8 Actionable Tips for Running an Agency and Getting More Business
Below are 8 Tips:
TIP #1. Branding can be your competitive advantage As your business grows, your brand should grow too. Most agencies start out as freelancers or business duos that build out their service offering, so it can be tough to refine your services and identify your niche early on. But doing so is key—the way you brand your business is essential. Providing a unique offering for clients helps you stand out from competitors.In the early days, advertising agency Wonder sauce branded themselves as a web development company, but they evolved quickly. “When branding our agency, the landscape was littered with tech-specific agencies that focused on mobile or social,” says John Sampogna, CEO and cofounder. “Everyone was trying to chase trends and what was ‘next’. We thought that instead, being full service is essential.”Wonder sauce branched out from web design as their single offering to include product photography and social media promotion. They found it critical to build an agency structure where their only constant was change. Change is the business motto they embraced that allowed them to scale their core offering.Figure out your unfair advantage. It’s what puts a moat around your business.Alex O’Byrne,Director at We Make Websites Alex O’Byrne,Director at We Make Websites, offers some guidance on identifying your early stage branding: “Figure out your unfair advantage. It’s what puts a moat around your business.” For We Make Websites, their unfair advantage is that they’re an international business with experience working with brands globally. This branding helps them pry larger, global clients away from their competitors.For smaller businesses, finding your unfair advantage can be a struggle. John recommends some practical tips to get there with your business partner or team
friends, creating relationships with colleagues and knowing them outside of work can help team alignment.Once you’ve built the team, you now need to build the buy-in.Kelly Vaughn The struggle for Kelly was that she had a total of 9 employees who were all remotely distributed. “The team had a lack of familiarity with one another on a personal level,” Kelly recounts. “Yes, they talked when they were collaborating on projects, but there was no regular communication. And that’s a problem because once you’ve built the team, you now need to build the buy-in.”For the Taproom Agency, Kelly’s solution was to align the team and set individual goals. She focused on being transparent with them, checking in regularly, and making the effort to celebrate them and the brand.Alex echoes a similar sentiment. “Make sure you train folks and help them move up internally. People have career goals and you should look to support them. Losing some of your best talent because you didn’t help them reach their goals internally is tough. As a general rule, look to promote your superstars.”The culture of the workplace can be something that wins you clients, new hires, and keeps current employees around. The way you run the workplace is just as important as winning your next client.
TIP 5. Develop external partnershipsPartnerships with other businesses are a great way to grow your agency. Chase Clymer, cofounder of Electric Eye, has been building partnerships that have had a dramatic effect on the success of his business.“We have partnerships with other agencies and with the apps we use in our tech stack,” Chase explains. “Each relationship is unique, and we try to talk to them at least once a quarter.”To build partnerships, he suggests authenticy. “Don’t be robotic—be genuine, and make friends. You need to build actual connections with real human beings. You are both looking for the same thing—a mutually beneficial partnership. If you think it would be a good relationship, make the first move. And be sure to lead with value without asking for anything in return.”
Chase Clymer, cofounder of Electric Eye, sharing tips on how to stay focused on activities that help you grow an agency.Many small web design and development agencies are excellent at rebrands and design, but often lack the expertise to implement ecommerce SEO, web copy, or build a sales funnel. In this case, it makes sense to partner with a marketing agency. It’s a way you can earn more, share clients, and grow together.
TIP #6. Avoid getting lost in day to day work, and market your agency All the speakers at Pursuit NYC had the same warning for business owners: don’t get so lost working in your business that you forget to work on it. Tasks like marketing are just as important as the day-to-day operations of doing work for clients. And while marketing can be challenging, it’s important that it becomes a priority.Marketing isn’t bragging about how good your business is. Marketing should be about contributing to a community, sharing your expertise, and adding value to clients or other Partners.Some of the ways you can start adding value back to the community is by speaking at conferences For Alex of We Make Websites, speaking and hosting events have been key facets of marketing his agency. Doing so has provided an opportunity to connect with his audience, and help them out.“We help our audience win, before we sell them anything.”It was the perfect opportunity to both teach what I now know, and put the Taproom Agency on the map as a strategically with a very exciting future.Kelly Vaughn Kelly from the Taproom Agency echoes Alex’s outlook. “I’ve received so much good advice from other agency owners and seasoned managers. After my first year of running the Taproom Agency, I was confident enough in my own abilities and processes that I was eager to share what I’ve learned so far, which led me to giving a talk at Pursuit. It was the perfect opportunity to both teach what I now know, and put the Taproom Agency on the map as a strategically planned with a very exciting future.”If speaking at events isn’t your style, there are many other ways you can add value back to the community. You could teach a class at a local college or specialist organization like General Assembly, or even create a course on Skill share or Udemy.You could also write a blog, or host a podcast using a tool like bCast . For example Kurt who hosts a Podcast led a Masterclass at Pursuit Event, where he discussed his merchant-facing Podcast. During his masterclass, Kurt explained how his podcast serves as a helpful source of information, and how it plays an essential role in his marketing and sales strategy.If teaching, conferences, podcasts, or meetups haven’t been on your radar as a marketing activity, perhaps it’s
time to consider this venture. There’s huge value in being generous and contributing back to the community.Alex, cofounder of We Make Websites, sharing best practices at the Shopify London Meetup with merchants.Want to Learn How to Start Your Own Podcast without Using any Equipment or even saying a Single World Yourself. Then Try Out this NEW Podcast Creation and Distribution Suite Learn More
TIP 7. Prioritize how you handle and manage cash flow It’s obvious that cash is the life blood of a business, but talking about how to manage cash flow is a bit of a taboo subject. This comes with good reason—not many business owners want to be completely transparent about overheads. However, cash flow was a subject John from Wonder sauce wasn’t afraid to address.“Even if you’ve been net positive for a year, two years or whatever, go down to the bank and get a loan,” John recommends. “Say your revenue is around 7 or 8,000 per month; don’t be afraid to get a loan of 200,000. There’s two reasons for this. First, if things are going well right now, it’s great that your business is ascending, but unfortunately you will hit a trough where there’s no new clients or new projects coming in.It’s better to get to the bank now and get that cash. This is especially true for when you don’t need it. Put it to the side and pay back those monthly installments. Second, you need to get used to making those consistent payments and building up that trust with the bank, because it will be a lot easier to have access to that money when you need it in the future.”
John Sampogna, CEO and cofounder at Wonder sauce, sharing how he grew out his agency’s offerings.Alex agrees, and has a system that he recommends to other partners to keep that goal of being cash flow positive. “Retainers need to be paid ahead of the work,” he emphasizes. “If the full amount can’t be paid, take at least a 50 percent deposit upfront. If your client is able to pay in full before the work is carried out, we offer them a 10 percent discount on the total fee. And we’re always on the lookout to build up retainers of repeat work to cover our costs.”It can be dangerous to assume that your cash flow will continue to grow as your business does. Set up a financial plan and payment structure so you can alleviate monetary worries as much as possible.
TIP #8. Don’t forget to invest in yourself Yes, you’re very busy as an agency owner or founder, but you should never stop learning or looking to improve your work. It’s easy to put self-development aside when you’re dealing with a constant stream of tasks that always seem to be business critical. However, taking the time to level up your skills is an investment in your business.“Try taking a class, attend a conference or networking event, and treat yourself to an upgrade by purchasing new equipment.” Kelly recommends. “But more importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself and meet your basic needs. Eat well, sleep for 8 hours, and take time off when you need it!”It’s easy to get caught up growing your business, but don’t let attention and care about your health slip away. The time you spend away from your business is just important as the time you spend in it.
A final say on running an agency Running an agency is an exciting journey. It’s how you navigate the peaks and the troughs that can help you build a sustainable business and I hope you Implement these Strategies and gain Results for your Business….
Rooting For You!