Does Your Agency Need to Scale Back to Scale Up?

By Jason Swenk on July 20, 2020

Does it feel like no matter how hard you work, you just keep running in circles unable to scale your agency? Are you ignoring all the signs that your agency’s crying out for help? When you get to a point where it seems like your agency is out of your control, often, the best solution is a simple change of perspective.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • 3 signs your agency needs more attention.
  • 2 steps to get a stalled agency back on track.
  • Do you have your priorities all wrong?

Today I sat down for an engaging chat with Brad Martineau, repeat podcast guest and owner of Sixth Division, a digital marketing agency. Like so many of us, Brad saw success early on but quickly stalled out. He’s here to talk about why he found himself in this position and how he scaled back to scale up.

3 Signs Your Agency Needs More Attention

As agency owners, we have a tendency to set our sights high. We go into the business with a lofty goal in mind and won’t stop until we get there. When this happens, it’s easy to gloss over (or even purposely ignore) signs you’re in trouble. Brad says to ask yourself these 3 questions to find out when your agency needs your attention:

  1. Is your team excited? One of the first signs something is wrong is team morale. Brad says there’s a difference between a disappointed employed and a disgruntled employee. If your team’s unhappy or constantly overworked, it’s time to slow down.
  2. Are your clients pumped? Your clients should be excited about your work and see the value your agency delivers. If your client response is lackluster or worse, you’re losing clients, do something now.
  3. Is revenue shrinking? A sure-fire sign you need to make a change is less money coming in. If you’re not as profitable as you once were, you’re either spending too much or you’re losing clients.

2 Steps to Get a Stalled Agency Back on Track

Brad says he spent 1.5 years ignoring all the signs something was wrong. If you’re not careful, success will tell you you can do no wrong. But ignoring the problem can cause a lot of unnecessary pain and anxiety, as Brad will attest. So what can you do to get your agency back on track?

  1. Acknowledge the problem. This one’s hard. As humans, we’d rather ignore a problem than confront it. Pay attention to the signs and get good at recognizing problems from the beginning. The longer you wait, the harder it is to fix.
  2. Set aside your ego. Brad says this meant coming to terms with the fact he might not be a $3 million agency. Put aside your preconceptions of how it should be and focus on the fix. For Brad, when he finally faced the issue head-on he was able to cut over $100,000 from his monthly budget.

Do You Have Your Priorities All Wrong?

How do you create goals for your agency? For most of us, it’s easy to set monetary or other tangible goals. And for the longest time, I was just like everyone else. My goals were always revenue, projects, time, in that order. There’s this bad mindset we get in where we tell ourselves, if I just make this amount of money, my family will be happy, and then I’ll have everything I want. But in the end, that goal just keeps getting bigger and bigger and you never catch up.

If you really want to grow, you have to flip the switch. Brad says we need to get away from focusing on monetary profit and prioritize time and emotional profit. When you do this, you’ll find you’re happier and more fulfilled. And bonus, when you slow down, you free up your headspace to be more creative, which ironically may help increase profits after all.

Don’t get too consumed with that bottom line that you forget to enjoy the ride. When you slow down and focus on what’s important, then you’ll truly be able to enjoy your success.

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