An MD's role isn't to push a company towards profitability. No one person can really do that. The trick is to to steer it.
That's easier said than done. But having the right data to reveal where the profitability is hidden makes those decisions far easier to find.
Two types of focus
When we met up with Alexandros Iakovidis, the MD of London-based consultancy Europe Economics, he talked about focusing in two diferent ways:
“It (Synergist) helps in our decision-making, as reporting is easily available.
"This helps make on-the-spot decisions on many varied issues as well as more strategic ones regarding focusing more on the most profitable areas of our work.”
He also told us how things used to be for them:
"We previously used an array of spreadsheets, one for each major process.
"We had all sorts of difficulties juggling all those spreadsheets.
The result? "Team frustration, as issues of that sort would not allow us to focus on what we enjoy the most: economic analysis."
The pace of decision-making
How many decisions do you make in a day?
One comes along every few minutes. You don't have time to go away each time to do reams of research. You need to have the facts right in front of you, otherwise how could you keep up?
Nigel Wilson, Founder of creative agency Clevercherry, told us:
“You've got to think fast today.
"An account manager asks you about some costings. With the history of previous jobs in front of you, you can say 'Here's what happened before.' It makes decision-making easier and more transparent.”
Says Nigel Wilson, founder of Clevercherry:
“Synergist has helped us be more scalable."
"People are more empowered now. Decisions that used to drop relentlessly into my lap every day are now taking place with no fuss."
"That's a payoff that keeps on paying."
You can't do it all yourself
It's easy to say that managers should delegate more. But what if they do delegate, but it results in a stream of unprofitable decisions?
It's not just a confidence thing. People need facts in order to base their decisions on. Once they are informed, smart decisions have a far better chance of happening naturally at every level, leaving the MD with more time to focus on the bigger issues.
What is lean thinking?
We quote the Lean Enterprise Institute:
“A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it.
“Eliminating waste along entire value streams, instead of at isolated points, creates processes that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less costs and with much fewer defects."
The MD of Yorkshire agency HMA Digital Marketing told us:
“Nobody wants to pay for bloat.
“One big reason for implementing Synergist was to avoid wasting so much time running the mechanics of the agency when we want to focus purely on clients. So, when planning our growth we went for ‘lean growth’ ".
“'Lean’ doesn’t mean ‘thin.’ It means order, and making everything work optimally. No waste. No inefficiencies. If an agency has inefficiencies, it’s the client that finishes up paying for them. You need process to make it work."
“Synergist plays a significant role in helping agencies drive through efficiencies. For example, it has helped us to automate reporting. Before Synergist we used to spend hours and hours on producing reports."