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5 Common Challenges that Small Agencies are Facing

Challenges Small Agencies Are Facing

Having a small agency comes with numerous advantages, such as the flexibility to quickly respond to market changes and provide a more personalized customer experience. However, a company of this size also comes with several in house agency challenges that can hinder you from reaching and going beyond your full potential.

In this article, we’ll cover five of the biggest ad agency challenges that you’ll likely encounter especially if you’re looking to grow. With these agency trends and challenges in mind, we’ll also show you how you can overcome them to take your business to the next level:

1. Managing Workflow

Source: Unsplash

Small agencies tend to have a free-flowing nature regarding work, as people often find themselves juggling multiple jobs to meet requirements. This setup can be doable and sometimes even necessary if you only have the bare minimum staff, but it’s unsustainable in the long run when you take on more projects.


Establish clear processes to streamline the workflow and avoid overwhelming employees. Having efficient systems in place ensures you and your employees can focus on what you’re good at, minimizing wasted effort and resources.

  • Use tools

    Project management apps help solidify a structured workflow and make tracking tasks and deliverables simple.

  • Inform everyone

    Information about your processes should be accessible to the entire agency so everybody can be held accountable for their responsibilities.

2. Employing Quality Talent

Source: Pexels

Talent is what drives the success of any business, more so for small agencies where even just one person can make an outsized impact. The unfortunate reality and one of the most common ad agency challenges is that hiring quality talent takes time and can be expensive. It may also be more difficult for small agencies to compete with the bigger compensation packages and prestige that established agencies offer. 


Knowing that you’re limited with how much you can pay, you have to approach talent acquisition differently:

  • Highlight benefits

    Instead of trying to match salaries, emphasize perks your employees enjoy like flexible schedules and free meals. You can also attract passionate individuals who want to build something new with your up-and-coming agency.

  • Consider remote workers

    COVID-19 has normalized remote work, allowing you to open up applications to an even wider and deeper talent pool worldwide. Other than freelance marketplaces, you can get external support from flexible design companies, like Design Force, that offer on-demand design services in scalable monthly packages.

3. Defining Company Culture

Source: Unsplash


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Preferably, your agency knows exactly what makes it unique from the beginning to stand out amidst the competition. This isn’t always the case, however, especially with small agencies that are still building their brand and carving out their niche. 

The identity issue can become a problem either through forgetting the core values that led to success or calcifying bad practices that prevent growth.


As one of the common advertising agency challenges, shaping company culture has to involve you and your employees in collaboration.

  • Reassess your methods

    Take a critical stance with the way you do work, from communicating to problem-solving to showing appreciation for a job well done. Keep what does work and throw out what doesn’t.

  • Engage with employees

    Provide an outlet for your workers to give feedback and listen. Their input matters in deciding what course your agency needs to take to level up.

4. Maintaining Cash Flow

Source: Pexels

Keeping a steady flow of income is an age-old problem that continues to plague small businesses across industries. 

Agencies, in particular, have trouble maintaining their cash flow for two major reasons:

  • Reliance on one big client can lead to gaps when there is no current project 
  • Only taking one-off projects without attempting to transition into long-term partnerships


Tackling either root causes for inconsistent cash flow requires distinct solutions:

  • Expand your client base

    Improve your marketing efforts to generate new leads. Take advantage of the reputation you’ve built to branch out to adjacent industries or to specialize.

  • Upsell your retainer agreement

    Show the value add of your services to one-off clients if they get you on retainers, such as packaged updates, maintenance, and discounts.

5. Preparing for Growth

Source: Pexels

Of all the in house agency challenges discussed so far, setting the stage for scaling is the pivotal moment that determines an agency’s success or failure.

It’s in this transitory period where you take the risk of potentially doing more than you can handle, including drastically increasing your workforce, clientele, and all the expenses that come with growing a business.


To set up your agency for growth, you need to look at ways you can scale your offerings:

  • Add complimentary services

    You can take on more work without sacrificing quality by leaning into your area of expertise with related services.

  • Outsource to specialists

    Outsourcing lets you scale your agency even when you’re resource-limited. Tasks like designing graphics for marketing campaigns, for instance, are necessary but time-consuming, so offload them to specialists. Outsourcing can increase your bandwidth, allowing you to offer more services to your clients even without hiring in-house.

Small agencies often find it hard to scale as every person on the team tends to find themselves deep in the trenches of production work, especially when it comes to creative tasks. But with Design Force on your side, you’ll be able to get the support that you need to deliver more work faster and free up time to finally focus on your growth strategy and operations. Our services are subscription-based, meaning you only pay for what you need, as long as you need them. 

Tackle these growing agency challenges with confidence when you partner with Design Force. Contact us today for the design support you need.

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