Here’s what’s coming up for Agency Hackers members this month. If your agency isn’t a member yet, sign up here.
STORY OF A SALE: When Does the Magic Wear Off?
Thinking of selling your agency one day? Find out what to expect before you sell up.
Naked Communications was sold in 2009 on a valuation of over £40m. In this talk former CFO Paul Allen tells us why an agency of its size and reputation decided to sell – and what lessons you can take.
“It wasn’t as if we went to market looking for a buyer” he says. “After ten years, we wanted to see what a sale might look like for us.”
We’ll talk about doing a deal, agreeing terms – and how to manage once you’re part of a larger entity. “Towards the end, the agency found itself on a downward trajectory and began to close some of its smaller offices to focus on four core territories.”
“People were starting to move on, wanting to go and work elsewhere, or set up their own agencies,” says Paul. “Over time, you lose a bit of that magic running your own thing, having been independent.”
Do your agency’s values have real teeth – or are they just words on the wall?
Join this frank discussion with agencies who say they DO use their values to make hard decisions.
“Our values have had a massive impact on the way we approach business, the way we recruit, and everything we do in our daily life,” says Cas Majid, CEO and founder of the Wow Group.
Kat Arney, creative director of First Create the Media, also lives her values. “I was sceptical at first and thought it sounded like corporate bullshit but in fact they’ve shaped every decision we’ve made so far – including in our staff review and appraisal process.”
Hear examples of agencies whose values have sometimes led to difficult conversations – but say they are 10x better for it.
If you have ever struggled with your values, this is not one to miss.
TRAINING SESSION: Transform Your Agency’s Marketing Strategy
When it comes to your clients, you know what you’re doing.
But when it comes to your agency’s own marketing strategy… can you say the same?
“Many agencies have creative ideas, but they don’t always get the chance to apply those themselves,” explains Sarah Edwards, marketing strategist and founder of Purple Banana.
So, where do you begin? How do you work out what building blocks you need?
From long-term goals and value proposition to internal delivery and processes, Sarah will talk us through how to solve the key challenges agency leaders face to help develop your agency’s marketing strategy – and create reliable growth as a result.
Hedgehog lab began trading in 2007, and in 2015 was a £1m agency. Now it has revenue of £7m. In this Open Source session, we will go through the major chapters of Sarat and hedgehog lab’s story so far and see what you can apply to your journey.
There are significant lessons in pivoting your agency, finding a niche, taking on private equity investment and hiring a senior team.
“I’ve tried multiple different approaches, and we’re trying to find something fair because we reward staff with a bonus each month,” she says. “It’s getting to grips with how we can have something measurable in place.”
Whenever somebody joins, they do a diagnostic report. What are the problems they face? What do they need to fix?
In this session Anneli will share some of the most common problems – and what you can learn from them.
“Agencies often don’t have a solid long-term plan to guide the business. It’s the age-old ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’,” says Anneli.
“Many agency owners want to exit in the future, but unfortunately their business isn’t in a shape where they will be able to. They need to be proactive about setting a growth plan, rather than waiting for business to come to them.”
So, what challenges are you facing?
Are you over-reliant on legacy clients? Is profitability low? Perhaps you’re struggling to hire top talent, or in understanding what exit options you have available to you.
TRAINING SESSION: How to Scale Beyond Founder-Led Sales
How do you stop the founder doing all the selling? Or being inextricably involved in the process?
“Being reliant on founder-led selling is always going to hamper you” says Karl Loudon, CEO and founder of Tevyan. “Even people who have reached £10m still struggle to wean themselves off the very heavy, consultative sell.”
In this session Karl will be talking us through a framework that can help you tackle this.
“A lot of agencies will get somewhere using people’s black books which doesn’t always work – it’s about creating sustainable growth,” says Karl.
Join this 45-min interactive training session, as Karl takes us through his formula for scaling beyond founder-led sales to shake all the best ideas out of your agency and help implement change.