How we evolved from full-service agency to value-focused studio
Strakzat’s journey to a different kind of growth: our take-aways
Jasper den Ouden
May 16, 2022
Wow, a lot has happened since we’ve started Strakzat. Every day continues to be a valuable learning experience, with last year being particularly eventful.
Over the past few years, our team has been dedicated to designing and building exceptional websites and products. We always favoured expanding our company and adding more experts, believing we could make more and better products with more people. While this philosophy had its advantages, we also faced some significant drawbacks. As these downsides began to outweigh the benefits, we knew it was time to make a change. It marks the beginning of a new chapter for Strakzat. Our transformation isn't a complete overhaul, but it's substantial enough to keep you in the loop on our progress and future direction.
Growing our team
You might ask yourself why this transformation is needed. We'd better go back a few years to give you a good answer.
In 2014, we started Strakzat as a UX-driven duo, working on digital projects for start-ups, corporates, and agencies. In 2017, we began building a team and then added a development branch in 2019.
Last year, we reached our peak in team size with a team of five developers, four designers, a project manager, and ourselves. With this team, we could handle end-to-end project development on a significant scale.
However, the outcome did not meet our expectations. Many challenges come with such team growth. Some we solved, but some we struggled with a lot. Despite our best efforts, we recognised the need for quick and difficult decision-making when the results remained unsatisfactory.
Reflecting on our decisions
As we reflected on this, a few things became clear. Our company had grown, but were we still doing what we loved? Every day, we stumbled upon the responsibilities of having a larger team. We had to juggle multiple tasks, such as landing more projects, keeping our people happy, and managing various aspects of the business.
As we grew, we lost track of what we loved most: shipping beautiful products. Despite our original intentions, we accepted nearly every project that crossed our path. While we managed to handle them successfully and consistently delivered good results, they were not the type of projects we had initially set out to pursue.
Also, as non-developers ourselves, managing the development aspect proved to be particularly challenging. We needed an experienced developer to lead that part of our team, and they were not easy to find. As a result, we knew we had to eliminate the development department sooner or later. These factors signalled that significant changes were necessary.
Our primary focus is to generate even more value for our clients while making our work enjoyable again. Regrettably, achieving this objective meant parting ways with several talented individuals with whom we shared a positive working relationship. Nevertheless, we understood this was a hurdle we had to overcome to increase our focus on delivering quality output, attracting fitting projects, and improving cash flow. We realise now that our business growth should stem from attracting the right clients and enhancing our process rather than solely relying on increasing the workforce.
The new us
We have refined our strategy to ensure we can focus more on what we love most and what we do best.
We have decided to focus exclusively on design, as it is our core competency and what we have been doing since the beginning. While some teams have the luxury of having all disciplines in-house, we have found many benefits in focusing on our strengths. Our clients can achieve new heights for their products by leveraging our design expertise as an extension of their team. With this specialisation, we offer our clients the flexibility and ability to adapt to their product needs more than ever. We can easily identify the required disciplines and engage in agency partnerships or freelance contracts as necessary.
Focus on digital products
Now more than ever, our focus is on designing digital products. We're going to be more critical about what projects benefit most from the skillset we have. Our true passion lies in creating digital services that prioritise user experience. To be precise, we specialise in websites and apps that require more than just reading, clicking, and filling out contact forms. Our areas of expertise include marketplaces, webshops, dashboards, mobile apps, and even entire digital ecosystems. We excel at diving into user requirements and business needs and translating them into a superior user experience on any screen.
Our approach is designed to deliver fast results and make a visible impact. We offer different types of sprints or work on a daily rate, sharing daily progress updates with our clients. We are hands-on and practical. Instead of just talking and reading about things, we often conduct workshops to quickly generate tangible insights and results. We assist our clients in setting goals for their products and making them measurable, enabling us to make validated decisions.
Be an extension of teams
We see ourselves as a valuable addition to our client's teams and work closely with them. Together, we form a super force. We believe that only by working together we can build great products. The client has the most knowledge and expertise in their field (the industry), while we have the same in ours (product design). Due to our small team, we can easily adjust to the client's process while providing significant flexibility.
A new chapter
As you can see, we are excited about the future of Strakzat. By focusing on our core strengths and offering value-driven digital product design, we believe we can make a real difference for our clients. We are no longer a full-service agency or just a group of freelancers. We are a deliberately small team of design experts who create validated digital solutions for our clients. We are flexible, result-driven, and committed to working closely with our clients to achieve their goals.
We can assist you with building your first product, conducting research, implementing branding, UX/UI redesign, designing system setup, improving conversion and retention rates, and creating strategies and concepts for new ideas.
If you want to know more about us or are interested in working together, don't hesitate to check out our updated website or schedule a coffee meeting. We look forward to hearing from you and working together to shape tomorrow.