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Radical Productization

Written by Robert Williams

Can you run your agency like a product and offer low prices to your clients while still being profitable?

Knapsack Creative does. I talked to Ben Manley about the nuts and bolts of running a web design agency like a product.

He shares how he provides quick turnarounds, low prices, and live collaboration while other agencies can’t.

Key takeaways from the interview:

  • Knapsack Creative, goes against the grain and has a business model designed to ditch common advice, like: always charge more.
  • Ben’s team is tiny: 3 people. Yet they offer low pricing, and a fast, fixed turnaround.
  • Knapsack implements a tight structure around their engagements, including: one day turnarounds, time-boxing, and a weekly innovation system.
  • Ben used product design to rethink his company/service’s structure.
  • Knapsack is designed around Ben’s personality, and structured to let him do what he loves: no email, meetings, or design prep.
  • Knapsack helps clients be more decisive with preparation and to make sure they nail it on their delivery day’s live collaborative design session.
  • They keep costs low with questionnaires, making sure project’s don’t lag beyond their timeline, and get great feedback from clients.
  • They make sure client’s love their outcome and are able to draw the line clearly on quality.

Favorite quotes

“We try to keep it as clean as possible by reducing the amount of unknowns. If we can create a system or a process it’s so much easier than creating a custom one-off service every time.”

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Robert Williams

I help underwater design agencies fix staff shortages quickly and come back up for air. I run Folyo, a private referral community of product designers, and I host Freelance, a podcast about how to work independently.

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