Author: Forbes Agency Council
Original Publication: Forbes
Date Published: March 2, 2018
Attaining success with your business is the goal of every digital agency owner. You strive to do better than the year before and work harder than ever to accomplish your goals for every quarter. As much as you try, you may face obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your revenue goals, especially when you are a new agency owner.
Staying a step ahead of the game and anticipating the next trend in digital can give your agency the leg up it needs to move to the next level and reach those higher-tier milestones.
Below, nine members of Forbes Agency Council share the one tip they can offer a newbie agency owner that can help take their business over the $1 million revenue mark. Here is what they recommend:
Experts share a few ways you can help your agency succeed.
1. Value Your Time
Have the courage to pitch big clients outside your comfort zone and price your hourly rate at a competitive level. You don’t want to be the high bid in an RFP, but you also don’t want to be the “cheap” agency option either. Value your time and the client will also. Then differentiate yourself through your pitch, your ideas and your work ethic. Clients will respect that more than a low or high bid. – Dan Kahn, Kahn Media Inc.
2. Remember It Takes Time To Generate Revenue
Don’t worry if you’re not making any revenue from the start — it takes time to build a business. Make sure you have six to 12 months of savings or cash reserves to support you and the business during this time. Always focus on operations and bottom line profitability, which will allow you, in turn, to be able to think creatively and service your clients well. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne
3. Don’t Give Up
Work hard at your craft and always be courteous to your stakeholders: employees, clients, shareholders, competitors. Always look to gain market intelligence and expand your business and your services. The first three years will be the toughest, but stick with it. – Daniel Lazarz, Life of Dad Agency
4. Ditch Spec Creative
Never do creative on specs. It is tempting to think that if someone sees your work, they will be impressed and hire you for a paying job. In my 35 years in the field, it never helped. – Nikolai Mentchoukov, LIQWID(R)
5. Focus On What You’re Good At
You cannot be everything to everyone. Determine what services you are an expert at and refine your skills, services and capabilities around those deliverables. – Amanda Stein, EXPAND
6. Create Processes For Everything You Do
It’s imperative that you create processes for everything you do that other people can follow and then you can trust them to follow. You can’t scale your agency if you’re still doing everyone’s job — you have to focus on growth and let your staff shine. If you don’t create defined processes, then they won’t be able to do them without you. – David Ward, Meticulosity
7. Be Patient And Work Hard
Be patient and willing to put in the work to reach your goals. Starting an agency is an exciting endeavor, but requires a high level of focus, determination and skill. Curating and hiring a team of leaders in the industry will help develop winning strategies for your clients, resulting in long-term relationships. – Lauren Shirreffs, 2Social
8. Focus On Profit Margins
Focus on profit margins over revenue. You can start an agency with little to no money, but the importance of knowing your financial model and how you will make money, and then pay yourself, is key to success. Be sure to put anywhere between 10-20% of your net profits aside in case you come across any slow sales time periods. Doing so will help you stress less, too. – Suttida Yang, Fastmarkit
9. Establish Your Culture Early On
When launching your agency, it’s critical to establish your culture and core values early on. Doing so will help to ensure that you attract and hire the right type of people. In a services company, you and your team are the “product,” and how you deliver your services will become a big part of your brand identity. – David Lewis, DemandGen International, Inc.