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[creative workflow management blog]

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Billing creative agency services is a pain. Seriously. I mean, you’ve got other work to do, but now you’ve got to figure out who to invoice, how much to invoice them for, how much is outstanding, who your delinquent clients are, and why your creatives aren’t finishing their jobs. I mean, who actually enjoys this stuff?

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And Have Your Customers Love You At The Same Time!

Talking about profit and having your customers love you in the same blog post may seem counter-intuitive, but really it's not! Profitable companies are stable, and we all want to work with stable business partners, particularly if we're looking at developing a long-term relationship.
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People ask us all the time how to measure the financial success of their agency. When we respond, many seem disappointed. “That’s it?” they ask. “Those are all the numbers you track?” The truth is, the agency business is a pretty simple business. Following are our ideas about the most important metrics for agencies.

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As a creative agency or a freelancer, your good reputation and industry success can depend upon the value you bring to clients. You'll no doubt often be walking the line between inadvertently gouging your clients, and totally underestimating yourselves. The question you must ask is, are you better off operating as a fixed or flat fee operation, or bill hourly?

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From September 18 to 19, I was lucky enough to attend a Second Wind Creative Agency Financial Seminar in Chicago, Illinois. Geared towards CFOs and Accounting Leads, the 2 day seminar provided real value to the attendees - as well as a few laughs. By the end of day 2, I can safely say the room was buzzing with new ideas to bring back to their organizations and new connections.

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In this blog post, we will continue to talk about typical agency financial challenges (check out our previous blog post here) and present the causes and how to deal with unbillable hours of work in your creative firm.

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We have been providing timesheet and project managment solutions to advertising agencies, interactive firms and design studios for many years. Through the good times and during recessions we see the fluctuations in number of staff, general revenue and the change in morale that is associated.

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Advertising agencies, creative studios, and interactive development firms in ever increasing numbers are using workflow management software to assist in analysis of their operational efficiency.  

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Most creative agencies I speak with have multiple ways in which projects are billed to their clients. This seems to be the case regardless of whether they are interactive, brand, advertising, design or even architectural firms.

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There are various concepts that creative agencies commonly refer to as retainers. In this case, a retainer client is a client who is billed monthly (or sometimes even weekly) for work being done by the agency. 

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