Many agency owners and leaders ask me about the AMI networks so I thought I would explain them here in my weekly note to all of you.

Very few people in your life truly understand the unique challenges and potential of running a small to mid-sized agency. If you’ve got a partner or two — you can kick ideas back and forth, but you’re all inside the same bottle. And just like we tell our clients — you can’t objectively see or describe the outside of the bottle from inside.

This is why our agency owner peer networks are the cornerstone of AMI. By joining a network you get the best of both worlds. You get that outside perspective you really need but from someone who walks in your shoes every day.

Each one has a mix of advertising agencies, PR firms, marketing shops, digital marketing, and design firms with the desire and drive to grow their business to the next level. Only one company from any specific geographic market or niche specialty is admitted to a network. This allows you to collaborate with people outside your bottle – to gain new perspectives and share ideas with other driven and passionate agency owners. The network is truly a safe and open harbor where valuable business connections and lifelong friendships develop.

The networks meet in person twice a year (for 2 full days + dinner on the night before we start) and stay in touch throughout the year. They share resources, partner on business, seek counsel and enjoy each other’s support, and when needed, a kick in the pants. Your network becomes your advisory team, sounding board, and a group of great friends.

At the in-person meetings (one in the fall and one in the spring) you will learn from each other’s experiences, challenges, and victories. We also share best practices in new business development, financial and marketing strategies, systems development, as well as organizational and staffing strategies. The groups often invite a speaker to join them for a part of a day for some on-going professional development that is specific to running an agency.

One of the most insightful aspects of each meeting is that every agency shares its financials with the group. Each person in your network has had their own financial trials and successes, and it’s amazing what you can learn when each person shares their story. Your peers contribute valuable information and strategies that you can utilize in growing your business and maximizing your potential.

To be considered for membership, you must:

  • Be an agency owner (a minority owner is okay)
  • Have attended either the Best Practices for Agency Management or Money Matters for Agency Owners workshop
  • Be interested in peer-group discussions and learning
  • Be willing to share your ideas, successes and failures generously and openly
  • Adhere to the AMI Manifesto

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about the networks and how they serve agency owners. I know they must be working because we have quite a few 15+ year members!