Episode 110:

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. For the past 23+ years, he has also owned and operated his own agency. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an active agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — he has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”



What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why all agencies weren’t made to grow to the same size (and why that’s okay)
  • Why agency owners have to work extremely hard when they’re at 0-5 employees and why all the employees in an agency that size have to wear multiple hats
  • The bench strength problem for agencies with 5-12 employees and why there might only be one employee with a certain skill and no one to back them up
  • Why the systems in processes must change for an agency once it hits 12 employees
  • The change around 15 employees that takes an agency from being a family to being a team
  • The decision-making process: why decisions are made collectively before agencies reach 12 employees and why agency owners need to take more autonomy at times as the agency grows
  • Why around 35 employees is a great size for agencies in terms of cash flow (and why a gorilla client can be very dangerous at this point)
  • Bigger, better clients and bigger, better employees: why 35-65 employees is the point where agencies “level up”
  • Why bigger doesn’t equal more profitable for agencies anymore


The Golden Nugget:

“In the Mad Men days, bigger was always better for agencies. That’s not true anymore.” – @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet


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Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

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