HOW TO MANAGE PROJECTS FOR YOUR WEB DESIGN AGENCY
Know more how to manage projects to your agency using this guide
Acquire more clients for your agency
As a web design agency, one thought usually comes to mind. Is there any need for web design project management software? It can surprise you that web design agencies have a lot to do in ensuring that the website attains a high rank on the SERP. You have citation websites like TribeLocal playing a great role in helping you achieve your objective.
Know what not to do
Normally when you talk about managing any projects, we talk about the things you have to do. One should have knowledge about the things one should not do. That is more important. We shall look at this angle while compiling the ways how to manage your web design agency. This is because the moment you start making mistakes you start to lose money and name. We list out at least a dozen mistakes that every web design agency should always avoid.
It is time to remember the great words of Herbert Fensterheim, “Do not say Yes when you want to say No”. This is the problem many businesses face. They come under a compulsion to say Yes when they very well know that it would not be possible to do the job. It is better to develop the habit to be forthright. Let us now look at some mistakes every web design agency should avoid while managing projects.
1. Not executing a contract before starting the assignment
Normally, one should always enter into a contract before accepting any assignment. There used to be a time when contracts were not existent. The times have changed. It is for the safety of both parties that there exists a contract between them. Of course, trust forms a major aspect of any business transaction. But, not entering into a contract can prove detrimental for your agency. You might end up doing things which you would normally not have done otherwise.
Enter into a well-defined contract with the client before commencing your assignment. Have your contract embedded inside your proposal will help you sort things out easily. You will end up eliminating a lot of confusion that would arise otherwise.
2. Have you heard of scope creep?
These dialogues are very common between the client and the agency.
Client: Can you please do ‘so and so’ changes to my home pages?
Agency: Yes, Why not? (Note that this is outside the scope of the contract) I shall do it right away.
Client: Great, how much will it cost?
Agency: No problem, we will do it for you free. (Again, you make the mistake of saying Yes when you should have said No)
Mind you, this is not a casual conversation. It is a tactic employed by many businesses to get something done for free. The end result is that you do something additional at the cost of your normal work. This is what is known as scope creep.
Include a clause in your agreement that things done outside the scope of the contract should entail paying a fee. Nothing comes free in the world. When you perform a service, it is in the fitness of things that you should get the necessary remuneration.
3. Billing at the end
Many agencies make the mistake of producing the invoice at the end of the project. It looks ethical, but it is certainly not practical. Many a time, the clients have delayed making the payment for flimsy reasons. You end up losing a lot in the bargain.
Remember, your agency has to pay the salaries of the employees on time. Can you say that you will pay whenever the clients pay you? No, you cannot. It causes a financial strain when you do not receive your payment on time. It affects your cash flow a great deal. You would have to pursue the client who will always find out ways of avoiding you.
Not all clients belong to this category, but why should you take the chance?
Have a clear-cut payment schedule incorporated in your contract. It can be 20% upfront payment with regular payment on completion of agreed milestones. This breaking up of the contract can help improve the morale of your agency as they get a fixed sum at regular intervals.
4. Undercharging for the assignment
We agree that it can become difficult to arrive at the right price for the job. Invariably, it can go wrong in the initial stages. But, you should get the feel of the job after completing a couple of contracts. This should enable you to charge the right amounts. Undercharging is one thing you should never do. You end up performing a less than satisfactory job because you start to compromise on the quality of tools.
Any client will never appreciate if you increase your rates mid-way through the contract. It affects your image in the market because you end up with a bad reputation.
Know your worth. Once you are through with the first couple of contracts, you should know how much you should charge for the entire assignment. Undercharging for your assignment is a way of demeaning your efforts. Clients usually have an idea about how much the project costs. If you undercharge, naturally they laugh all the way to the bank.
5. Not being able to assert your authority, especially in the designing part
In case there are many stakeholders involved in the project, there are chances that people not connected with the designing work or those not having any idea about designing arguing about the colors for their website. In fact, you should be able to assert your authority stating that designing is your domain. When you have other people having a say in the design entails that you will not be able to give your best. Of course, the clients are the ones that pay for the work, but you should be able to assert your freedom.
You should point out in very clear terms that you are the boss in your area of expertise. You should be having you say in matters concerning designing. This is where you should learn to say NO without offending anyone .It is definitely a trait you should imbibe.
6. Not raising invoices properly and on time
Many website design agencies do this mistake of not raising the invoices on time. This shows your unprofessionalism. Raising invoices on time is the right thing to do. The problem you have when you do haphazard invoicing is that you start getting late payments. That affects your fund flow position. You also have to do a lot of follow-up. Thus, you spend more time chasing your payments rather than concentrating on the work on hand.
You should plan monthly meetings with your clients where you submit your monthly reports. Make it a point to raise the invoices on time so that you are able to collect the payment during the meeting.
7. Ignoring the tax aspect
Many design agencies make the mistake of ignoring the tax factor. They do it as an afterthought thereby causing unnecessary frictions with the clients. Taxes are mandatory liabilities. One cannot avoid them at any cost. Ignoring this liability causes a great financial strain. You end up paying a lot more thereby affecting your profitability.
It is always better to hire a good accountant while preparing your budget. He is the right person to guide you. It is also better to have a separate account for taxation. In this way this account gets credited every time your client pays the bills. You will not use this amount thereby making it easy to make the tax payment before the due date.
8. Not being able to decide the priorities
This happens when you have many projects in the pipeline. You are unable to prioritize correctly. It happens that you end up with a haphazard schedule. Clients who shout the most get the work done more quickly than the others that show more patience. However, it affects your performance and reputation. Both these clients do not give you good reviews. Hence, your overall rating suffers a lot.
Use tools like Google calendar to have a clear timetable. This will enable to handle multiple clients. Sticking to deadlines becomes easy when you plan things in advance. You can give extended deadlines to new clients instead of cramming up your schedules. This ensures that you satisfy all clients thereby getting better reviews. Hence, you end up with a higher ranking on the SERP.
9. Underestimating the profitability
You have to cater to different kinds of clients with different requirements. This entails you have different budgets for your projects. However, designers make the mistake of judging all projects on the same scale as far as profitability is concerned. Therefore, you end up on the losing side as you are not able of estimating your profitability.
Sometimes, it can happen that your clients might suggest a change midway through the project. They might not be happy with a color shade. This would require you to redo the exercise.
It is better to give a choice to the customer. The best way to do it is to ask your customer to choose the color and design from five websites they love. You will get an idea about the favorite color of your client. This will save a lot of labor and money from your side.
These aspects need a look at the budgeting phase. While preparing the proposal, you should be able to judge the level of work required in each project and charge accordingly. This will help you to generate the right amount of profits.
10. Ignoring and neglecting your own website
Your customer is the most important person for you at all times. You should be doing everything in your capacity to satisfy him. But, that does not mean that you should neglect your own website while developing the client’s. After all, you have to do the marketing on a continuous basis. Ignoring your website will cause you greater harm than good.
Fixing up your client’s website is your bread and butter. However, you should be having one team working on your website at all times. You should update the information on your website and keep it fresh. This will help you do the right type of marketing to win more contracts in the future.
11. Not offering a couple of freebies
It is prudent marketing to offer a couple of freebies to your clients. When you do not do so and your competitor does it, it does not take a genius to say where the project lands up eventually. You should do your budgeting right and see to it that you give the right kind of freebies. This is one way of ensuring a steady stream of clients.
Always include a couple of tasks you will do for free. Highlight them in the proposal. In fact, the cost you incur on these tasks would not be much. But the customer definitely appreciates when he gets something free.
12. Not choosing the right project
Practically, every web design agency is guilty of this mistake, at least in the initial stages. They tend to take any project that comes their way. This is the main problem when you do not develop the ability to say NO. You invariably end up saying YES when NO should have been the right answer. This affects the quality of your work. By taking every project that comes your way leaves you with very little time to undertake a really sold proposal should it come at the right time.
Learn to let go of the less profitable assignments. Keep some time aside for the top assignment that can come at any time. Secondly, you have your areas of expertise. In taking up every project that comes your way, it entails that you do things that you are not very good at doing. Concentrate on your strengths and give your best to the best projects when they come your way.
We have discussed a dozen mistakes every web designing agency makes while managing its projects. If you do not make these mistakes, you automatically end up doing a great job of managing your projects right. Hence, knowing what NOT TO DO is more important than knowing what to DO.