Scope Creep Is Killing Your Bottom Line: Here’s How to Prevent It

Picture this all-too-common scenario: You're 12 revisions into a client project, when you promised only four. You've now spent almost triple the time you intended on the project, which gives you less time (and energy) to devote to other clients. It's a frustrating situation, for sure, but the damage goes beyond that -- it's also hurting your bottom line. Scope creep is the ever-lurking monster under the bed for marketing agencies. A recent Deltek study on agency workflows, for instance, found that nearly 40 percent of agencies exceed their budgets because of scope creep. It whittles away at your profitability, and when you're constantly handing out a dozen or more revisions, it also sets unrealistic expectations for your clients. If left unchecked, it can mean less time for your agency to grow its business. Of course, there's a fine line between providing good service to your clients -- which sometimes does require going above and beyond -- and flat-out giving away your services for free. I'm not suggesting you nickel-and-dime clients to death, but it is essential to set strict limitations on what you will (and won't) do and stick to them. Otherwise, your profits will continue to seep out of the hole you've failed to block up at the bottom of your boat. Scope Creep Starts with Vague Proposal Documents It's easy to blame clients for scope creep, but truthfully the blame sits right at your feet. At the end of the day, it's your responsibility to serve as the gatekeeper of your agency's services. Scope creep is entirely yours -- not your client's -- to control. Vague proposal documents are the number one culprit when it comes to this problem.They lead to over-servicing your [...]