How to Make the Big Decisions to Hire, Scale & Even Sell Your Agency - Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

How to Make the Big Decisions to Hire, Scale & Even Sell Your Agency

By Jason Swenk on June 27, 2018

It’s tough making decisions as an agency owner! From your first hire to knowing when it’s time to sell. Here’s advice from an 11-year agency owner veteran on some of the key attributes to look for in your agency’s first hire as well as some simple considerations to help you know if it’s time to sell your agency.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • The #1 thing to look for in a first hire.
  • Is it time to sell your agency?

Today I chatted up Kathleen Booth, VP of Marketing at Impact, a resource for inbound marketers, and host of the Inbound Success podcast. After growing her own digital marketing agency for 11 years, from startup to a HubSpot platinum level partner, Kathleen read the signs that it was time to move on and sold her agency in a merger. She shares with us how she made big agency leadership decisions, from her first hire to selling the agency.

The #1 Thing To Look For In a First Hire

A burning, insatiable desire to learn and figure things out! The digital marketing landscape is ever-evolving and your agency needs people who will evolve with it.

Your agency wants people with a good marketing presence. Remember, this could be a person with any number of marketing-type backgrounds, so don’t limit your interview process by job title.

Kathleen suggests hiring someone who can take tasks off your plate. (In most cases, I advise hiring a Project Manager – here’s why.) As an owner, you need to be able to focus on strategy and building your agency, not on tedious tasks that could be handed off. Be sure your candidate can manage a client, so you don’t have to. It’s time for you to step away from managing agency clients and details.

Clients value that to which they don’t have easy access. Meaning, if you’re accessible all the time, clients won’t value your time and they won’t pay as much for it. Keep your interactions consistent, but spread out.

Time To Consider Selling Your Digital Agency?

Are you still having fun? You need to love what you’re doing. Kathleen was having fun for the first 10 years, but the 11th year was draining.

Is your agency scalable to the level you want to be? In Kathleen’s case her agency’s growth was tied to being an early Hubspot partner. But as their program grew her agency’s lead generation suffered.

If you answer “no” to either of these questions it might be time to consider selling.

Kathleen was faced with either pushing ahead, doubling down to grow and scale OR selling her agency and moving on.

If you’re thinking of selling, use your network and start putting out feelers. It was easier for Kathleen to make her decision, because she found an interested party.

Be self aware. Don’t let money and ego get in the way of making the right decisions for you and your agency. The best entrepreneurs know when it’s time to walk away and can do so fast.

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