4 Things Successful Agencies Are Doing Right Now
Does your agency have the right people and the right systems in place? Do you want to work smarter, not harder? If it seems like no matter how much time and work you invest, you just stay stagnant, it may be time to review these four basic things.
In this episode, we'll cover:
- 4 things successful agencies are doing right now.
- Why you shouldn't compare yourself to larger agencies.
- How do you measure your agency's success?
- Are you planning to sell your agency someday?
Today I sat down to talk with Robert Craven, founder of GYDA Initiative and author of Grow Your Digital Agency. Robert works with digital agencies to help them figure out what they want and the life they want to live. He's here to talk about what he thinks is working right now (and what's not) and why so many smaller agencies struggle.
4 Things Successful Agencies are Doing Right Now
There's no doubt many agencies across the globe are struggling right now. While the pandemic has hit some industries harder than others, Robert says there are a few things he has noticed some agencies are doing right to stay afloat in today's economic climate. So what can you do to grow your agency today and when the economy gets back to "normal"?
- Start with strategy: Where are we going? Do you have a vision? Do you have a plan for success?
- Focus on marketing: Are you struggling to convert prospects? Trouble generating leads? Don't let your own marketing take a backseat. Make time to work on the business, instead of just in it.
- Build your team: Hire the right people in the right seats. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and be smart about how you grow your agency team.
- Understand the finances: How is your cash flow looking and how can you improve the situation? Consider: changing payment terms, raising prices, or even firing those PIA clients who aren't profitable.
Naturally, Robert has also noticed things that don't work, regardless of the economic climate. This includes:
- Hiding your head in the sand — just because you don't want it to happen, doesn't mean it won't.
- Thinking just because you can create a good product/service people are going to buy it.
- Focusing on you instead of the client. Let them be the hero -- you should be Alfred (the advisor) and position the client as Batman.
Why You Shouldn't Compare Yourself to Larger Agencies
Robert and I have both worked with many smaller agencies that attempt to replicate the success of larger agencies. They'll go in and copy the website or a marketing campaign because "if it worked for them, it will work for us." This simply isn't true.
The successful agencies are the ones who take time to do the boring stuff. They measure time and profitability and have long-term contracts in place. But they're also the ones who are able to be a solution to their client's problems. Remember, your client doesn't want to hear about how great you are or what awards you won, they want to hear how you will make their life easier.
How Do You Measure Your Agency's Success?
How does your agency define success? Most agency owners look at margins, EBITDA, or how many clients they have. But profits are variable and can depend on a variety of factors. As such, they aren't always the most reliable indicator of success.
At the end of the day, most of us got into the business to be able to do what we want and pick and choose who we work with. But you can't just skip to the end and have a million-dollar agency. To find success, you need to go back to the basics. Understand how to manage a business and people and figure out how to get the right systems in place. Success doesn't just come down to the numbers. It's about fulfillment and significance.
Are You Planning to Sell Your Agency Some Day?
I tell agency owners I work with, start with the end in mind. What do you want to get out of your agency and how do you plan to get there? A lot of the time, the end goal is to sell the agency for a profit. But what if you didn't?
If you run a successful agency, selling it isn't your only option. You may be tired of the day-to-day grind now, but as agency owners, we're creators. While the idea of selling your agency and living off the proceeds may seem great, in actuality, it can quickly become boring. Instead, why not take a step back and bring on someone to run the agency while you continue to pull a paycheck? Then when you are ready to sell, you have allowed your agency to grow even bigger.
The agencies that have the most success are the ones who have a good understanding of the basics. Understand your agency and make yourself a trusted advisor. When you do, you'll find it easier to have the freedom to pick and choose what you want to do.
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