Growing a small business is a delicate balancing act. ply creative’s Dave Prince shares how this small agency grew while managing clients and not compromising cashflow.
Growing a small business is a delicate balancing act. You have to keep one eye on your existing clients and the other focused on your pipeline of prospects. ply creative’s Dave Prince shares how this small agency grew while managing clients and not compromising cashflow.
With low set up costs, it’s little wonder that so many creatives have a crack at setting up their own agencies. After all, in the early days, you only need a laptop and phone to get going. Suddenly, with a couple of quick wins under your belt, you’re in business.
But getting going is the easy part. Doing it right, and maintaining momentum, takes a lot of effort and planning. Unfortunately, this is where many small businesses, creative agencies included, come unstuck.
Having a point of difference helps
It’s staggering how many small businesses don’t have a unique service proposition (USP). Sure, it can be tough when your offer is not markedly different from that of your competitors, but you need to give it a shot.
Whether you run a coffee shop, a hairdresser or a creative agency, identifying your USP will pay dividends once you’re up and running. No one knows this better than Dave Prince.
Fortunately for Prince, the co-founder at ply creative, staking out some space in the crowded creative agency market came naturally. Hailing from a background in tech and digital, Prince knew exactly where he wanted to play.
‘We do a lot of UX design as well as quite a bit of software design,’ says Prince.
Unsurprisingly given Prince’s background and his passion for all things tech, his Brisbane-based agency focuses on delivering digital and branding solutions for established but future focused companies, entrepreneurial ventures, and software providers. It’s this clarity around their USP that allows Prince and his co-founder, Mark Campbell, to approach business growth strategically.
Seize new opportunities without compromising cashflow
As anyone in business knows, there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to capitalise on an opportunity because you don’t have the funds to do so. So when it comes time to grow make sure you consider your finance options. With cashflow one of the most challenging parts of running a small businesses, it’s important to have enough in the kitty to keep the proverbial lights on as you pursue new opportunities.
For Prince, that time came three years in at ply. The agency had been winning more and more work – work that Prince wanted to take on without letting down his existing clients.
Using freelance resources was one option, but it wasn’t the long term fix that Prince was after. “Most of our work is done in house,” explains Prince and it was important to him that it stay that way so that ply could maintain its culture and consistency.
The solution soon became clear – new hires. What was less apparent was how to go about financing those new hires.
Prince and his partner could have dipped into their cash, but they were wary of the risks associated with potentially compromising their cashflow. Eventually, Prince spoke to NAB about a QuickBiz Loan.
‘We wanted to finance our growth in the right way,’ he says. And he needed to do it quickly to capitalise on the new business opportunities. As a Xero user, Prince was able to do this by giving NAB secure access to his books to facilitate a quick assessment by the bank’s lenders. What followed was fast approval.
‘Basically you authorise NAB to check out your financials through Xero,’ says Prince, noting he only had to fill out the one form and did not have to put up any security. A NAB QuickBiz Loan is offered purely on the strength of your businesses financials. ‘It’s super easy,’ he says.
Positioned for growth
With a few new members of staff now on board, Prince and Campbell are now well placed to take their emerging agency to the next level. If you’re in the same boat, consider taking out business finance to help your business grow without negatively impacting your cashflow.