I was at KeywordRanking as we grew exponentially in 2004, and I was there as we deflated due to, among other things, a lack of scalability starting in early-mid 2005.
By lack of scalability I mean too many (HUNDREDS OF) clients too quickly, inflexible process-before-client processes, lack of consistent, in-depth training, lack of staff, and lack of scalable software infrastructure to name a few.
It was this last piece that stood out the most starkly to me when I first joined the company in 2004.
I came from the WebProNews/iEntry publishing company where I was the chief editor and worked closely with our PHP developers to automate every stage of every process as deeply as possible.
It shocked me to enter a world where we emailed each other spread sheets.
A strong, internally-oriented development team that GETS SEM and automates your tools and processes is FUNDAMENTAL to sustainable growth. Put that foundation in place before you hire a PR firm and try to land your first Fortune 500 client.
Growth is wonderful, but if you grow before you understand your business well enough to create software that makes workflow and processes easy while leaving flexibility as the search marketing industry shifts towards social media and web PR work you’ll be right back where you started. Or possibly worse.
Five Secret Strategies to Add $1 Million in Revenue to your Interactive Marketing Agency in 2007 (Andy Beal)
Andy Beal on Adding $1 Million to Next Year’s Revenue (Rand’s response to Andy)