How to Successfully Build New Technology at Your Digital Agency
We’ve all seen tech companies explode in popularity and valuation. How can your digital agency get a piece a sweet tech venture? Check out how one agency owner is out there successfully building technology and simultaneously running a digital marketing agency — and crushing it at both.
In today’s episode, we’ll cover:
- How to build technology at your digital agency.
- One unique method to create tons of internal content.
- #1 growth tip for new agency owners.
Today, I talked with Bhanuka Harischandra, Founder and CEO of Surge.Global — a digital marketing and tech agency in Sri Lanka. Bhanuka’s agency does everything from video to mobile to content and even SEO… but they also build tech. So, while half of Surge Global is helping businesses scale with marketing, the other half is scaling tech projects and creating tech companies. Bhanuka is here to tell us how to build tech at your agency and use it to grow and scale your business.
How to Successfully Build Technology at Your Digital Agency
Tech revenue is tempting, am I right? We see these tech startups with 5 employees that scale to $500 million in a few years and it’s mind-blowing. So, as an entrepreneur, you may be trying to balance your desire to chase tech with your love for agency work. Guess what? You don’t have to decide between them. Instead, you can build tech and build your agency at the same time.
It’s all about keeping a balance. Bhanuka’s advice is to hire two separate teams. Your agency team should not develop tech projects. You need a separate R&D team to help build external and internal tech projects.
You can even create an incubator. Hire some developers to work on different projects, see which ones take off, and then scale the winners up. Bhanuka transitions R&D teams with great products into their own business and his agency remains a shareholder. It helps keep everyone focused on their unique task.
One Unique Method to Create Tons of Internal Content
Creating internal content can be a serious pain for agency owners. Here’s the thing — it’s super necessary to have internal content for your team to rally around. You probably have access to some great content creators; they just need a little motivation.
Bhanuka got his team to produce over 700 pieces of content in 30 days by gamifying content creation. He built an app and made a contest out of creating content. The team member who created the most content within a month would win $500. Second and third places were promised monetary prizes, too. And he compared everyone on a leaderboard to the team could view results in real-time.
In the end, Surge only paid out $800 for 700 pieces of content. That’s what I call a bargain!
Here’s what’s awesome — Surge now has the app they developed out for other clients to use. (You can check out the app at Rallied.io)
#1 Growth Tip for New Agency Owners
It’s been nearly unanimous from my podcast guests. The #1 piece of advice is learning to say no. But, it’s about more than just saying no… It’s knowing how to prioritize and say no to the wrong things so you can say yes to the right things. Even Bhanuka admits his agency almost went under by saying yes to the wrong things. He says always vet your prospects before they become clients and determine:
- Are they a good fit for your niche?
- Can you and your team get along with them?
- Are they a culture match with your agency?
- Will payment be received on time?
- Are they reliable and responsive?
- And, most of all, do they have realistic expectations (remember NBAT!)?
If the answer to any of these is no, then you need to say no to working with this prospect.
Looking for a Payroll and HR Solution for your Agency?
Payroll and benefits are hard. Especially when you’re a small business. Gusto is making payroll, benefits and HR easy for small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits and great service to take care of your team.
For a limited time, Gusto is offering a deal to Smart Agency Master Class listeners. Check out Gusto.com/agency for 3-months FREE once you run your first payroll with them.