Do You Uphold Your Agency’s Core Values Everyday?
Do you live by your agency’s core values? Have you spent time defining those values? Do you communicate them with your team? Many accidental agency owners haven’t however it is a critical component of growing your business. For some, it’s a one-time exercise that is just as quickly forgotten. Your values are the guiding principles leading the way your agency team operates. Today’s guest shares how he built a value-based agency, how these 5 core values affect everything his team does, and the biggest challenges he has faced while scaling his agency.
Will Roberts is the founder WebBox, a digital marketing and web design agency that collaborates with clients to create unforgettable experiences and campaigns. His agency strives to provide a relentlessly responsive service, which is one of its core values. Will shares why each of those values is an important pillar of how the agency operates and how he has chosen to celebrate his team’s small victories.
In this interview, we’ll discuss:
- Building an agency based on 5 core values.
- How to solve your recruitment woes.
- Learning to celebrate small victories.
Sponsors and Resources
E2M Solutions: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design and development agency that has provided white label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.
Being the Change You Want to See in the Agency World
Like many agency owners, Will started doing some freelance work for some friends and family to gain experience. He got paid £75 for his first website – which he laughs about now. He quickly learned working for friends and family was not the best strategy, but thankfully he started getting calls from local businesses wanting his services. It was the first step toward growth.
He was still halfway through university in 2008 when, after a few interactions with agencies, he became interested in the industry. One of the big problems he saw was that agencies didn’t really care about their clients. Regardless, he knew there was potential for someone willing to raise the game by introducing some changes.
Building a Digital Agency Guided By Core Values
Plastering your values on your meeting room wall and actually living those values are very different things. Will had the opportunity to see how some agencies worked back when he was in college. He saw many things that could be improved and decided to build something different. He noticed a lack of direction resulting in poor client service. Employees were often not really aware of or held accountable to the company’s core values.
For his part, Will has worked to build a value-based agency. It is an important part of who they are as an agency. His team is even encouraged to bring up if they ever feel the agency is doing something that is contrary to these values. Everything they do goes through five core values that were part of creating an agency that was focused on users and clients.
5 Core Values that Steer Agency Growth
- Collaboratively Creative. They try to not go into meetings with an attitude of “it’s our way of the highway”. Instead, they open the conversation with their intent to collaborate. Mutual respect is key – clients know their niche really well and his team knows UX. Bringing those two together ensures better results.
- BrutallyTransparent. As an agency, you have information that can make or break a client’s website or online presence. Some agencies may choose to withhold that information. However, WebBox chooses to be transparent. Many times what a client wants is not necessarily what they need. Getting them to understand this leads to difficult conversations. This transparency also goes through to their accounts. They share timesheets with clients so they know how their resources are being spent.
- Seriously Skilled. WebBox brings on highly skilled specialists only. This is true for both clients and team members, who are actively encouraged to set time to train and get better at what they do.
- Proactively Ambitious. As an agency, they want to be ambitious and keep growing, but they are also ambitious for their clients. Client growth is also their victory as an agency.
- Relentlessly Responsive. It is not unusual to wait days and even a week to get a response from an agency. Will decided his agency would make it a priority to get back to clients quickly, within the hour. They believe if they’re going to partner with clients, then they’re going to be there when they need them.
Challenges He Has Managed to Overcome While Growing His Business
- Keeping their sales pipeline full. An important part of scaling your agency is putting systems in place to keep your pipeline full. If your agency is still 100% project-based, remember your pipeline can be a risk. This was the case at Will’s agency, so six years ago they introduced retainers and also added PPC management to their services. This way, they have balanced their income to a point where 60% comes from project-based and 40% from recurring revenue. This move has really helped them grow their team and also provided a solid base.
- Finding the right people to join the team. His agency has struggled with recruitment as they grew and the team couldn’t keep up with the demand. Since then he has built a recruitment funnel, a very important step in any agency’s journey. After you build a sales system, it’s time to put together the right team to continue to scale your agency. The search for this team is a continuous effort, so you should always be recruiting.
- Finding time to work on the business. Will has been able to carve out some time each day to work on the agency rather than in it. Most agency owners will have a hard time getting to this point. You may think your responsibility is being the hardest working member of the team. However, being the first to get to the office and the last one to leave will only result in one thing: burnout. Will now sets apart half an hour in the morning where he focuses solely on strategies for the business. It’s all about figuring out time rules to create to keep yourself accountable.
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