Although it may be counter intuitive, for the owner, a bigger marketing agency requires less work, produced less stress and is easier to manage and run than a small one. If you are afraid to grow your less than 10 person agency for fear of having a tougher, more stressful business than you have now, then read on to discover why, if done right, the opposite is true.
Most agency owners that I talk to, tell me their lives are full of stress and tension, full of really hard work and uncertainty. One hears conflicting remedies for this; some say cut back, some say get bigger. It’s all very confusing.
Why scaling may feel wrong
There is a natural tendency for people in situations of stress to want to retreat; to simplify their lives and so under such a circumstances, scaling is not a natural or attractive choice. The thought process is “I have so much on my plate as it is now, how will I ever manage to cope if I grow?”.
Here’s why those instincts are wrong:
When your agency is small you wear many hats. You are involved with every aspect of the business. You are spread thin and all responsibility sits with you. Not enough attention is placed on recruiting the right people to work with you and the business and management side is typically subordinated to the need to getting client projects completed and collecting the cash. And that’s not even the half of it.
Critical things that don’t get done properly
The critical things that you don’t get done properly when your agency is small are:
- Systematized and more deliberate client acquisition with an emphasis on more suitable clients that generate more margin and that are retained for longer.
- Good recruitment practices which not only ensure that employees contribute more, so you get better value from them, but that they remain with you for longer.
- Insufficient planning and associated thought processes, which has a tremendous impact on you being able to steer your agency strategically and operate efficiently in the long term.
The key principle that makes a bigger marketing agency easier
The key thing is to accept is that to make it work, you need to switch your identity from being primarily a creative or marketing person to being primarily a pragmatic business person, whose mission is to set up a competent organization that will serve you. Make this critical shift and you will completely transform your business and your life. With the right people you will be able to delegate more and thereby reduce your operational workload. This will free up more time to work on strategic issues in your business – on things that are going to make more difference and have more impact. This will result in the business being able to generate more profit and grow its value.
As you grow, your day-to-day responsibilities will drastically diminish and your life will get easier while your business keeps thriving. This is not a fairy tale. This is what can happen for you.
The reality of the marketing agency world around you
If you look around, there are many agencies much larger than yours. So what I have been talking about is possible. All that’s needed is for you to learn how to do it. Before you click away onto the next thing, take a minute to think about this: what’s the missing link for you? What catalyst do you need to be able to make the changes you probably know need to be made?
If you are interested in scaling your agency, check out the Scale Your Agency program that successfully helps marketing agency owners get to $1m EBITDA