Build a process before you build the product

I’ve been around the web agency space long enough to see a few patterns emerge. One of them is the “let’s get out of service and build product” pattern. Building something once and selling it X times is a bloody nice-sounding idea.

Yes and no.

I’ve done it a couple of times with Block Lab and Hello Charts and building product is stacks of fun! Building is fun. Launching is fun. Scaling is fun. Fun doesn’t mean it’s not hard though. Even getting an MVP to market takes incredible focus and effort.

If you’re in the agency space and getting the grass-is-greener itch, consider this: What part of the service you currently offer can you refine, systemise, and deploy at scale?

If you’re building websites, can you identify a vertical market and site type that you can deploy faster than others? Can you systemize around this and compete on price and scale? Sometimes it’s not actually the building of a product that is appealing. It’s actually the building of scalable value.

Website maintenance saw a lot of love a few years back as a systemisable and scalable layer of agency service.

Occasionally a product will organically emerge out of the systems you build. I would suggest that products that emerge organically like this as well have a higher chance of success.