Five Steps You Need to Know To Keep Your Agency Growing
In this episode we cover:
- The steps needed to grow and/or sell your business – from hiring the right people to forming a board of directors to defining a niche in your market.
- How Jeff Hilimire grew his digital agency to one of the best agencies in the country with top clients such as Chick-fil-a, Coke and CISCO.
- How he sold the agency twice, and what he recommends for take your agency to the next level.
- What Jeff considers his biggest mistake and his the secrets to successfully growing a digital agency. And finally, learn about the sale process when Jeff sold both Spunlogic (2008) and Engauge (2013).
Setting a clear goal for the business.
In Jeff’s case, the end goal was to be acquired and to make sure decisions were based on this goal. He knew they needed to be one of the biggest agencies in the southeast with a fast growth rate and big name clients. This meant taking on clients and projects that sometimes lost money in order to get the big brand clients. He believed that once they get one big name, they could leverage that name to get even more.
How to win big clients.
Jeff picked a niche he could own – user experience. In doing that, he was able to start targeting big clients and focused on doing whatever it took to get the first one. He advises:
Should you setup an advisory board?
Yes, and you should set it up from the very beginning. Jeff wanted unsolicited advice and wanted to have different skill sets on the board. He picked one person from each discipline: Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Agency.
What are some keys to keeping your business growing?
- You need to have at least one leader focused on growth.
- Invest back into the business and keep your own salary low.
- Learning to delegate is key to growing. Give power to your team.
- Build a culture where people want to have fun. Start a company trip to bring everyone together.
- Commit 100% to growing.
What are two pieces of advice when selling your business?
- Don’t get distracted when you go through the selling process.
- When you get to the talks about buying, treat it like it won’t happen.
Building and selling an agency, or any business, is a long, multifaceted process. Learning from those who have gone before you can ease and simplify the process if you are willing to learn.