Being Lightweight: Working with Clients

It's a question we ask each other all the time - what is the most lightweight way we can do this?

We are a small company who is trying to do big things. In order to be
successful, we need to reduce drag - to remove the processes,
bureaucracies and commitments that slow us down and don't pay off. 

Today we're kicking off a series of posts called "Being Lightweight" that will relate what lightweight means to us and hopefully help you think differently about how you focus your attention.

Working with Clients

Over the past year, we've evolved in how we manage our work with clients on custom videos.  Here are a few things that we do that helps us move quickly and stay lightweight.

Face-to-Face Not Required - We've never met the vast majority of our clients face-to-face.  I'm sure it would be nice, but we don't think it's required to produce a video.  What it does do, is cost both sides a lot money and take a lot of time that could be used for creativity.

Project Pricing - In terms of the time it take to create a client video, our projects are similar. To keep ongoing billing and at a bare minimum, we price by the project.  For us, billing by the hour would create another process that would create drag and introduce a time limitation that may impact the quality of the end product.  

Video Development - We apply the 37 Signals concept of "getting real " to developing custom videos. We involve the client at nearly every step along the way, starting with the script.  This lowers the risk that big changes will come late in the process and waste time on both sides.

Expectation Setting - Early in the relationship, we take a leadership role in outlining our system for completing the project.  We've found that it helps everyone to have structure. We set an expectation about response times and work to make sure that the project lead owns as many decisions as possible.

Single Point of Contact - We ask that we have a single point of contact on the client side. This person is our contact, but also a filter for input from their organization.

Of course our business is somewhat unique and every project is different.  However, I think that many projects get behind or off track because they are burdened with overhead, processes and bureaucracy that add weight without adding productivity.  Being lightweight in client relationships requires setting expectations, shedding as much weight as you can and focusing on what really matters.

Next up - Being Lightweight: Tools We Use