Are you a web developer or an entrepreneur?
Most web agency owners have to be a little bit of both. On one hand, you are ultimately responsible for the deliverables your agency produces. On the other, you also have to set policies, communicate with a team, attract new clients, and more.
Managing even a small web agency can quickly burn out even the most dedicated and ambitious career-minded professionals. Without the right communication infrastructure in place, you can easily spend more time responding to emails than you spend actually generating value for clients – and that’s a dangerous position to be in.
Fortunately, there are tried-and-true methods you can use to manage your time effectively. With the right approach, you can successfully achieve the balancing act between web development and web agency management that leads to sustainable business growth.
Some of these tips and tricks may seem like common sense. Others may represent completely new ways of thinking. Altogether, they form a profound way of managing your time effectively so that you can dedicate yourself to your highest-impact strategic objectives while minimizing waste and inefficiency.
Time Management for Web Agency Owners in Five Steps
The majority of business owners’ time is spent communicating. One of the most important parts of managing time effectively is managing communication. Improving communication now can lead to extraordinary time management benefits down the line.
1. Plan for Project Communication
How long does it take you to communicate project details to your team? How do you help information travel from your client to your development team?
An ad-hoc project communication system will eat up most of your time and reduce your team’s efficiency. You need a plan that covers the following:
- Delegation. Who needs what data, and where they can find it.
- Projection. When your team members need additional client information, how can they obtain it?
- Standardization. Establish a format for client information and stick to it. Standardized forms make your team’s responsibilities easy to understand.
- Verification. Who gives the information out, and who is responsible for ensuring its accuracy?
Asking these questions can profoundly affect how you communicate with your team. Whether you use email or a custom-designed internal project management platform, you can assess these four characteristics to improve agency-wide communication and reduce wasted time.
2. Use Time-Saving Tools for Project Communication
If your agency uses email to communicate, chances are you have a development lead whose inbox is constantly full. This person (who is probably you) has to deal with feature requests, bug reports, user feedback, pain points, and random ideas in a disorganized, first-come-first-served way.
Not only do you have to spend a great deal of time responding to these messages, but your team also spends a great deal of time writing them.
Switch to a more organized and efficient platform like Yammer or Slack and start organizing communication by subject and priority. Give your clients access to the platform so they can be part of the conversation, reducing the chance of scope creep and costly revision later on.
3. Keep the Conversation Focused on Productivity
Whether managing a team or dealing with clients, losing track of the conversation is a common time management problem. You can easily find yourself sitting in a room watching two client factions argue over a single feature or function.
One of the best ways to treat situations like these is from Elon Musk’s value-oriented point of view. Musk tells his employees and partners to leave any meeting they don’t directly contribute value to. This may seem harsh, but anyone who isn’t a productive part of a discussion can simply read the memo after the meeting – and work on something useful in the meantime.
4. Develop a Priority System
With effective communication in place, you can now set up a priority system for deciding what things to work on, and in what order your team should address them.
Without a priority system in place, your approach is essential: “which client is yelling the loudest?”
There are plenty of systems to choose from. Kanban is a popular and effective one. The Eisenhower Matrix offers elegance and simplicity that anyone can immediately implement. The important thing is to have a system in place and to use it.
5. Delegate Whenever Possible!
Delegating tasks is an important part of the time management equation. You can’t do everything yourself, nor do you want to. Build your team’s strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.
You probably already delegate work to appropriately-skilled members of your team – it’s an obvious step. But you can also delegate work outside your team, to third-party contractors who provide white label web services. This lets you accomplish more work in less time, with far fewer headaches in the meantime.
Bonus Time Management Tip: Reward Yourself and Your Team
With all this talk of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, it’s easy to lose yourself in a flurry of activity and never take time off for rest and recreation. It’s important that you plan for periods of relaxation and offer your team a chance to interact outside of strictly work-related environments.
Enterprise-level corporations invest lots of money in team building and company culture. You can offer the same without necessarily spending the types of sums they do. All it takes is a system of incentives that rewards efficiency and success.
This will reduce the amount of time your team spends slacking off. Increasing productivity by implementing the right system of rewards will result in far fewer losses due to inefficiency, poor communication, and other workplace problems.