder it’s vital that you make time for this type of strategic consideration: assessing the performance of your agency and considering the alternatives to the decision you’re planning to make. This is where it’s essential to have the support of a team you trust: you can delegate the work that needs doing, which will allow you to spend more time in a strategic role.