Four Kitchens

Agency relationship models: The best method to bolster your digital capabilities

5 Min. ReadDigital strategy

Financial insecurity has put many organizations in an impossible position: a need to sustain or grow while working with fewer resources than ever. Perhaps the unstable market has resulted in a hiring freeze, or you’ve been forced to downsize your team despite a steady workload.

In situations like these, there’s no shame in recognizing that you can’t do this alone. Outside expertise is the only way to reach your goals, but finding the right people can be difficult and time consuming. Freelancers are an option, but it can be difficult to predict how well they will mesh with your existing team, design standards, or development workflow. Instead, you may want to consider partnering with an agency.

Whether you have a project looming or ongoing gaps in your workflow that need attention, Four Kitchens can help.

The options for adding outside expertise typically fall under four working models. With the right partner — and an engagement model that fits your needs — your goals will be back in reach.

Project partnerships deliver specific results within a known budget and timeframe

A project-based relationship is the most common approach when hiring an outside firm. It’s pretty straightforward: You have a specific goal or deliverable that you can’t handle in-house, and you need someone else to get it done.

While these kinds of projects typically involve a website launch or redesign, there are other, short-term goals an agency like ours can help you realize. You may be looking to upgrade your website to a different platform and need help managing that migration or implementation. In this case, Four Kitchens can offer not just development and coding resources but also project management expertise to ensure our work is completed on time, on budget, and to your exact specifications.

A key strength of a project relationship is the clarity of its terms. You’re hiring an agency to deliver a result within a fixed price and timeline. From there, it’s up to the agency to hit their marks and keep you apprised of any trouble spots that could affect the scope, budget, or timely delivery of their work. Once the work is done, both sides can go on their separate ways until the next project arises. But there’s potential for the work to go on if the results exceed your expectations.

Retainers provide ongoing support to update and maintain your website

Whatever the goals of your business, your digital needs are not going away after your site is launched, upgraded, or redesigned. Depending on your staff workload, your organization may need ongoing help to manage issues that arise further down the road.

A retainer relationship also lends itself to a more strategic approach between you and your agency. Keeping this expertise on your side allows for continuous improvement to your digital products. Your goals will undoubtedly shift or change over time, requiring you to add new features or adopt new technology. With an agency on retainer, you can ensure your website remains in a state of continuous improvement, adapting to the changing landscape rather than stagnating.

From a cost perspective, a retainer relationship is more efficient than ramping up a series of short-term projects. By keeping an agency on retainer, you can ensure your website platform’s security updates, bug fixes, and any other ongoing improvements are handled quickly and without impacting your internal workflow. Through this kind of support and maintenance relationship, your development resources can focus on new initiatives rather than the ongoing tasks of updating your existing projects.

Staff augmentation fills gaps in your capacity without hiring

As the needs of your digital business evolve, you may find that your team needs consistent, reliable help — but just for a fixed period of time. Adding full-time help is costly, and your organization could be experiencing a hiring freeze that limits your options. And maybe you’ve had a negative experience with freelancers who didn’t integrate with your team or deliver on the promise of their expertise. Hiring an agency like Four Kitchens for staff augmentation provides a workaround in these situations.

With staff augmentation, your team essentially “leases” a designer or developer for several months — or even years. You manage their efforts and assign their work, but we are responsible for ensuring quality. Hiring a reputable firm for staff augmentation is like adding world-class experts to your team and getting nothing but results. Even better, there’s none of the overhead or personnel management that comes with a full-time hire. We handle professional development, one-on-one meetings, and time off, so you can maintain focus on your business.

Staff augmentation also allows for greater flexibility than freelancers. If the scope of your project expands, an agency can scale and quickly deliver other skilled professionals. Or, if someone isn’t working out, we quickly can bring in someone else to take their place.

In a freelance arrangement, these kinds of shifts involve a lot more time and uncertainty to resolve. With staff augmentation, you have more options and predictability.

Consulting provides answers to your digital concerns

Sometimes, the outside assistance you need comes down to an expert opinion. Maybe you’re happy with your website, but it’s loading slowly, and the bounce rate is high. You have a solid development team, but they can’t figure out the source of the problem. In a case like this, you don’t need a new hire, but you have business-critical questions that need answers — quickly.

Can your website be faster? Is your site accessible? How do you know you’re providing a great experience for your users? Perhaps you need a User Experience Strategist to audit your site, interview your customers, and compile a list of recommendations that your team can implement.

A consulting engagement helps you fill gaps in knowledge, not workflow, by challenging your assumptions, identifying problems, and highlighting areas of improvement. With a full-service agency like Four Kitchens, you’ll receive comprehensive feedback that outlines the ways your digital product can improve.

The next steps are up to you. Contact us to find out more about meeting your digital goals.