Balancing creativity and profitability: Solving the digital agency’s dilemma

Here’s how The Content Division, a Brisbane-based marketing agency, partnered with SBO Financial to unlock the key to profitability and achieve sustainable growth.
Cover image for blog with text: Balancing creativity and profitability: Solving the digital agency's dilemma

For digital agencies, balancing creativity with profitability is a delicate dance that requires expert guidance. The perpetual questions around how to appropriately price services and achieve sustainable growth weigh heavily on the minds of agency founders. 

One such agency looking for an innovative solution to this problem was The Content Division. Known for their commitment to pushing creative boundaries and delivering exceptional content strategies, settling for a one-size-fits-all approach to finances was simply not an option for them. 

SBO Financial worked with The Content Division on financial strategies that are as vibrant as the content they create. Here’s how SBO helped The Content Division on their journey to ensure sustainable business growth.

The company

The Content Division (TCD) is a Brisbane-based content marketing agency that creates happy customers through their strategy, copywriting, animation, videography, photography, social media management, design and email marketing services – all under one roof.

With a team that thrives on creativity and innovation, they sought a financial partner who shared their passion for strategic thinking and personalised solutions.

Brittanie English, TCD’s Managing Director, says the growing agency understood the importance of looking beyond simple financial metrics, and uncovering insights into their financial operations and performance.

“You can break even or be profitable, but if that’s not understood in relation to your scaling costs, it’s not really useful information to help you grow,” Brittanie says. “We want to make sure that our business is financially sustainable and profitable, so we avoid financial issues as we scale.”

A strategic partnership

Brittanie explored various options before finding a true match for her agency’s needs in SBO Financial. Unlike traditional accountants who merely balance the books, SBO takes a more holistic and proactive approach, strategically advising and providing recommendations for improvement.

“SBO specialises in service-based business models, and the digital marketing agency model is one they know well,” Brittanie says. “They understand the market we’re operating in, and they benchmark our competitors.”

This partnership went beyond mere financial management. Brittanie says it was a collaboration built on consultation, with SBO providing TCD with forward-looking analysis and advice that paved the way for better financial decision-making.

“We went with SBO because of their strategic approach,” she says. “It sounds simple, but that’s not what we’d experienced with previous accountants who were generally happy as long as the books were balanced, and couldn’t offer any actionable insights beyond that.

“SBO helps us strive for greater profitability in our business. Their industry expertise allows us to benchmark our performance and understand where we can perform better.” 

Unlocking the key to profitability

SBO took a strategic approach to assessing The Content Division’s financial performance, leading to actionable recommendations for improvement. 

Jason Andrew, SBO’s Co-Founder, says that capacity modelling – a process which involves forecasting and determining the optimal capacity required to meet the demands and needs of a business effectively – became the key to unlocking insights into the agency’s profitability. 

“An agency’s ability to grow is often constrained by the capacity of employees servicing clients, which is often measured in billable hours,” Jason says. 

“Capacity modelling is a crucial aspect of financial planning and management. It helps agencies like The Content Division understand the resources needed to operate efficiently and how these resources impact financial performance.”

SBO restructured The Content Division’s accounts to help them better understand the profitability of their business, what they should be aiming for, and how much they should be charging.

Guided by SBO’s industry expertise, The Content Division optimised areas for improvement like hourly rates, billable hours per team member, and overhead allocation. Their new budgeting process, supported by accurate forecasting and comprehensive reporting, enabled intelligent decision-making regarding expenses and hiring.

“Through this process we have indexed and increased our prices, set up better internal time tracking systems, and gained better oversight of the potential profitability of our business,” Brittanie says.

The results for The Content Division have been positive, driven by better pricing strategies and a deeper understanding of the cost of doing business.

Long Division

As TCD continues to scale and grow, Brittanie says SBO Financial remains a trusted partner, working side-by-side to achieve the agency’s financial goals. 

“They are more than just accountants,” she says. “They are financial partners who bring valuable industry expertise and strategic insights to the table, and they’ve helped us to make informed decisions that have positively impacted our bottom line.”

As they continue working towards their financial goals, The Content Division remains confident in the ongoing support provided by SBO Financial.

Are you running a digital marketing agency? Wondering where you sit in relation to your competitors and the wider industry? Download our Digital Marketing Agency Benchmarks in 2023 ebook and unpack how you can improve the financial performance of your agency against comprehensive industry benchmarks.

At  SBO Financial, we understand the unique financial landscape digital agencies face, and have made it our mission to provide tailored services, advice, and analysis to address those very concerns. 

Whether it’s fine-tuning your hourly rates or optimising resource allocation, our team of experts can help you strike the perfect balance between creativity and financial success. Reach out to us for a free financial health check.

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