As part of my highbrow cultural intake I watched an episode of Shaun The Sheep at the weekend (I'd be lying if I said it was just the one, it's fantastic.)

If you don't already know, it's from the same animation studio who produce Wallace and Gromit, and features a young enterprising sheep and his friends.

In this episode, the farmer takes up pottery as a hobby, installing a wood-fired oven to act as a kiln.

Shaun sees an opportunity to cook his favourite food: pizza. The aroma drifts across the road. Passers-by offer money to buy it, and Shaun's pizza business is born, by accident.

Demand grows, so he has to scale up operations to employ all the other sheep — training them to handle various stages of production, from making the bases and tomato sauce, to adding the toppings, to serving customers.

One sheep is in charge of adding more logs on the fire to keep it burning hot. But business takes off so much that the production line is going like crazy, and this sheep runs out of wood.

She grabs for the nearest things that will burn... starting with furniture, but then moving to a barrel full of the banknotes customers have paid. She tips the lot in to the flames in a desperate bid to keep producing the pizzas customers are demanding.

Then, even that runs out, everything falls apart, and furious and impatient customers leave.

Have you ever heard a more perfect metaphor for how agencies can go wrong if they grow too fast without proper plans? How owners can see their profits getting burned in the desperation of trying to keep everyone happy?

Shaun the sheep finishes the episode absolutely no wealthier, despite hard work and ingenuity. He doesn't even get a pizza himself.

Food for thought?

Where is the profit getting burned in your agency? How can you plan for growth in a way that's sustainable and profitable? How do you remember to make sure you, as the owner, get some pizza too?

Watch highlights of the episode:

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