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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute.
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Build a Better Agency Podcast
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Now displaying: 2023
Dec 25, 2023

It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of day-to-day agency life. We all have a million things on our to-do lists, and they just keep growing. But part of being a successful agency owner is being present and open to what’s right in front of you.

 

Doug Fleener knows all about what it means to run a business intentionally. With history as a business owner and a rock bottom moment that led him into recovery, he’s had to learn some truths about life the hard way. But from that, he has developed some core principles to help business and agency owners live more intentionally.

His six core principles can help anyone start their day on the right foot to make incremental but powerful life changes. All it takes is one day to wake up and decide to make positive changes, and if you take anything away from this episode, it’s that intentional actions create intentional results.

This episode is packed with action items that are not only simple concepts but also easy to implement. I have no doubt that Doug will leave you feeling inspired and ready to start 2024 with a fresh set of eyes and a renewed inspiration to take intentional action toward making your year great.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

core principles

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Learning to live in the day and making each day a little better
  • Taking responsibility of yourself to make positive change
  • Intentional actions create intentional results
  • Practicing relentless simplicity in life and business
  • Thinking of 3 things you can improve each day
  • Micro habits that feed greater improvements
  • Helping others to help yourself
  • Mastering the ability to be present
  • Having more intentionality throughout your day
  • Implementing the 6 core principles and applying them to your business
Dec 18, 2023

Remote and hybrid work environments are here to stay. While some agencies have successfully returned to the office full-time, and some may have never even left, many agencies are still struggling to crack the code on hybrid work without upsetting their employees.

 

It’s a difficult balance, but it has become ever-important as these demands begin cementing into our work culture. And if you’re working with creatives, the conversation around a hybrid workplace has probably been even louder.

So this week, we’re joined by Felice Ekelman and Julie Kantor, authors of Thrive With a Hybrid Workplace: Step-by-step Guidance From the Experts, to teach us how to approach these conversations and transitions from a legal and psychological point-of-view.

We all know that as agency owners, there’s nothing more expensive or as valuable as our employees, and we just want them to be happy working with us. So tune in to learn how to have these conversations and set expectations around hybrid work environments so we can all have a better agency together.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

hybrid work environment

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The making of the Thrive With a Hybrid Workplace book
  • The shifts and trends of hybrid and remote work post-covid
  • Creating a balance in a hybrid work environment
  • The challenges for agency leaders in creating a collaborative hybrid work environment and maintaining communication
  • What type of training agency leaders need to build a thriving hybrid work culture
  • How to develop productivity benchmarks without the ability to observe in person
  • Getting agency leaders out of the fear mindset and setting appropriate boundaries with agency employees
Dec 11, 2023

Agencies are under more pressure than ever to be innovative. While it used to be easier to solve your clients’ problems and wow them with a great solution, these days, it’s much harder to do that with the bar constantly moving. This is why it’s essential to develop an innovation strategy.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to bring a lofty, innovative idea to a client and have them be over the moon and excited to be a part of the process? With the right innovation strategy, that dream can be a reality.

An innovation strategy can help your team jumpstart the creative and problem-solving process while leaving room for co-creation and collaboration with your clients. This streamlines the creative process and takes the pressure off you and your team to have all the answers while you search for the solutions to their problems.

Tune in to learn how your agency can become problem-solving and innovation experts by asking the right questions, enacting decisive decision-making, and building out a creative workflow.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

innovation strategy

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The hardest part of innovation
  • Collaboration is key for driving innovation
  • Boiling down the “how” of problem-solving and innovation
  • Creating an upstream methodology — the question-asking stage
  • Getting a client to buy into an innovative idea
  • The importance of collaboration and outside input for an innovation strategy
  • The landmines to be aware of in the upstream production stages
  • Workshopping ideas to produce quicker outcomes
Dec 4, 2023

It’s no secret that 2023 has been a rough year for most agency owners. Between the elongated sales cycles, shrinking prospect budgets, and the need to re-evaluate some of our own expenses that have been piling up, many of you are feeling burnt out.

 

But it’s not all bad news. There’s still time to take a fresh look at how you want to run your agency in 2024 and pull yourself out of the trenches if 2023 has gotten the better of you. This episode will focus on what we can be doing differently in 2024 in our biz dev strategy, which will make next year a little less stressful for us.

We’re taking a look at the data that Lee McKnight Jr. and his agency have compiled from many agency owners about their experiences throughout 2023. And while many of you were plagued with lower-budget prospects, dried-up client referrals, and slowed client growth, this leaves a glimmer of hope that the pendulum will swing the other way for us next year.

So don’t miss this episode to learn how to dial in your biz dev strategy and prepare for what we hope is an exciting new year full of new prospects, bigger returns, and, of course, happier agency owners.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

biz dev strategy

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The strain on obtaining new business in 2023 and its effects on agencies
  • How agency owners have been coping with elongated sales cycles
  • The importance of staying vigilant in business development even when work is abundant
  • Shrinking prospect budgets and diminishing returns on new business
  • Keeping up with client outreach, especially in an elongated sales cycle
  • The biz dev strategies that still work to obtain new business
  • What to expect from a new business manager
  • The four prongs of biz dev that will still get you out of a rut
  • What outbound efforts are still working on clients
  • The biz dev strategies that are working and what to avoid in the new year
Nov 27, 2023

2023 is quickly coming to a close, so it’s time for agency owners to start thinking about the year ahead to come up with their 2024 game plan. With holiday hibernation quickly approaching for most agency owners, this is the perfect time to reflect on 2023 and start thinking about what we want to improve for 2024.

Many of us are coming out of a less-than-ideal year that threw us a lot of curveballs. So, if this year wasn’t your year, what game plan can you develop to make 2024 even better?

This episode is packed with a ton of action items that will set you on the path to getting your agency on the right track as soon as you’re back from the holidays. Whether you’re looking to tighten up your budget, grow your existing clients, reevaluate your team, or even find more time to do something memorable this year, this episode has everything you need to do to make your game plan and stick to it.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency owner

In This Episode:

  • Making a game plan aligned with the legacy you want to leave
  • Creating a budget and aligning your expenses to it
  • Connecting better with your team to help them grow
  • Have a career path for every position
  • Improving your leadership team, including the agency owner
  • Identifying A, B, C, and D players
  • Having a growth plan for existing clients
  • Finding your niche and owning it
  • How will you show your clients and team you appreciate them?
  • What is one thing that would make 2024 unbelievable for you?
Nov 20, 2023

Finding right-fit clients, especially in a slow economy, is always a frustrating task. For the past year or so, agency owners have been expressing more and more frustrations over finding and keeping good clients at the right price point.

 

In this episode, Jason Swenk shares some tips and tricks about what he sees agencies doing right when it comes to client acquisition that keeps them profitable even in the toughest economies. He shares the 3 main channels where agencies can find right-fit clients — hint: it’s got nothing to do with referrals — that position your agency as a must-have problem solver for prospects.

If you’re ready to find the perfect clients, get paid what you’re worth (or more), and make them feel like they can’t live without your services, this is your episode. You’ll learn some tangible tips for impressing clients and staying ahead of the curve to keep them interested.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

right-fit clients

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What the agencies who are getting new clients are doing right
  • Getting clear on the types of clients you want to go after
  • Why you shouldn’t rely on referrals as your main client go-getter
  • Figuring out how to solve your clients’ problems innovatively
  • The 3 main channels you should be resourcing to find right-fit clients
  • Why podcasting is one of the greatest inbound sales channels
  • Creating an attractive offer ladder without using retainers
  • What does the agency of the future look like?
  • 2 of the biggest challenges agencies need to anticipate for the future
Nov 13, 2023

We’ve all lowballed ourselves when going into negotiations. Whether it was for a raise, a proposal to a new client, a request to be a keynote speaker or a promotion, we’ve probably left opportunity on the table without even realizing it.

The good news is that it’s extremely common, so you’re not alone. But the bad news is that you could probably be getting so much more than you realize, but you’re not asking in the right way.

 

This week, Dia Bondi teaches us how to ask like an auctioneer in negotiations. At auctions, you’re not looking for an immediate yes. You’re searching until you ultimately find that no, and that’s where the fun really begins.

You never know what you can get until you ask, but if you never receive that initial “no” and start the negotiation process, you’ll never know where the ceiling of potential is for your ask. So, in this episode, Dia encourages us to step out of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves to maximize our potential to further ourselves and our careers by learning to ask like an auctioneer.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

negotiations

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What it means to ask like an auctioneer
  • Finding your ZOFO
  • Why you should always look for a no to maximize the potential of your proposals
  • The 4 different types of asks you can make
  • What to do when you’re met with a no
  • The Boomerang Effect that can turn a no into a yes later on
  • The 6-step framework that will build your confidence in negotiations
  • Letting go of asking for what you think you deserve
  • What to do when the “no” is a hard no
Nov 6, 2023

Usually, a sabbatical is for people who need time to rest and recharge. But did you know that sabbaticals are important for your agency operations, too?

 

This week, we’re taking a different approach to the ongoing conversation we’ve been having about systems and processes, agency operations, and ways to optimize your business growth. From Alyson Caffrey’s perspective, it’s not just employees and agency owners who need time to rest and recharge — your business does, too.

Blocking out time to work on biz dev and improving systems and processes is the break your agency needs in order to grow. Like training for a marathon, an agency needs time to rest and create muscle memory around new agency operations.

With these dedicated mini sabbaticals, not only will your agency be more optimized, but it will increase your agency value when it’s time to start working on succession planning. You literally can’t afford not to try this method out.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency operations

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The two traditional forms of sabbaticals people take
  • What is an agency sabbatical?
  • How we can weave sabbaticals into our daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly routines
  • Setting boundaries that help you weave rest into your work routine
  • What it means to allow rest for the agency
  • How to retrain your team to protect their time and use it purposefully
  • Getting agency operations to function flawlessly without bottlenecks
  • Identifying which systems and processes to document and how to break them down into more manageable pieces
  • Starting where you’re at without pressuring yourself to be perfect
Oct 30, 2023

Productivity means profitability. One of the key ways to boost your productivity is to hone in on your systems and processes to get things done faster and more efficiently without bottlenecking your creative process.

This week, we’re chatting with Michelle LaBrosse, a systems and processes expert, about how agency owners, teams, and even clients can work together to be faster and get projects done in as little as two weeks.

 

Sound too good to be true? It won’t after the hour is up.

Michelle has been perfecting agency systems and processes for decades, and her methodology has become standard practice for many. Her tips and tools for boosting productivity and project efficiency will leave you wondering why you haven’t adopted these systems and processes sooner.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

systems and processes

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Breaking deliverables and projects into 2-week deadlines
  • Getting everyone on the same page about what “done” means
  • How having more systems and processes can aid creativity
  • How to get the client on board with your process
  • Getting away from overcomplicated systems and processes
  • The process behind creating simple processes
  • Making tools fit the workflow, not the other way around
  • How agency owners and leaders can respect new systems and processes
  • Owning your distraction issues that stifle productivity
Oct 23, 2023

Many agency owners want to see 20% growth (or more) year over year while staying profitable. This goal isn’t entirely unrealistic, but the bigger you get, the harder it is to maintain such impressive numbers if you’re not investing resources in the right things to support that growth.

For this week’s solocast, I have some homework for you to do to help you see if you’re prepared to meet your growth goals in 2024. Don’t worry; we will do it together while I walk you through how to crunch the numbers step-by-step.

If you want to follow along, grab your P&L statement and our growth goal worksheet linked below, and get ready to do some math. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a much clearer picture of where your agency is at financially and what level of growth you can support next year based on the numbers we calculate today.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

growth goals

In This Episode:

  • The basics of staying at 20% profit while doubling in size
  • The mistakes we often make when setting end-of-year growth goals
  • How to set a healthy growth goal based on your agency stats
  • Why attrition affects your growth goal, and how much
  • Emphasizing the role AEs play in growing clients
  • What your agency needs if you plan to grow more than 15% year over year
  • Which tough decisions agency owners need to make to hit growth goals
  • The importance of niching down to boost growth
Oct 16, 2023

One of the most common questions we still receive is about how to decouple yourself from the day-to-day grind of agency life and finally get to focus on being an agency owner. Many of us became accidental entrepreneurs and owners, and now that we have teams to lead, it can be hard to stop doing the old work that got us started on this journey.

 

This week, Lien De Pau is giving us a roadmap for successfully decoupling ourselves from the daily grind so we can start focusing on biz dev, sales, admin, and other tasks that often get put on the back burner in favor of things that we could easily delegate or outsource.

The key to growing (and eventually selling) an agency is to get out of your own way and become irrelevant to the business. Join us to learn how to start advocating for your own success as an agency owner and get out of the daily grind holding your agency back from reaching its peak potential.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency owner

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The mindset work that begins the process of removing yourself from the day-to-day
  • Hiring out your weaknesses to others
  • Letting go of your ego getting in the way
  • The 5-step roadmap to decouple yourself from the agency
  • How creative agency owners can productize their services to facilitate SOPs
  • The roadblocks agency owners face when stepping away from the day-to-day
  • Acting like an entrepreneur vs. an employee
  • Leveling up as an entrepreneur
  • How agency growth is linked to your success in the decoupling process
Oct 9, 2023

Shifting agency culture has been a huge point of contention for many agency owners since the beginning of the pandemic. For some, it’s brought a lot of challenges in understanding how we can work as a team while being scattered around, while others have embraced the changes and have tried to adapt the best they can.

However, it can still be challenging to fully adapt to how quickly agency life has changed in just a few years. Our guest today, Gustavo Razzetti, has one simple message for us — it’s time to accept that agency life as we know it has changed forever, and we need to figure out what that means for us and our teams.

 

Agency culture may never be the same, but we shouldn’t be less successful because of it. Join us in listening to our discussion about creating an effective agency culture for you and your team, whether hybrid, remote, or trying to figure out something entirely new. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but we can at least help get the wheels spinning so you can figure out where to begin.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

 

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why agency culture is so important today compared to in past decades
  • Creating a workplace culture that makes people want to work there AND stay
  • Welcoming communication and collaboration in remote or hybrid teams
  • Getting a facilitator involved in agency culture shifts
  • Trialing new ideas and work strategies before fully committing
  • Workplace trends that are coming, and what’s here to stay
  • Why the 9-5 is dead, but the 4-day work week isn’t the solution
  • Flexibility goes both ways
  • Helping clients overcome common remote workplace challenges
  • Involving employees in problem-solving earlier in the process
  • How owners and leaders can create a strong agency culture in a new modern work environment
Oct 2, 2023

No matter how experienced you are, everyone gets nervous before getting up in front of a room full of people to speak. The adrenaline starts pumping, and you start doubting yourself and your ideas a little bit. It’s a universal experience we’ve all felt at least once in our lives.

Michael Weiss is here to teach us that giving presentations doesn’t have to be the stressful, nerve-wracking experience we often make it out to be. When you boil it down, it’s just an exchange of ideas you’re gifting to your audience. And with enough rehearsal and understanding of your speaking style, it can be engaging and fun, too.

 

If you have a sales pitch, an important client presentation, or even a big presentation on stage at a conference coming up, be sure to refer back to this episode to learn professional strategies for how to deliver an informative presentation while keeping your audience engaged and interested.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency employee presentations

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Helping people recognize they’ve earned the right to be on stage
  • Understanding that the audience wants you to succeed
  • Why you must always rehearse before presentations, and for how long
  • Getting more comfortable with rehearsing presentations
  • How agency leaders can set great examples for the team with presentations
  • Finding a groove when presenting with multiple speakers
  • Honoring your speaking style and giving engaging presentations
  • How to have brilliant and clear slide decks
  • Reading the audience and keeping them engaged
Sep 25, 2023

With new client acquisition at an all-time low, it’s more important than ever to focus on growing your existing client base. In fact, 60 to 70 percent of your net new revenue should now come from existing clients to continue being profitable.

This means it’s time to teach your AE’s how crucial it is to know how to navigate agency math, foster agency growth, and sell new, innovative ideas to your existing clients. Many AEs don’t realize it’s their job to do these tasks, which means there’s room for improvement from agency owners to teach them these skills so your agency can continue to grow in a difficult economic time.

In this episode, we’ll cover topics like the roles AEs play in agency growth and growing existing clients, how to adjust your work scope over time to remain profitable, the importance of bringing innovative ideas to your clients, and many more actionable items for your team to learn and grow from.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

existing client base, AEs

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to get 60 to 70 percent of your net new revenue to come from existing clients
  • The cost of acquiring new clients over growing existing ones
  • How to adjust a growing work scope with a client over time
  • The importance of teaching AEs agency math and how we make money
  • Where AEs need to step up to help grow the existing client base
  • Allowing clients to talk about the problems they need to be solved
  • How we frustrate our clients by being too timid
  • Being a catalyst for bringing experts together to solve your client’s problems
Sep 18, 2023

There’s more M&A activity amongst agencies than ever before. As agency owners get older and running the business becomes more stressful, many owners are running out of gas and looking for a reset. This means there has never been a more perfect time if you’re looking to buy an agency. And if you’re looking to sell, it might go faster than you anticipate.

We know that M&As are stressful on both sides of the deal, no matter how much you plan ahead. So this week, we’re taking a deep dive into the whole process — how far in advance to plan your sale, valuation, succession planning, dealing with the emotions behind it, and much more.

Even if you’re not planning to sell your agency right now, eventually, this will become a reality, and it’s always better to be ahead of the curve. So don’t miss this longer episode packed with tips for passing the torch and preparing for the future of your agency.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

M&A

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why M&A activity is so high right now
  • The strongest factors that will determine agency valuation
  • How to assess your agency valuation
  • Preparing 3-5 years in advance for an M&A
  • Passing the torch to a new owner and being the buyer’s cheerleader
  • Giving your employees the opportunity to be an internal buyer
  • Preparing for an M&A for both a buyer and a seller
  • Expenses to expect when preparing for a sale on both sides
Sep 11, 2023

Does your agency have what it takes to provide best-in-class service to your clients? According to Susan Quinn’s research, there are 9 traits that an agency should have in order to get there.

 

It’s not always about being the fastest or having the best prices. In fact, it’s almost never about price when you’re providing top-notch service. What it ultimately comes down to is living by your agency’s core values, innovation, and an intense focus on quality.

Susan Quinn and her team have been living by these traits so well that they began studying them to find out just what makes the best client experience and best-in-class service. So, if you’re ready to take your agency to the next level and partner with next-level companies, tune in to learn how they constantly improve their client experience and how you stack up against the competition.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

best-of-class service

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The basis for the research about the 9 traits of agencies with best-in-class service
  • Breaking down each trait
  • Why adopting the 9 traits will set your agency up for continued growth
  • How Susan’s agency conducted their research
  • The 3 ways C-Suite employees categorized their best-in-class status
  • How niching down has changed Susan’s agency over decades
  • The importance of partnering with other agencies with the same core values
  • Why you and your agency should always be learning and innovating
Sep 4, 2023

Do you know the “why” behind the work you do? If not, it might be time to find out. Understanding the motivation behind why we show up and feel connected to our work is key to personal happiness and effective interpersonal communication.

 

As it turns out, there are nine “whys” that we could categorize ourselves into that affect agency communication and connectivity. Knowing where we fall on that spectrum, especially as agency owners, can remove blocks and help your agency reach its goals faster and more effectively than doing things the same old way we always do them.

If your agency has a lot of goals, but the team sometimes struggles to execute them, it might be time for the “why” mindset strategy that our guest, Linda Perry, is teaching us about in this episode. Because at the end of the day, your people are your greatest asset, and knowing how to communicate with them how they receive it best is a recipe for success.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency communication

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The mindset perspective that helps agencies reach their goals faster
  • Getting to the bottom of limiting beliefs that prevent us from growing
  • The what, the why, and the how for better agency communication
  • Creating connectivity between agency owners, leadership, and team members
  • The agency owner’s responsibility is to create moments of connection
  • How to navigate different “whys” and assign tasks accordingly
  • How the “why” mindset strategy aligns with the agency’s mission, vision, and values
  • Understanding a client’s “why” for better sales strategies
Aug 28, 2023

When you think about how you do business, do you find that you’re purposefully taking longer to respond to inquiries because you don’t want a client to believe you’re not busy enough? Or do you hesitate to answer right away because you don’t want that to be their new expectation of your agency?

 

Unfortunately, this is where many agencies get it backward. Clients already expect quick responses, regardless of how fast or slow you were the first time. In fact, speed is one of the most important factors for client happiness, and it will only go higher on the priority list from here.

Jay Baer has done intense research on this very topic and is sharing his findings with us. As many of you know, he’s always ahead of the curve when it comes to agency trends. And he’s passionately confident that agencies need to get faster so they’re first in line when a prospect calls them up. Because if he’s learned anything, it’s that speed will beat out price almost every time.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

client happiness

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The generational differences in patience in business settings
  • Speed is the most important factor for client happiness
  • The psychology of speed and how it equates to caring
  • Closing uncertainty gaps with clients
  • Creating a “fast pass” lane for impatient clients
  • The “Got it Audit” for the customer journey
  • When fast is too fast
  • The hierarchy of when speed is most important for client satisfaction
  • Where we get speed wrong in business decisions
Aug 21, 2023

As your agency grows, your leadership team must grow alongside it. You’ll notice as your team gets bigger, the day-to-day operations become more complicated, and you might want to start taking a step back from certain tasks altogether.

 

That’s where a COO comes in to save the day. A successful, growing agency must have someone to handle day-to-day operations and implement systems and processes properly. And if you have the right person to take some tasks off your plate, that opens you up to focus on the parts of the business you’re most passionate about, like being a visionary.

This week, I’m talking with Carolyn Lodge about the signs and symptoms of when it’s time to grow your leadership team and hire a COO. We discuss how to identify the right person for the job, their roles and expectations, how to integrate them with the rest of your team to build trust, and what traits are most commonly needed in the COO position.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

leadership team

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The clues that show it might be time to hire a COO
  • What size agency is too small to have a COO role
  • The skills and traits of a good COO
  • Implementing the founder’s or owner’s vision
  • Building trust within your leadership team as you bring on new team members
  • Ensuring your COO is a good culture fit for the job
  • How a COO changes the day-to-day of a CEO
  • Go-to questions to vet a potential COO
Aug 14, 2023

One of the most powerful new business tools to establish credibility as an agency is right at our fingertips. Finding speaking opportunities at conferences, trade shows, and even as a podcast guest is a great first step to entering the world of thought leadership.

While it may seem daunting initially, especially if you’re new to this, thought leadership is about as easy as simple networking. Your network can get you into spaces you’ve never dreamed of if you have the right tools to navigate it.

This week, Katy Boos is giving us those tools to show us how practical and valuable thought leadership and public speaking can be for agency owners and leaders. With in-person events making a huge comeback post-Covid, the need for the best and brightest speakers is on the rise, too. Tune in to learn how to get your ideas in front of the right audience and establish yourself and your agency as one of the next great thought leaders.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

thought leadership

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The top most beneficial reasons for speaking at an event
  • Speaking at a big event vs. the right event
  • Looking beyond the room you’re speaking in
  • Determining who’s the right person to put on the stage
  • Narrowing down your topic and finding the right-fit audience
  • The post-Covid trade show and conference outlook
  • How to get conference organizers hyped up on your thought leadership
  • Getting in front of the right podcast audience
  • Creating content from your speaking event
  • Common mistakes that get us a “no” from conference organizers
  • Getting your foot in the door
Aug 7, 2023

Lately, agency owners and leaders have been hitting their heads against a biz dev brick wall. With increased sales cycles, difficulty getting clients to start projects, tightened budgets, and more, it seems like we’re in a cycle of never-ending struggle.

Even if the future looks bleak, there are always more things that can be done and new strategies to try to help push through a difficult time. That’s why now more than ever, it’s critical for agency owners and leaders to track certain metrics to ensure you’ll end 2023 in the black, even as everyone is seemingly tightening their belts.

This week, I’m sharing five metrics you should be tracking with your teams to ensure you’re making the right strategic decisions during heightened hardship. From taking a closer look at your numbers to ensuring client satisfaction, we have the tools to help you end the year in the black against all odds.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

biz dev

In This Episode:

  • Tracking your 55-25-20 AGI metrics more closely
  • Deciding where to move money around to keep good employees
  • Doubling down on biz dev efforts
  • Getting your existing clients to spend more money on you
  • Why AEs should be helping to grow the existing client base
  • Why client satisfaction scores are more critical than ever
  • Good employee retention sends a positive message to customers
Jul 31, 2023

In-person networking and relationship building are not dead. For agencies, it remains one of the most important methods of building your client base. And unfortunately, odds are you’re not doing it enough.

 

Showing up is a huge part of the biz dev battle that a Zoom call or Slack channel just can’t fix. And in a time when many of us have to rely on current clients to keep ourselves afloat, cutting corners on new business opportunities won’t get us very far.

For Hank Blank, some of the biggest red flags from the clients’ perspective directly result from our increasingly virtual ways of doing business. In his eyes, you will struggle to find new clients if you’re not attending events, doing in-person networking, inviting people into your agency’s space, or making philanthropic efforts in your community.

If you want to learn what always stands the test of time for agencies battling it out for new clients, don’t miss this conversation with one of the best in the business.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

in-person networking

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How smaller agencies can stand out against large agencies with in-house teams
  • The biggest mistakes agencies make when searching for new business
  • How agencies make themselves look unavailable or uninterested in new clients
  • Why in-person networking is still imperative for growing a client base
  • How agencies can develop a meaningful brand for themselves
  • Letting creativity guide you in your networking and biz dev
  • The 3 things that win new business
  • Making working at an agency fun again
  • Getting ahead of the competition to educate clients on new technology
Jul 24, 2023

The workforce has changed forever, which has brought change fatigue along with it. This means how we navigate problem-solving and facilitate change amongst our teams has to change, too.

This week, I’m chatting with Jenny Magic, an expert in all things change and team morale. For almost 20 years, she’s been working with agency leaders and their teams to help implement strategies. She noticed that there were often major disconnects between agency leaders and their team’s opinions on new strategies and changes to SOPs. She set out to discover what makes teams get on board with change without getting burnt out.

 

We’ll discuss the best ways to facilitate change with your teams, get employees on board with your ideas and strategies, and the importance of psychological safety for employees to share openly. When you know how to facilitate change effectively, you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to get your teams on board with new ideas and strategies.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

change fatigue

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the world of change has changed
  • How to line up change so that it actually gets implemented
  • The cost of change
  • The real roots of change fatigue
  • Why so many employees start “treading water” when you try a new strategy
  • The value of co-creating change with your team
  • Utilizing confidential inquiries to get honest responses from employees
  • There is no “one-size fits all” training model that actually works
  • Creating psychological safety among team members
Jul 17, 2023

AI has been at the top of everyone’s minds this year, particularly with the birth of ChatGPT in November 2022. We’re currently in a renaissance where AI innovation and creativity are fusing to push the limits of what we ever thought was previously possible.

With these new AI tools comes a lot to look forward to, but also a lot of fear and uncertainty. Many of you are worried about job security, work expectations, and getting left behind in favor of faster, newer technology. In this episode, we’ll address these valid concerns with AI expert Paul Roetzer.

Paul has been at the forefront of AI innovation for most of his career and has some ideas to share with us about how this all started, where it’s at now, and what’s possible for the future. While the uncertainty is scary, one certainty is that we must lean into the AI movement with an open mind and be ready to adapt alongside it.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How clients are starting to wise up to AI use for projects
  • Copyright concerns for agencies using AI
  • The real threats agencies should be looking out for with AI innovation
  • The move to client-agency co-creation
  • Always be testing
  • Helping clients pilot AI tools in their strategy and operations
  • The evolution of agencies that utilize AI innovation
  • How to vet new AI tools in a sea of uncertainty
  • The future of AI integrations

 

Jul 10, 2023

The idea of agency culture has been on my mind a lot lately, especially now that we’re all settling into new post-covid workplace structures. Without as much face time in an office, many of you are starting to wonder how to continue cultivating a healthy workplace environment for your employees over video calls and Slack channels.

For this week’s solocast, I’m sharing what research shows are the four core pillars of a healthy agency culture that will ensure your employees feel seen, heard, safe, and valued. It’s not just about proximity and having office parties or team outings anymore. And as agency leaders, it’s essential that we lead by example in creating the right environment for our teams to thrive.

If you can weave these four concepts into how you run your agency and build up your teams, your agency will be set up for success, no matter if you’re in the office, fully remote, or somewhere in between.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency culture

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Thinking about agency culture differently
  • Why agency owners must lead the charge in creating a healthy agency culture
  • Creating an environment of inclusivity for all team members
  • Leading with love and being curious about your people
  • Creating learning opportunities for yourself and the team
  • Encouraging quarterly growth goals for employees
  • Celebrating contributions and identifying employee strengths
  • Leaving space for employees to challenge the status quo
  • Making it ok for people to disagree respectfully
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