As you’re approaching the breaking point, start doing some analysis of what’s working and what’s not, what is feeling the strain of the growth…

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- Hey everybody! Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week, coming to you from Chicago, again, with the beautiful lake behind me. And in last week's video, I talked about the need for systems and process, and that one of the reasons why an agency can't scale and grow is because there's too much tribal knowledge and there's too much Babette does it her way, Bob does it his way, Drew does it his way, and there's not an agency way of doing things. And so what I promised you was that I would do another video that I would show you at what stages of an agency's evolution, systems and processes need to be reinvented. So that's what I want to do this week. So when you're an agency of a handful of people to maybe six or eight people, you have some rudimentary systems, but the reality is you're doing almost all of the work very collaboratively, everyone's working on the same stuff. And so even though everyone has their own sort of system in their head of how they do it, because you're doing it together, it's almost an ad hoc agency system that all of you understand through tribal knowledge. But the minute you get past eight people or so, so from 8 to 15 people, now you have too many people. Everyone is working on different projects. Not everyone is hunkered around the same table, working on the same things all of the time. And so now you need systems and processes because otherwise, Babette is going to do it her way, and Bob is going to do it his way, and Drew is going to do it his way. Now you need to have documented, written down, defined agency processes and systems. And those will hold you until you're about 25 people, and then everything you've built is broken. Now, it can't sustain the weight of the volume of work you're doing, the kind of work you're doing, the specialization within the team, the more fragmented the team is, the less everyone knows what's going on and all the other stuff that they don't touch. So now you need new and more sophisticated systems, processes and in some cases, tools. So this is a time when a lot of agencies might move from Basecamp to Asana or Teamwork, or Workamajig, something like that. Whatever you build at 25 to 30, that'll hold you until you're about 45 or 50 people, and then again, because now you've just exasperated the growth and the problems, the complexity, the sophistication, all of that, now you've got to rebuild your systems and process again. What you build at 45 or 50 people, that'll hold you to about 100 people, and then you've got to do it all over again. So I want you to keep those sort of breaking points in mind, because what will help you is, as you are approaching the breaking points, don't wait until everything is broken. As you're approaching the breaking point, start doing some analysis of what's working and what's not, what is feeling the strain of the growth, the different kinds of clients you have, the different kinds of work you may be doing now that you're a larger size, and identify in advance the systems and processes that you need to retool before they break on you, okay? So remember that 0 to 6 or 8, 8 to 12 to 15, 12 to 15 to about 25 or 30, 25 or 30 to 45 or 50, and then again at 100. So watch for those breakpoints, be prepared and be proactive. All right? I'll talk to you next week.

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