Focus on Scaling or Clients in Order to Grow Your Agency?

By Jason Swenk on November 13, 2019

How much time should you spend on client work vs. actually growing your agency? Figuring out how to grow early isn’t easy. You’re not sure where to start and what to focus on. Chances are, you’re spending too much time on client work and way too much time trying to land the next big contract. But is it worth it?

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • #1 way to grow your agency fast.
  • 3 ways to determine your agency’s niche.
  • Why you might need to say no to big projects.
  • Should you spend time on neutral tasks?

Today, I talked with Jordan Scheltgen, co-founder of Cave Social — a social media agency based out of Canada. Jordan has been hustling for brands before he was self-aware of it. His pre-agency blog, CaveMag, had a story about having season tickets to Florida Panthers games. It blew up and went viral, with tons of social shares and exposure. And he quickly realized he could do this… for money! Since then, his agency has rocketed to three locations already! So how did he grow so fast, and what did he focus on first?

#1 Way to Grow Your Agency Fast

You have to niche! Seriously! If I sound repetitive, it’s because it’s super important. Niching separates you from the pack and keeps the lights on. But Jordan’s agency didn’t just niche to find more clients. They niched to create repeatable processes, which is another benefit of niching down.

Let’s say your agency niches into plumbing. Are plumbers in LA really that different from plumbers in Nebraska? No – not at all. So, this gives you the ability to create a process you can use again and again for clients, in order to grow rapidly and become an authority. When you niche, you become an authority in a specific market. You can speak their language and get really familiar with their common challenges and pain points. When prospects realize you “get” them, it makes them want to work you with.

But what if you can’t figure out what your niche should be?

3 Ways to Determine Your Agency’s Niche

If you want to find the perfect niche for your agency, you need to answer these three questions.

  1. What am I passionate about?
  2. What do I have knowledge about?
  3. What’s a problem I can solve?

If you can find a niche that answers all three questions, you’re golden. But even if you can only answer one or two questions, that’s fine! You can become passionate. You can gain knowledge. And you can always find a problem to solve. But having at least one of those questions answered can help your agency focus on a niche (either vertical or horizontal — or both) that will help you grow faster.

Why You Might Need to Say No to Big Projects

Turning down a massive deal is really difficult. So most of end up saying yes, and then live to regret it. But don’t be fooled by the numbers — figure out if it’s actually worth the money. For example, you may get offered a one-off project worth $50k. But if your long-term clients are paying you $10k per month, the big one-off client may not be worth the time. It’s all about opportunity cost. Remember, when you say yes to one thing, it means saying no to something else. Make smart choices about the value of your time, and remember bigger projects don’t always mean better projects.

And it’s about more than just basic math. If the client is going to cause you headaches or disrupt your agency culture, learn to say no! There are more reasons to turn a client down than there are to accept one.

Should You Spend Time on Neutral Tasks?

Are you wondering how much time to focus on systems and how much time to focus on clients? Try this trick: create a list.

Grab a piece of paper and make three columns. In column one, list all of the value positive tasks you have. In column two, list all of the value negative tasks you have. And in column three, list all of the neutral tasks you have (those tasks that aren’t really positive or negative.) Then, take everything in the latter two columns, and delegate or automate it.

As owner, you should only be focused on positive value tasks. Most of the time, you’ll find there’s not much client work on the list. The bigger you grow, the faster you may need to start moving towards business-side tasks.

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