July 2021 at Agency Hackers

Here’s what’s coming up for Agency Hackers members this month. If your agency isn’t a member yet, sign up here.

Open Source: Simon Bollon Share’s Boutique’s Journey to Maturity

Simon Bollon runs Boutique.

We will take a close look at the key ups and downs of building and growing a successful business.

  • From growing fast and making money…
  • …to getting stuck and losing money…
  • …to reconfiguring the business and getting “the right people on the bus”.
  • The ‘one pager’ he uses to stay on course.

“A big thing for me was trusting in the process of ‘I don’t need to call that client. Somebody else will’,” says Simon. “So many agency leaders live with the fear that if I’m not doing it, we’re all going to die.”

“It’s understanding that fear and managing it.”

Join this deep dive into Simon’s business and see what principles you can pick up.

⏰ 2pm, Tuesday 29th June 2021

HUGE PROSPECTS: How Are You Hunting for New Business?

Agencies are always on the look-out for new business – but is your prospecting process really up to scratch?

Two people who know all about this and the best way to win those new leads are Katie Horvath and Lucy Snell, co-founders of Cherry Business Consulting.

“We’re very focused on lead generation and prospecting, so we’re always helping acquire new clients and kick off and build relationships,” says Katie.

So, what is stopping you from being successful? 

  • Have your cold channels reached freezing point? 
  • Are your current strategies tired and in need of a revamp? 
  • Is your proposition in need of being redeveloped?

Join this session and share your problems, advice, and experiences with Katie and Lucy – you might even come away with a whole new perspective on your prospecting process.

⏰ 11am, Wednesday 30th June 2021

HAMSTER WHEEL: One Foot In, One Foot Out

When Red Badger was launched in 2010, they had a primary aims meeting.

“At that stage, I had no thought in my mind about being a parent,” says Cain Ullah, founder and board member.

Fast forward seven years and everyone’s primary aims had changed.

“I still wanted to exit, but at this point, I was with my wife and thinking about family,” says Cain. “It wasn’t just a 40-hour-week job, I was working late into the evening, and that was unsustainable.”

“We decided a partial exit was the best thing for all parties at this time with me going down to down to three days a week, rather than fully out,” says Cain.

“It’s been the best thing for everyone involved.”

This will be an interesting one if you’re thinking of stepping off the hamster wheel. You never know – it might be the thing that inspires you to make the move.

⏰ 10am, Tuesday 6th July 2021

STORY OF A SALE: 1000Heads Group

In this new Agency Hackers series, we’ll be investigating the ins, outs, highs, and lows of an agency sale – straight from the leaders themselves.

Mike Rowe sold his agency, 1000Heads Group, in June 2019 to private equity firm, Phoenix, for a figure in excess of £30m. He’s been a non-executive director there ever since, and says it’s been a fascinating transition.

“It’s like seeing your own child from a distance. It’s been quite an interesting, introspective view on where you are, what you’ve done and what you’ve done wrong,” he says. “I’ve actually really enjoyed it. It’s given me a new lease of life within the business.”

Once they decided to sell, he realised he’d rather exit than complete an earn-out. 

“I wanted to exit at that point as having been an entrepreneur all my life, I don’t think I’d have made a very good employee!” he says.

“For all agencies, private equity isn’t always the route forward, but it was always my preference. It was for slightly selfish reasons, but also I thought it best for the business,” he says. “Two years on, I feel extremely lucky and privileged to be where I am, and to still be involved with the business.”

Join us in conversation with Mike and hear more about his sale story – especially if you’re looking for advice in that department too.

⏰ 11am, Wednesday 7th July 2021

Training Session : How to Simplify Your Agency Finances

Is your finance pipeline clear and easy to understand?

Simon Collard, an agency CFO and co-founder of AgencyMAP.io, is here to help you simplify your financial roadmap.

“I’ve had so many conversations with clients where they’re just not sure what’s going on, because things get washed away in a sea of data,” says Simon. 

“My focus is on keeping things really simple, finding the most important metric and communicating that with the agency.”

Simplifying your agency finance pipeline will not only make sure your agency and your clients are singing from the same hymn sheet, but it will also open discussion to more important questions.

“Let’s drill down on what’s happening, look out our ways of working, and how that impacts revenue and profits,” he says.

Simon will be talking us through how to simplify your agency’s financial roadmap – and how nailing it will help you efficiently achieve your future aims.

⏰ 10am, Thursday 8th July 2021

EOS 3: Data

It’s time for another session on EOS, and this time we’re talking numbers.

“The data component is all about running the business on real numbers,” explains Julia Langkraehr, certified EOS implementer and CEO of Bold Clarity

“It’s not a story, not somebody’s personality, not subjectivity – we don’t want to run a business on opinions.”

What we SHOULD be focusing on is transparency, and that comes down to what’s happening with your numbers – after all, they don’t lie.

This specific EOS component has a focus on scorecards and measurables.

“Usually, you either have too much data and track all of it, or the data is just simply not good enough,” she explains. “We want to pick a few important numbers, pick a goal each week, and then refer to the accountability chart – who drives those numbers?”

Julia will be talking us through how to implement this particular component to make sure our numbers are the things that really do the talking.

⏰ 3pm, Friday 9th July 2021

OPEN SOURCE: Gavin Shinfield

It’s a rare opportunity to be given an in-depth look at key moments in the life of a successful agency – but we’ll be doing just that. 

Gavin Shinfield is the co-founder and CSO of Kyan, and we’ll be taking a closer look under the hood and drawing out the important lessons from his experiences.

  • From the early days and surviving the credit crunch…
  • …to realising there was a lot more work to do despite hitting the magic £1m mark…
  • …and how they’ve accelerated, rebranded, and refocused their vision.

“What we needed was to get some grown-ups in the room and actually work out how to structure the business so that we could scale it,” says Gavin.

Join this 90-minute-long deep dive into Gavin’s business, and see what you can learn from it.

⏰11am, Tuesday 13th July 2021

Client Services Mastermind

2pm, Wednesday 14th July 2021

Calling all client services heroes! Join our monthly session for anybody with client services or account management responsibility. Drop in and meet other people doing your job at different agencies.

HIVE MIND: Time Tracking

Agencies need to keep tabs on everything.

But is time tracking still the best method for this?

Like many others, David Schulhof, Managing Director of Red Hot Penny uses time tracking to record key data – but he’s wondering if there’s a better way to do this…

“It can be easily manipulated, gamified and wrong. It’s also a legacy way of measuring, and I’ve noticed some agencies have started to do away with it,” he says.

“Do we only do it because we feel we have to do it?”

So, is time tracking “a bit old-school now”? Are there new, better ways to be doing it? 

If you have the answers to these questions and have found a better method that works well for you, come along and share them with David and the rest of the Agency Hackers gang.

2pm, Thursday 15th July 2021

HR / People Mastermind

11am, Friday 16th July 2021

Calling all ‘people people’. Join our monthly hangout for HR and people folk. Share what you’re working on and meet other people in your role at different agencies.

RAPID PACE: How You Can Scale Your Agency at Speed

Felix Velarde is no stranger to making an agency successful – so much so, he created a growth programme that helps agencies scale at rapid speed.

The programme in question, 2Y3X, is a comprehensive guide to doubling (or even tripling) your revenue in two years – and he’s even written a book, Scale of Speed, all about it.

“The more challenging the goal, the more likely people are to step up and the more likely you are to achieve it,” says the former chairman of Impero, White Bear and VERB Brands.

“It sounds nice and logical, but it needs very careful design,” he continues. “The programme gives you a roadmap, stops the owner being the bottleneck, and helps the wider team take responsibility for delivering growth.”

If you’ve been looking to scale your agency, or perhaps overhaul things to break through those walls of change, this session with Felix will certainly get the ball rolling.

2pm, Tuesday 20th July 2021

Operations Mastermind

2pm, Wednesday 21st July 2021

This one is for the operations folk amongst you to check-in and compare notes with process people at other agencies.

Finance Director Mastermind

11am, Thursday 22nd July 2021

This is our monthly session for anybody in an agency finance role. Swap stories and get advice from other people doing a CFO, Finance Director or similar role in an agency.


This is the second in our new series of training sessions – shorter, ‘downloadable’ 45-minute sessions on all aspects of agency life.

Have you ever realised the importance of luck when it comes to building an agency?

That’s what Andy Nairn, founding partner at Lucky Generals, is helping us to focus on in this session – he’s even written a book about it, Go Luck Yourself.

“I did a bit of research, and I found out lots of really interesting stuff about how we don’t like to talk about luck in Western culture,” says Andy. “But actually, if you go to the heart of virtually all business, marketing and advertising success stories, there’s an element of luck.”

“You don’t have to just wait for good fortune. You can do some stuff to help you increase your chances of success,” he continues. “You CAN stack the odds in your favour.”

Andy will be guiding us through:

  • How to appreciate what you’ve already got
  • How to look out for opportunities everywhere
  • How to turn misfortune into good fortune
  • How to practice being lucky

Join us in this fun and interactive session – and see how your luck can turn.

⏰ 11am, Friday 23rd July 2021 

BURNING OUT : How Do You Manage the Stress of Running an Agency?

Running a busy agency is hard work.

But do you know how to manage the stress that comes with it?

While running an agency in South Africa, Vanessa Davies had a complete breakdown. From this, she realised the importance of managing her stress.

“I learned a lot of really valuable techniques that have helped me to live a much more balanced life,” says Vanessa. “I think it’s really important that people recognise the signs before anything happens.”

“It’s really about making a space where people can talk about the challenges they’re facing, and then find some practical solutions that work for them,” she says.

This session will be a reflection on how you cope with stress, how you’ve found the last 18 months, in a safe space for you to chat about how you’ve been managing the things piling up on your plate. 

(And don’t worry, this session isn’t recorded so you can talk freely.)

⏰ 2pm, Tuesday 27th July 2021

Marketing & New Business Mastermind

2pm, Wednesday 28th July 2021

This is your chance to check in with other marketing and new business minds and see what everyone’s up to.

CLIENT SIDE: What Do Clients Really Look for in an Agency?

It’s the age-old question: what are clients really looking for in an agency?

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, we’ll be joined by Nick Haigh to give us an insight into the client-side of things.

“On a basic level, I want agencies to understand who we are and what we do,” says the Head of External Global Communications at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

“Our business unit doesn’t do ships, planes and submarines, but what we often find is people don’t realise that when they Google our name, and they focus in on things we have nothing to do with.”

So, what are some of the key things Nick looks out for when working with agencies?

We’ll be discussing all this and more, including re-pitching, procurement, the delivery process, and the biggest agency turn-offs.

Make sure to tune in and find out what clients really think of you…

⏰ 2pm, Thursday 29th July 2021 

LinkedIn: Personal Branding for Agency Leaders

11am, Wednesday 30th July 2021

This is your monthly chance to come together and share what has and hasn’t been working for you on LinkedIn – and get support from others if you’re keep to up your LinkedIn game.

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