What is a Healthy Profit Margin for a Digital Agency? with Jason Blumer | Ep #150

By Jason Swenk on September 21, 2016

What is a Healthy Profit Margin for a Digital Agency?

What is a healthy profit margin goal for your agency? If this is something you have asked yourself more than once or struggle with, this episode is for you.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • What your digital agency profit margin should be.
  • How to improve agency profit margins.
  • 7 tips for healthy agency financials.
  • Building cash reserves and improving cash flow.

Financials can get confusing. We all can agree there are so many different statements and ways of reporting – it’s all very overwhelming. That’s why his agency looks at the big picture and watches for trends, rather than focusing on the details.

Tip #1: Understand Healthy Profit Margins

Most CPA’s says a 10% profit margin is good, and 15% is outstanding, but I believe and have seen margins well over the 32% range. If you aren’t quite there yet, make this your top priority. A solid profit margin is a key to financial health. There are a variety of ways to calculate profit.

Gross Revenue – Expenses – Owner Salary = Net Profit*

Net Profit / Gross Revenue = Profit

*Note: Owner Distributions and Profit Taxes are taken from the Net Profit)

Tip #2: Make Profit a Priority

Most business owners consider their profit to be simply the amount “leftover” each month after all other expenses are paid. If that’s what you’re doing, you’re going about it all wrong! Jason mentions the book Profit First which explains an accounting method for making sure your business is highly and permanently profitable by setting aside profit before paying other expenses.

Tip #3: Regular Review of Financials

When you’re going over financials, the Income Statement is the #1 document you need to be reviewing regularly. Jason says this is the statement that’s going to give an accurate account of your agency’s financial health. It essentially takes your more detailed line items and lumps them together into larger categories to report gross revenue, expenses, and profit.

Tip #4: Build Cash Reserves

There is no magic number for how much an agency should have in reserve – it all depends on the risk comfort of the owner. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep 3 months of expenses in a savings account. This saves potential headaches and fears, and can also help float your cash flow if needed.

Tip #5: Improve Cash Flow

As you grow, you get bigger clients. The bigger the client, the more hoops there are to jump through to get paid. This drastically slows things down. So one trick Jason talks about it to change your billing cycle from every 30 days to every 15 days. The sooner you invoice, the quicker you’ll get paid.

I also have a blog post about additional ways to improve cash flow, including changing payment terms right in your proposal.

Tip #6: Don’t Let Growth Psych You Out

In a growth phase, cash can be deceiving. It feels like you’re raking in the dough but a lot of people don’t look at the flip side to see what each client is costing them. Sometimes they’re only breaking even. Jason cautions all agency owners to take a regular look at financials to see if you’re as profitable as you think.

And last but not least, meet with your CPA regularly. Agencies who are growing rapidly should meet with their CPA on a monthly basis or even more frequently.

Discover the Best Agency Strategies Working Today by Connecting with the Best Agencies. This collaborative mastermind is filled with other motivated agency owners that are cool, fun, and willing to share their knowledge and wisdom to help catapult you to the next level. Learn more.

Grow Your Agency

Understanding profit margin goals can be the first step into growing as an agency owner and your agency. I always suggest taking a step back to look for weak spots in your business. Are you ignoring these within your agency? No matter what challenge your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

There are many topics I can give advice on from the different phases of growth you will experience to how you can build authority for your agency.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show from how placing a process for performance based pricing can be the best pricing strategy for your business and the three questions you need to ask yourself to sell more!

Want more? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

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