The crucial early decisions of an agency

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Agency management | Managing resource | Growth and scalability | Managing clients

When an agency becomes successful, it’s always interesting to ask them about some of the decisions they made early on.

There’s no denying that Purestone, the London digital agency, have done well for themselves. After years of continuous growth they became part of the Lewis group in 2014.

Simon Butler was their co-founder and is now their Managing Partner. He explained to us four things that they did from the beginning.

1. They avoided over-servicing

It stands out from our discussion with Simon that they were always very clear what they wanted and didn’t flinch from making hard decisions to get them. For example, they installed another system in their early days, but it didn’t give them clarity on over-servicing, something they knew was a key pillar. So instead of struggling on with it, they quickly looked for another system.

“We felt sure that we’d been over-servicing a particular client, but with our (early) system we couldn’t prove it. It was obvious we needed to know profitability by client, by project and by project type, plus connect with our financials.”

2. They turned down jobs

They saw other agencies taking on pretty much whatever business came their way, even though some of it would become a drain rather than a contributor. Purestone chose a different course. They chose one that…

“…tells us that we need to turn some jobs down. And we have done that. It’s based on knowledge. You know you’re right in those circumstances.”

3. They noticed a trend about clients

Early on they realised that clients wanted to know more and more about each project. Instead of fighting the trend or going on the defensive, they acknowledged that it was a trend that isn’t going to go away. So they gave client more information, using their new system’s data to their advantage.

“Clients are becoming more demanding in terms of information they expect. We use Synergist to help manage that change.”

Finally, one thing that stands out particularly strongly is Purestone’s hunger for growth from the very start:

4. Growth

“We planned from the outset that ours should be a growth business, not a lifestyle business.”

“Synergist allows us to scale.”

How are Purestone doing at the moment? Thriving, if their roster of clients, recent awards and Drum Digital Census ranking are an indication.

Purestone's clients include Boots, Lombard, NatWest, TaylorMade, Adidas, PayPal and Sainsbury’s.