How to Transition from an Agency Owner to a CEO - Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

How to Transition from an Agency Owner to a CEO

By Jason Swenk on November 18, 2014

In today’s session of The Smart Agency Master Class, I chat with Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore Digital. Hannah is going to talk about the five jobs of an agency owner, and how to handle those roles.

The 5 Roles of an Agency Owner.

As the agency owner, it is your job to:

  1. Grow and mentor the leadership team.
  2. To be the face of the company.
  3. To set vision and direction.
  4. Manage the financials.
  5. Be available for key relationships.

Whatever you’re doing, make sure they are part of these five roles. If it’s something outside of these, you need to assess whether or not you are the one that should be doing it.

Being comfortable as the agency CEO.

No doubt you started out as the smartest person in the room. You were consumed with passion and drive. You were the best at everything, from account management to writing to sales.

But as you started to grow from a one-person agency, you probably realized you need to hire people to help you. Suddenly, you’re not the smartest. And that’s a good thing! You want to hire people smarter and better than you to do the work you don’t have time for anymore.

Who to hire for your agency.

It may take some trial and error to find the right person. You need to clearly define what it is that you need, and how you envision working with someone.

Think about what you want your team to look like. Try using a personality profile to find the right fit.

If you hire someone, and it goes poorly, don’t be disheartened. Remember, it’s trial and error. Maybe you need to redefine what you need, or how you want to work with someone. Maybe that person was just an awful fit for your agency. It’s okay. There are lots of wonderful people out there.

If Hannah had to do it all over again, her first hire would be a Director of Client Services. According to her, [ctt title=”Good work doesn’t keep the clients. You’re hired for your creative and technical abilities but you’re fired for your service.” tweet=”“Good work doesn’t keep the clients. You’re hired for your creative and technical abilities, but you’re fired for your service.” http://ctt.ec/c1528+ via @jswenk #agencyleadership ” coverup=”c1528″]

How to motivate and inspire your team.

Every agency owner should know the importance of a happy team. There is no magic formula, but here’s a darn good one:

Great clients + Great office space + Great culture + Ownership of work

These factors, when combined with the right people, make for happy employees. Happy employees motivate and inspire each other, and that’s how awesome agencies thrive.

(Note: giving out employee bonuses doesn’t hurt either!)

The “too busy” excuse.

Sometimes also known as the “too poor” excuse, and it’s just that – an excuse.

If you want your business to grow, you’re going to have to make time for it. Hire people organically as you grow. Don’t think you can afford them? Then you’re not charging enough. Your team is part of the billable hours, don’t be afraid to include them in the costs.

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