Feast or Famine: Pt. 1

Feast or Famine. All or nothing. Do or die… alright so maybe not that last one, but the typical agency seems to thrive or suffer under this model. They’re either so busy that they almost can’t keep up, or wrapping up all of their projects at once, leaving the team with not a whole lot to do. This process is cyclical in nature, causing busy agencies to not take on or look for as much work as they used to, leading to a slow down, which inevitably leads to client discovery and the accumulation of more projects. This wave-like, high/low business model is one that we’re trying to get out of; check out some of our reasons why.

“...this isn’t the way to add value to us, as an agency, or to our clients–at least not in the long run.”

Desperate Measures?

We’re always on the lookout for ways to improve, and one of those areas is in the business that we bring into Harbr. We always ask ourselves how we can make our processes so abundantly clear that it’s obvious right off the bat whether or not we will mesh with a potential client. When the famine side of this model kicks in, there’s that possibility that you’ll take on clients that maybe don’t align with your processes, but you take the work anyway because you need the business. Taking any work is one of the ways to become ensnared in this feast or famine cycle and is a good way to take on projects that don’t fulfill the team as a whole. Being particular about what clients you take can be tough when you need work, which is what makes getting out of this cycle hard.

Condensed Work

Taking any work leads to pushing those projects out the door quickly to get on to the next one. We’ve found that when taking work because we need the business, there’s not a whole lot of longevity with those projects; they tend to be a one and done kind of thing. This is especially true for us as we focus primarily on building custom websites: hand off the site and move on to the next. We’ve started to combat this, as we see that this isn’t the way to add value to us, as an agency, or to our clients–at least not in the long run. When scrambling to take on work, the short term benefits are often at the forefront. Build a beautiful site (or brand or product, whatever you do), get it out the door, and move on to the next project. Working this way doesn’t allow for a whole lot of long term investment from either party, which is yet another reason why we’re trying to push past it.

Building the Right Community

We’re huge advocates for building community–holding events, taking on interns, and investing time and resources into people rather than things. Helping others is how you help yourself and your brand, and we’ll continue to preach this, however, there is a difference between helping to build any community, and helping to build the community that fits your brand. When you’re in famine mode, it’s easy to focus on landing as many clients as possible instead of landing the right clients, the ones that fit your process and your specific culture or brand. So yes, help out in any way that you can, but also be cognizant of the people you work with and how they affect the overall vision for your community and your business.

Pt. 2

So, we’ve talked a bit about why we’re not huge fans of this business model–how taking any work can potentially lead to not so awesome things, but there will be a follow-up to this post next week on how we’re combatting this cycle, so be sure to check back. As always thanks for reading and keeping up with us. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedinDribbble, and now Behance for some of our best practices, free wallpapers, resources and spec work.