Owning your own Joomla web design agency can be a great deal of work. You're typically wearing multiple hats and being pulled in every which direction. It's pretty easy to get sucked into work and lose focus on how to build your business itself.
In this blog I offer you 8 great tips to keep in mind and to keep focused on as you're growing your own Joomla web design agency.
1. Develop and Document a Processes
There's a likelihood that each day you are doing tasks that you've done in the past. Every Joomla website has a general (and specific) set of steps that you need to go through to build it. This tip is to document your entire process starting with the high level general process workflows and then digging into the more specific.
By documenting your process for each task, both on a global and specific scale, this will help you save a great deal of time both for yourself because you have a clear path of tasks, but also for when hiring/training new employees.
Additionally it will also allow you to very easily iterate the process from mistakes, ideas and feedback each time you run through it. This will result in a better end product over time as you continually improve each process.
Then take that process and add it into your project management system as a template. Then the next time that you have to perform that task, you can simply clone the project and have a crystal clear map for how to complete each step of the project.
2. Put More Focus on Marketing
The vast majority of the Joomla community is comprised of developers and integrators with web backgrounds. Because of this, it's common to get very focused on the design and development of the products you're creating and key business functions like Marketing can suffer.
The problem is marketing is the main driver of new business and growth. Without marketing, your always scrambling for the next sale or for better clients, but with proper marketing they will come to you and seek you out.
I know this can be hard for small agencies where you wear multiple hats, however, it's critical that you block off time to not only implement your marketing efforts but also continuously educate yourself.
3. Partner with Others
There is no way you can be an expert in everything. That's Life. So when it comes to your agency, it's important to have really amazing talent where you can. However, if there is a specific area that you're not a rockstar at (custom dev, design, marketing, usability, etc), it's important that you find great partners who compliment your offerings and subcontract them to help with projects.
Although subcontracting will cut into your profit margins a bit, you will end up with a much better product in much quicker time. This means you will have much happier clients that will stick with you and end up spending more over time.
4. Find a Niche
For an agency owner, it can be a bit scary to commit to niching into a particular industry. You may feel that you're cutting your business opportunities way down and will struggle, however, in the long run this couldn't be further from the case.
Niching allows you to very easily position yourself as an expert in that industry. This makes you much more desirable for those within that industry looking for your services. It can be a big competitive advantage to say that you specialize in the exact industry someone is in.
Additionally, you will gain industry knowledge, all the "in's and out's", which will allow you to create a much higher quality product. You'll have a clear idea of the messaging, images and tactics that work and don't work in their industry.
I would suggest starting this niche transition gradually and possibly focusing in on three different verticals to work in. You can also still accept work from any industry in the beginning just to keep cash flow and project queues full.
5. Build in Recurring Revenue
Project work is nice, however, this can typically leave you continuously searching for your next sale or project. In addition to the project work, find some type of recurring revenue source that you can continuously count on from month to month.
This could come in the form of hosting and maintenance packages, educational trainings, marketing services or update packages. Anything that you can sell that has a lot of value to your clients and requires a 1-year contract with recurring monthly payments.
6. Invest in Education
In our world of constant changing technology, user behaviors and ever-expanding knowledge it's extremely important to invest in educating your team. This can come in the form of investing in trainings, certifications, conferences, etc. but can also be as simple as budgeting time each day or week dedicated to learning from all the free online resources out there.
7. Block off Time for Planning and Reflection
Make it a priority to block off time before each project to plan out the entire project's logistics, timing and rally everyone who's involved. The more you can have ready and planned, the smoother the overall project will run and the less likely you are to waste time in the middle of the project.
It's equally important to block off time after each project to review how the project went, the problems and successes you had and what you would do to improve for next time. Then you can document all of this in your processes so the next project turns out even better.
8. Build a Culture
One of the most important pieces to any business is it's culture and core values. This shapes the way you do business, how you hire and what others think of you. A good company culture will promote those involved to be more productive, do better work, gain the top talent and live happier lives.
The problem is so many businesses completely neglect their culture or have one and don't live by it. This can lead to toxic environments that lack creativity, productivity and have high turnover.
Make the long term investment on building a really strong company culture and use it as a lens on how you do business and interact with people. Determine goals and metrics that you can tie back into your culture and put just as much emphasis on those as your financial and sales goals.
Summing it all up
Building a thriving Joomla agency takes a great deal of time, effort and trial and error. Some of the most valuable lessons come from failure.
But you have to learn from those experiences and improve your processes and yourself.
If you have any questions about these tips or have some more of your own, please comment below and let's start a discussion.