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We've Grown Over 200% In The Last 3 Years. Today I'm Reflecting On That.

I always feel rather pensive this time of year.
So as I sit here in my favourite coffee house, sipping an Americano (in a takeaway cup so it stays warm), with the nostalgic soundtrack ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ (from Home Alone) playing in the background, I cast my mind back over the last 3 years at BrightByte Studio and must admit, I’m feeling pretty friggin proud. And this coffee tastes bloody great!

Plans for Growth

I always spend the best part of December planning ways to improve the agency for the next year. So I recently did a bit of digging to understand what our fellow designers are up to, how they’ve grown and what upcoming plans they have etc etc… and this was when I stumbled across the following statistic which caught my attention:
“To count yourself in the top quartile for fastest growing agencies over the past 3 years you’d need to have grown over that period by at least 191%” 
Now granted this report was from 2013 but, with my curiosity aroused, it got me thinking –
How does BrightByte Studio compare to the fastest growing agencies over the past 3 years?
So I did a few calculations and discovered that BrightByte Studio has recorded a staggering growth of over 200% in the last 3 years which, according to industry statistics, makes us one of the fastest growing agencies in the UK. Wow!
3 years is a lot to condense in a blog post but I want to share with you what I believe has been the key to our successful growth over this time (I even thought of a conventional marketing title for it).

Our 5 Tips to 200% Growth

1) Process

Process. Really? 
Now I know ‘process’ is a bit of a contentious word for some designers but please don’t spit your coffee all over the screen in an act of sheer disgust (just yet) – swallow and hear me out first.
I spend a lot of my time actively seeking faults in our processes because for me process is the key to efficiency and ultimately client satisfaction. My pedantic ‘process nitpicking’ has seen us adopt various tools over the years to help sharpen our game and ensure each project runs like a well oiled machine. Let’s call these tools ‘The Golden Three’:


We use Trello as a lightweight task management solution and to help us stay organised. Each worker has their own Trello board with a simple workflow: To Do, Review, With Client, Completed. That’s it, simple but very effective. We use the checklists to ensure we undertake all the client amendments as illustrated in the following example (believe it or not, this isn’t real client feedback):
Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 12.58.07

Toggl for Time Tracking

We also use the genius Toggl integration to track hours spent on tasks because this helps to improve the accuracy of our estimates and ensure each project remains profitable. We can also generate some really useful reports to identify, for example. how many billable hours we are recording on a weekly basis.


We use Basecamp as our primary project management software. We split discussions into phases (e.g. branding, design, development) where we can share our ideas, collaborate with clients and record all project communication to ensure everything is documented clearly in one accessible place. The Basecamp calendar is a handy way to schedule key project milestones and help us stay on track. We are actively moving away from email for anything project related!
Calendar Basecamp


Everyone syncs their files to Dropbox. It’s a rule. This way if a designer is unwell and absent from work, we can easily pickup from where he left off. Anyone storing files locally and not on Dropbox is subject to a finger wagging homily. Dropbox recently introduced a nifty ‘password protection’ feature for links which is a welcome move and especially reassuring for when we send client files via Dropbox.
Dropbox Password
Which tools do you rely on as an agency?

2) Attitude

Clients often praise us for our positive attitude, perseverance and patience when things get a little heavy. Admittedly, this approach takes a conscious effort because projects don’t always go to plan. Clients are not designers but they sometimes like to pretend they are on the premise that they know their audience better than you do… it’s frustrating and tedious. We know it is. However, I believe you have two choices when dealing with designer wannabe clients.
1) You can tell them to stick to what they know and explain how you don’t tell Jack Daniels how to make whisky and therefore they shouldn’t tell you how to design a website.
2) You can stay positive, arrange a call or a meeting and explain in more detail how you feel your design meets their brief and work to challenge yourself creatively to find a solution.
Whilst option 1 often feels like the most appealing, you should always try option 2 first. Keep trying to understand and keep communicating – until it gets too ridiculous because some clients can’t be pleased and you’ll soon learn when you need to walk away. They will seriously drain you if you don’t.
What kind of approach do you take with your clients?

3) Culture

Culture is important to us, it’s what defines us as an agency.
We praise our team when they produce great work, encourage them to make decisions and challenge them to find creative solutions. We don’t berate them.
We want them to love being in the studio and we do everything to create an energetic environment that brings out the best in them. If they come in late, they make up the hours and if they have a bad day now and again we let it go – it happens. We show them respect and receive it in return and we know there are more important things in life than work.
I asked the team to describe our culture and this is what they collectively said: chilled, friendly, driven, youthful, vibey, relaxed, hard working, collaborative, fun, good leadership, focused on client satisfaction, strong communication.
Our culture shapes our approach to projects, we create an environment where creativity can thrive so our clients get the best we have to offer. We can usually tell early on whether we’re going to be a good match for a client or not and if our values don’t align, we’ll think hard about taking on the project.
What does your team think about your culture?

4) Talent

I listened to an audiobook called ‘How Google Works‘ earlier this year and the chapter on Talent resonated strongly with my own views and I feel it applies to the kind of workforce we have at BrightByte Studio.
‘How Google Works’ talks about ‘learning animals’ – people with a passion to want to learn new things, people with character who are interesting and engaged with the world around them; diverse people who see things differently. ‘Learning animals’ have a growth-mindset and set learning goals rather than conventional targets. They are smart generalists who favour overall intelligence over specialisation.
Last week a member of the team called a meeting with Matt (Creative Director) and me because he wanted to maximise his potential to add value to BrightByte Studio. This kind of proactive attitude left Matt and I feeing humbled and encouraged; we’re often very busy and therefore actively depend on this kind of initiative and action from our team members. The result? We identified more opportunities for him to grow and add value to the agency and he’s thrilled with the outcome.
Following this meeting we had a stroke of insight and the team now reserve 2 hours per week during office time to practise self-development and we’ve pledged to support their learning in anyway we can. This will benefit both them professionally and us as an agency.
Do you have the right kind of people working for your agency?

5) Vision

We’ve always had lofty plans for BrightByte Studio which have played a big part in the kind of clients we work with today compared to 3 years ago, but over the past 6 months I’ve come to realise that being so involved with everyday agency activities is hindering our ability to reach the ambitious new heights on our agenda.
And whilst this sounds like a strange paradox, it actually makes a lot of sense! So I recently took the necessary steps needed to delegate tasks accordingly so Matt and I can step back a bit to focus on the bigger picture and BrightByte’s vision.
This single shift in perspective has us more pumped than ever and our plans for 2016 are ambitious, brave and risky but we’re both confident of further significant success because whilst the approach ‘if it isn’t broken don’t fix it’ contains elements of truth, we believe that sometimes you need to break stuff in order to to grow, make things better and to do something truly exceptional.
The last 3 years have been a dream come true for us but watch this space because we’re only just getting warmed up!