Every small web agency wants to grow. But in order to grow, you need to be able to offer something that major agencies don’t, and be able to do it faster and more efficiently than they do.
Unsurprisingly, this is very hard for web agency owners to do on their own. Just like in any other business, the top 20% seem to make 80% of the profits in the web development industry. This Pareto-style distribution concentrates top talent in a few large agencies with more than 100 employees who end up getting the best contracts for the biggest clients.
But you have a tool that major web agencies don’t – the ability to collaborate with other agencies for mutual advantage. Collaborate with web agencies can be your ticket to the top of the web development world.
How Collaboration Works for Small Web Agencies
The key to understanding how collaboration produces value is a concept called comparative advantage. Anyone who has taken an Economics 101 course should be familiar with the idea – usually presented in terms of countries producing different goods.
But it works the same way for businesses and web agencies. If it costs you less to do what you do best than it costs another web agency does to produce the same result then you both earn more by collaborating with one another.
As Forbes contributor, Greg Satell says, “Today’s economy is a social economy with collaboration at its center.” Agility is worth more than strategy and can bring you results that the major agencies simply can’t compete with.
Think about it this way. If a client asks your agency to do something that’s outside your qualifications and experience, you have a few options:
- Politely refuse and potentially lose the job.
- Tell the client to find a specialist who can perform that task on their own.
- Take on the project and do your best to deliver successfully.
- Outsource just that task to another agency and deliver the full project under your brand.
It’s easy to see that the first option limits growth. The second one puts you in an untenable position with your client. The third is risky – what happens if you don’t deliver?
The fourth option allows you to maximize the efficiency of your processes while delegating work outside your niche to other agencies that can produce results better and faster than you can. Everybody wins – it’s that simple.
Collaboration Is What Makes Top Developers Successful
Whether you recognize it or not, you already collaborate with many other businesses in order to complete your web development projects.
- You don’t operate your own data center – you rent server space from a hosting provider.
- You didn’t create your own high-level programming language – you use one of the many already-developed languages and their libraries, many of which are open-source, user-created toolsets.
- You didn’t build your own web design tools – you use ones other developers spent time and energy creating for you.
Taking this mindset further is the key to turning a small web agency into a large, respectable firm capable of attracting top clients. Your collaborative potential is nearly unlimited. Consider reaching out to agencies and freelancers that provide any of the following services:
- Specialist Expertise. Do you have a client that wants to gather and analyze Big Data using Python? Rather than learning how to use NumPy for advanced statistical analysis, outsource to a developer who specializes in that kind of work.
- Supplementary Skills. You may be skilled at web design or development, but what about image creation? Content writing? Digital marketing? Find collaborators who specialize in these areas so you can focus on doing what you do best.
- Overflow Protection. What happens if multiple clients ask you to complete separate big projects all at the same time? If you don’t have a backup collaborator you can trust to handle overflow work, you might find yourself thanklessly working 80-hour weeks to meet deadlines and still not getting the results you’re looking for.
Open Up Your Collaborative Relationships Early
One of the most important things to know about collaboration is that if you rush it, it doesn’t work. If you wait until you have to complete three big projects at the same time and two of them involve skills you are not familiar with, you will have a very hard time finding a good collaborator in time – even if you do, it will be a stressful experience.
The best way to prepare yourself for this kind of situation is to open up collaborative relationships early. Start talking to potential collaborators before you need their help – this lets you gauge their professionalism and capabilities beforehand.
You can look for potential collaborators on freelance websites like UpWork and Fiverr, or look up specific white label web agencies that specialize in this kind of work. You can even lookup specific developers using LinkedIn searches for the skills you expect to outsource. Anything that builds your network helps.
Successful collaboration hinges on the ability to delegate work to others in order to capitalize on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. You don’t have to do everything for yourself. Start looking for collaborative partners now and you will be able to offer more to your clients while maximizing efficiency and reducing deadline stress in the process.
Interested in web agency collaboration but don’t know where to start? UnlimitedWP is a white label web agency you can trust to deliver results. Contact us today!