Digital Nation

How big should you go? Part 2

Continuing the discussion in Part 1, on ways to grow a digital agency. One way is strategic investment; another is pure grit and hard work to grow organically. A largish digital agency with IP around a platform and some hefty media contracts is quietly in the process of securing strategic investment to help it scale up and meet growth targets (including overseas) sooner. This deal will probably stay under the radar so I can’t tell you who it is. And news in the last week or so that independent creative & media agency Razor has sold a ‘significant equity stake to ex ...

How big should you go? Part 1

What’s the best size for a digital agency? This is such an interesting topic, so make sure you read Part 2 (coming out shortly). Recently I’ve been speaking to a few agencies at the 12 – 15 staff level, who have got a great business but struggle to get beyond that level, and asked corporate advisor Matt Costello (who is the workshop leader of MBA in a Day) for his take. Matt points out that: “The main reason is that agency founders are fantastic at digital but don’t necessarily have the capacity or management skills to manage a growing business. They ...

Are you and your team well for work?

I recently met with an MD from a growing agency who said his biggest challenge with his staff is maintaining energy and focus. It's particularly relevant as recent research emphasises relaxing in order to be more productive (read The New York Times article here). Agency folk are notorious for dealing with multiple conflicting deadlines in an unhealthy way - people are often tired, stressed and overwhelmed. So I'm delighted to recommend the Well for Work program in Sydney as featured recently in CEO Magazine, by health and fitness expert Timo Topp, has launched the Well for Work program to help people ...

Interview with Grant Klein, Boomworks

What's your day job? As Co-founder and Managing Director of Boomworks I work closely with our management team to make sure the company continues to deliver on the promise we make to everyone that works with us – staff and clients. The more invigorating side to the equation  is talking about the work and sharing some of the great things we do with new clients.  Reading legal documents tends to fall on the less exciting side but is equally critical to the business. That said, if the coffee machine breaks down, that tends to take priority!   What type of projects does ...

RIP digital agencies?

Is the ‘digital agency’ dead? VML's Aden Hepburn's recent article Fifty Shades of industry Grey talked about the competition amongst media agencies, creatives, digital houses and PR agencies for an every shrinking nmarketing budget. Which got me thinking - is the digital agency becoming redundant? Witness DT recently rebranding from DT Digital (part of the STW Group). Deepend has repositioned itself as a creative communications agency. TheFARM has dropped “Digital” from its name. Does this mean the end of the digital agency as we know it? Agencies now offer so much more than web development with services offered include: Digital Strategy/Brand Development User-centred Experience Multiplatform Content ...

Follow the money: Interview with Matt Costello, Newport Capital on valuing digital agencies

What’s your day job? I'm a Director at Newport Capital Group Pty Ltd. Newport is a TMT sector specialist corporate advisory and investment  banking firm established in 1989. The company has completed hundreds of transactions over the years in capital raising, divestments, mergers and acquisitions in the Technology, Media and Telco space including Digital services and digital media. Transactions that the company have undertaken include; My role here is to lead our clients through the transactions which include preparing the company for due diligence, valuation guidance which often includes an analysis of similar transactions and then researching and approaching potential acquirers or ...

Digital Industry Salary Survey 2012 – a sneak peek

The inaugural digital salary survey was launched last week by AIMIA showing the incredible diversity  in the digital services industry. Of the respondents, digital agencies were the biggest group (61%), followed by publishers and then creative agencies which naturally reflects AIMIA members. Key facts from the report: The majority of the respondents reported annual revenues of less than $5 million (60% of respondents) A further 28% were in the $5m to $15m band Average company staff turnover is 18 percent in a year Average length of service is 3 years NSW is the highest paid state, with chief executives paid an average of $288,572 and executive ...

Interview with David Pisker, CEO, IE

What's your day job? CEO in an agency often means many things. I would describe my role as controller of chaos. By that I mean giving people enough scope and freedom to harness their creative talent while still providing them a framework and enough focus to ensure that our clients and our business gets the best out of the team. Other than that, I deal with the slightly duller realities of business like contracts, compliance, risk management, new business, service delivery and the like.   What type of projects does your company work on – how long do they run? The split of work between owned/earned/paid ...

Managing profitability & choose the right billing method

We’ve talked before in previous posts about managing profitability through the continuous management of time, cost, scope & stakeholders. However another way to manage profitability, and particularly your cash flow is to select the right billing method for your agency – and your client. 7 common billing methods Three phase : Scope up front, Production 50% production 50% at the end Top and Tail: 50/50 Start & Finish Pre bill: Requires payment up front Post bill: Requires payment at the end Retainer: agreed fixed amount per month for services Monthly accrued: tally the percentage completed at the end of each month Time & Materials: bill at the end ...

Interview with Elmar Platzer, PhotoMerchant

What's your day job? CEO & Co-Founder of PhotoMerchant which provides photographers with the tools they need to manage their photography business on the Internet. Responsible for operations, business development, financial management, and capital raising.   What type of projects does your company work on – how long do they run? No projects, we run a SaaS business. It’s an application that’s hosted in the cloud. We constantly evolve the application adding new functionality, improving it and so on.   How did you get started in digital? In the mail room. No, I’m making this up. I came into digital via systems integration, content, mobile aggregation and enablement ...

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