Interview with Kate Paterson, Co-Founder and COO of London-based marketing agency, Hub
“When you are transitioning from one growth stage to another, systems can become fragmented. To support our trajectory, we’ve thrown everything out of the box, brought all our processes together and given them synergy.” – Kate Paterson, Co-founder and COO, Hub
Hub began life as a video production company 20 years ago, operating from a single room. Now, it is an agency that delivers extraordinary audience engagement for its clients in a variety of sectors, notably financial services, legal, education and retail.
When we spoke to Co-founder Kate, Hub was preparing to move to larger premises to accommodate a team expected to exceed 50 within the next three years.
Until recently, Hub was using ever more software products to accommodate the business’s changing needs and support the requirements and personal preferences of team members. This often happens in marketing agencies as they grow and their project management requirements become more complex, says Kate.
“People start adopting things to make their own work easier and more efficient, but they don’t necessarily tell anyone else or think about workflows. That’s when processes can get sluggish. To avoid this, we have taken a fresh look at what we need as a business and how we can automate and streamline as much as possible.”
More time for creativity
Automating more business processes will allow Hub to buy back time that can be reinvested in producing great work for clients. “We need the workflows to be as rapid as possible,” says Kate. “Quoting, time-management and invoicing are all a crucial part of what we want.”
Scoro enables effective end-to-end work management. It speeds up routine tasks, eliminates duplicated effort and helps to reduce human error. It supports accurate quoting – users can create custom templates for client quotations so it’s quick to produce and send detailed, accurate PDFs detailing costs and any other relevant contract details. It makes it easy to create tasks and allocate resources when the job comes in and enables users to manage progress in real time. When the work is finished, delivered and approved, another few clicks will create the invoice.
What will team members do with the hours this can save? For one thing, they will be able to perform even better work, believes Kate. And that’s vital for every creative business, especially one like Hub that prides itself on delivering “extraordinary audience engagement” and has “we want to be measured by results” as one of its core values.
And while time savings are key, the improvement in structure from Hub’s new project management function (based on Scoro), is what will allow them to deliver the very best in client service.
In any business, wasting time costs money. It also makes it harder to offer team members flexible hours, which is something that Kate thinks is important for Hub’s culture. She says the company is already super-flexible and several employees plan their working hours around other commitments. Now, managers are looking again at how this freedom might be enhanced. When it’s fully embedded, Scoro will support that ambition. “We’ve always been a bouncing antelope, but adding new departments, structures and systems was threatening to turn us into a slow-moving walrus,” says Kate. “Scoro keeps us firmly in antelope territory!”
Supporting business expansion
Automation will also provide the firm footing that Hub needs to achieve the growth set out in its three-year plan:
“With previous systems it was hard to identify the financial metrics and data points we need to have, and we had an information bottleneck,” says Kate.
Scoro brings a company’s business information together in one place. It presents data visually in highly customizable dashboards and gives managers a real-time overview of how resources are being allocated, as well as project progress and profitability. Managers at Hub have clear goals and they chose Scoro because it gives them the tools and information they need to achieve them.
“We need detailed, reliable business information to make sure we have the right staffing levels and profit margins. With that, we can put our growth plan into action and evolve from a small to a medium-sized business.”
Is Scoro easy to work with?
Kate and her team invested a significant amount of time in finding the right work management software, checking the needs of individual team members and reviewing the market. They looked at a lot of options and tested about five, but they kept coming back to Scoro, Kate says, because they realized that others didn’t offer a single overarching, interoperable package. If they invested in anything else, they would have needed other software to fill in the gaps. What’s more, she says, it is easy to use and has the flexibility to adapt to their customers’ future needs:
“What we like about Scoro is that it’s easy to do things in a few clicks and it has an intuitive interface. We can see that our people will get on with it and it will grow along with us.”