agency growth

5 Overlooked Metrics Your Agency Needs to Measure for a Profitable 2017

Running a business takes everything you have. Entrepreneurs pour their creativity, passion, effort, savings -- their everything -- into their work. And five years after they start, half of them are out of business. A decade later, two-thirds have called it quits. But why? For marketing firms, I believe it comes down to a lack of diligent measurement. Sure, measuring and tracking may not be the sexiest part of running an agency, but it's the only way to ensure you're not throwing money away. Commit to tracking these five things in 2017, and you'll have your most profitable year yet. 5 Metrics Your Agency Should Measure in 2017 1) Adjusted Gross Income per Full-Time Equivalent Employee Determining your number of full-time equivalent employees (FTE) is a convenient way to measure labor. To do this, denominate employees into 40-hour-a-week units. A full-time employee is equal to one FTE. A 20-hour-a-week employee is 0.5 FTE. Your target should be $150,000 of adjusted gross income (AGI) for every FTE. That amount should cover salaries, benefits, and overhead while leaving enough profit to reinvest in the business or offer bonuses to high-achieving team members. Years ago, the target AGI for each FTE was $100,000. Inflation accounts for some of the increase, but marketing agencies are also hiring expensive people to fill positions on growing digital teams. In short, the world has changed. It's gotten more expensive. Many marketing agencies haven't adjusted their billing rates to keep up -- and that's a big problem. If you're only earning $100,000 per FTE, your agency likely isn't very profitable. Those thin margins carry extra risk when an unexpected tax bill comes due, equipment breaks down, or you need a retention bonus for [...]

How to Clear the Obstacles that Prevent You from Growing and Scaling Your Business with Karl Sakas

Starting an agency is easy. Growing and scaling your business is anything but. There are lots of obstacles and landmines, not to mention just trying to run the agency, which can get in the way.  My podcast guest Karl Sakas and I chatted about those obstacles and how to move around them.   Some of the specifics we talked about included: the number one question owners must answer in order to understand what type of agency they want to grow ways to delegate work so you can focus on what you love about agency work how agencies can manage their time, stating, “no one will defend your time but you” how to figure out where you want to go and get people to help you so you can get there faster. Karl Sakas served as the #2 man in a couple different digital agencies before he created the Marketing Agencies community at Inbound.org, which has over 1,000 agencies in 48 countries. As president of Sakas and Company, Karl advises agencies worldwide about strategy, operations, and leadership.He has recently published a book entitled, “The In Demand Marketing Agency: How to Use Public Speaking to Become an Agency of Choice.” To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/karl-sakas/) and grab either the itunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web.   If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below. If you're going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn't you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invest in employees, and best of [...]

Managing Business Growth to Create a Sustainable Business with Trent Dyrsmid

There’s no topic that is not more top of mind for an agency owner than growing your agency so it is stronger, more profitable and more sustainable.  In a recent podcast with Trent Dyrsmid, we talked scaling your agency and managing business growth. Trent built, scaled and sold an agency and I wanted him to tell us how. In this podcast, Trent discusses innovative techniques to managing and growing your agency:  Among other things, he covers: picking a niche for your agency giving you power in pricing and increased traction becoming aware of your capacity as an agency - being busy doesn’t mean higher profits why you need social media for lead generation, no matter your agency’s niche finding the right balance in workload for your team how to implement new systems into the agency. Before Trent Dyrsmid started a digital agency called Groove, he founded Dyrand Systems, a managed IT service provider that was recognized twice as one of Canada’s PROFIT Magazine’s 100 fastest growing companies. In addition to overseeing Groove, Trent is also the host of the Bright Ideas podcast, where he regularly publishes interviews with some of today’s brightest entrepreneurs from around the globe. To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/trent-dyrsmid/) and grab either the itunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web.   If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below. If you're going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn't you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees, and best of all, more [...]

Podcasting for Profit and Understanding the Power of Podcasting with Douglas Burdett

Podcasting seems like the “it” thing lately. On top of that, podcasting for profit is growing rapidly on its own, and can be done without appearing too ad-heavy and spammy. It’s a great weapon to have in your arsenal and you might have thought about giving it a go but stopped short wondering, “Where do I start?” and “How do I differentiate myself in the vast podcasting world?” Well, my guest, Douglas Burdett asked himself the same questions and came up with some successful and profitable answers. In this podcast, Douglas and I delve into the power of podcasting. Among other things, we cover: carving out a niche for your agency what it takes to get started and build momentum how to create a podcast that attracts how a podcast can help grow your business how podcasting for profit works the impact podcasting can have on your agency Douglas Burdett is a B2B marketing agency principle and a former Madison Avenue ad man. His aptly named agency, Artillery, (he was a former artillery officer), helps agencies get found online, convert website traffic to leads, and nurture leads towards a sale. Douglas authors two marketing blogs, Forward Observer and Fire Support, and he hosts The Marketing Book Podcast. To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/douglas-burdett/) and grab either the iTunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web. If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below. If you're going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn't you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invest in employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom [...]

Essential Business Building Strategies You Need to Grow Your Agency with Jason Falls

As an agency owner, you know that if you're not ready to evolve your agency with business building strategies, you'd better get ready to retire. The agency business is undergoing an incredible metamorphosis and most agency owners are running at full speed to keep up. That's where my conversation with Jason Falls, Senior Vice-President, Digital Strategy at Elasticity and author of several books on social media and email marketing, started. (listen to the podcast here) From there we move to agency hierarchy and structure, the impact of millennials on current day politics and the importance of building strategic alliances. It's a whirlwind hour of debate, stories and a few good laughs.  I think you'll not only enjoy it, but you'll also get some business building strategies you can put into play right away. To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/jason-falls/) and grab either the iTunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web. If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below. If you're going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn't you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invest in employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan. Drew: Hey everybody, this is Drew McLellan, and I am really excited to be with you today. As an agency owner, I know all too well the risks we take every day. This podcast is about making sure if we're going to take [...]

Hey agency owner – make 2015 the year of action

My wish for you -is that 2015 is your year of action! I don't know about you but as much as I love the holidays, I look forward to this time of year as well.  The slate is clean and for the first couple weeks in January as things rev back up -- it's the perfect time to finish your annual planning. Want to have a spectacular year?  Here's how to give yourself a fighting chance. Complete the One Page Business Plan for the year and follow it. Institute a bonus program that gets every single employee focused on AGI (ask me more about the AMI model) Have an aggressive, unstoppable new business system and assign a bulldog inside your agency to manage it Resolve to be a owner of action this year What do I mean by being an owner of action? I think one of the human truths that cripples many agencies is that their owners are too slow to take action.  You either overthink everything or you are a little passive/aggressive and hope if you ignore an issue, it will go away. I know running an agency is complicated and exhausting -- but honestly, sometimes you are the one who makes it that way.  (I can say that because I've also said it to the guy in the mirror more than once!)  Are you sometimes going to make the wrong call?  You bet.  But more times than not, you know what you need to do. You're just afraid to do it. Owning an agency takes a blend of insanity, courage and confidence. I think he recession beat a lot of that courage and confidence out of agency owners.  The ones who are back and kicking ass are the [...]

Who should be driving agency new business efforts?

Looking for the silver bullet for agency new business efforts? I could sell a great new business person to agency owners all day long. They don't just want one -- they hunger for one. In fact, they're so hungry for that killer salesperson that they'll gladly pay a premium salary and perks to 8-10 losers before they find someone who can even cover their own salary. And that's just for the privilege of breaking even. Hardly a home run in the agency new business efforts World Series. In a recent new Agency-Marketer Business Report from RSW/US, 80 percent of agency respondents said the tenure of their new business director was two years or less. And (my editorial, not the study's) it was a very frustrating and expensive 2 years at that. Adweek covered the story and concurred with the study's findings. They had quotes from some of the bog box agencies and even a client or two who said agency new business people didn't get their business issues. I know it's a different world when you're JWT or Saatchi, but in the world of most privately owned agencies -- agency owners have two choices: You can gamble on finding/hiring someone who has incredible sales skills AND can talk marketing/business problems with prospects You can get over yourself and accept what you know but don't want to hear.  The best new business person in your agency is you. I can't tell you how many times I have been in a conversation with a new business agency owner who said "for XYZ reason, I had to step into the new business role and we are killing it! We've got 5 proposals out and we've already increased AGI 20% over last year." The reality [...]