Ariful Fikri is one of RRGraph’s co-founders. His experience spans from developing a pitching strategy for the various marketplace, fostering customer support mechanisms, and managing collaborative plans to lift the performance of the entire industry. In this article, he shows the idea of sustainability and its correlation between creative agencies.
How do you define sustainability?
Sustainability is about targets. RRGraph has been around for five years and is still growing because we determine our targets. Along with that baby-walk progress, we have worked on a different team composition that follows the market condition. It is such unavoidable changes that lead us to drive a specific growth in one area which matters the most. In short, if a business knows how to keep a target, then they know how to sustain it.
When it comes to the practices per se, there are internal and external factors that come along. The internal one has something to do with our team line-up, while the external factors are more into the trends in the market. We can’t change much on what happens outside the team, so we have to adapt and shift our focus. For instance, we previously got more clients on the freelancer platform, while these days we are more frequent to get direct clients through our website. So now we can give more highlights on that targeted market. Fortunately, we also have a team that only focuses on presentation templates. On top of that, we still can produce some products to sell, which is more like a long-term investment because we can sell templates anytime though there is no clients’ demand, as it happens during the pandemic.
What is your strategy to implement that idea?
Currently, I notice that more creative agencies are trying to be more versatile. Many of them make an attempt to handle larger fields, to cover wider design needs. RRGraph has chosen not to follow that trend. We sell presentation templates. We do a presentation redesign service. That is all. If we are not focused, clients will doubt our capability.
Do you know that a garage in West Java produces the exhausts for Lamborghini? That is just an example, though their business is small, they have a niche, and that makes them unique.
The willingness of digging in one specific field becomes a significant factor in developing a business strategy for sustainability. When we talk about presentation, then PowerPoint automatically appears in our mind. But, RRGraph has no longer seen PowerPoint and presentation as a mere projector thingy. Some clients appear to need a presentation with a portrait format to show monthly reports and even create an advertisement on Instagram’s feed. Then there we don’t change our tool, which is PowerPoint, but just being clever to implement it for broader usages.
Can sustainability be measured? Is there any challenge?
We, the founders, have zero experience to work under another company. Therefore, I couldn’t say about indications that are prominent to measure our sustainability performances. However, before we jump into that point, I believe that a decent role is a must thing to fulfill in the very first place.
To build a person to meet our perfect qualification for one role isn’t easy. It takes a lot of processes to make one professional. It needs months, even years. And that becomes our challenge. Oftentimes, we fail to meet the company target due to the insufficiency of our employees’ skills. The emergence of a new role, namely Quality Control, Team Leader, and Strategist, can bring an up-and-down to the whole team performance. The people that are being selected with a higher position probably never got acquainted with such functions before. They have to make tough decisions that have consequences for the company, their reputation, and their career, so it is not so surprising that there will be so many trials and errors.
Let me tell you one of our failures. Back then, we tried targeting the local markets, but it didn’t work out. It was due to Indonesia’s low currency, and we realized it was not good for our financial cycle. Then there we had tried collaborating with governmental corporations, but the accessibility turned out to be our biggest barrier. We had sent the proposal, but there were no further calls. So we gave up and chose to focus on things that come off.
Do you have any advice for everyone in this field?
Experts say agencies must innovate or die a slow death, and somehow I believe in that. I still find myself questioning, “Could a presentation service suddenly lose its demand?” Especially in the tech world where nothing can quite stand forever. We have to admit that the new invention can run faster before we realize it. Who knows VR will displace us all in the blink of an eye?
In this very long run, I barely know whether RRGraph has been moving fast or slow. But, one thing for sure is that we have formed our roots. We know prematureness is never a good thing. Dozens of startups were booming in their second or third years, but they disappeared within the fifth year. What a pity. From that phenomenon, I realize that taking a long time for a greater good is totally fine. So here is my advice: You don’t have to rush to reach the finish line.
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