Wed, 25 March 2020
Are you struggling with spending too much time working in your agency, instead of on your agency? Do you spend a whole lot of time dealing with the stuff you hate and not enough time on the things you love? Agency owners have a tendency to dive right in and engross themselves completely in their work. But when you create a more autonomous agency you will find more freedom in your role.
In today's episode, we discuss:
Today I sat down for a fun episode with Max Borges, owner of Max Borges Agency. Over 18 years, Max found the more he worked, the busier he got. He quickly realized his current agency model wasn't sustainable and he had to make a change. He's on the show to share the four phases of creating an autonomous agency.
How to Move Past the Desperation Stage
Phase 1 - Anything for Money
We've all experienced what Max calls stage one of his path to create an autonomous agency — AFM "anything for money." This is the stage where most agency owners start out and accept any and all projects... because they don't know what they like, what they don't like, what they're best at, and what they suck at.
At this point, your agency hasn't yet discovered its niche and may or may not have a few employees. The work in this stage is hard but it is something you have to go through to get to phase two. In phase one, you need to spend time exploring what you are good at. Don't spend all your time trying to be good at things you don't like or you're just naturally bad at. You don't need to be good at everything, but you do need to find something you are better at than anyone else.
#1 Way to Separate Your Agency from Everyone Else
Phase 2 - Revelation
Next up is the revelation phase. This is where agencies begin to discover and develop their path. During phase two, you've finally realized what you are good at and can start spending more time on things you love while leaving things you don't love to someone else. (Related: How to Stop Doings Things You Suck At)
I've said it before, and I'll say it again; the best way to separate yourself from everyone else is to find your niche. When you get to phase two, you know what you like, what you're good at, and what your team is good at. Remember, you're running an agency. This means your vision is important, but you're not the one doing the heavy lifting day in and day out. Your team should be good at what they do and be able to do it without you. Surround yourself with people who share your values and ideas and focus on what they're good at.
How Your Agency Can Benefit By Leading with Strategy
Phase 3 - Strategic Drivers
Once you know what you are good at and have your niche, you still need to develop a strategy to make you the go-to agency in your niche. Unless you have some really obscure, specific niche, you're going to have competition and need to set your agency apart.
You have to provide a unique service or have a process that differentiates you from other agencies. This may just mean realigning or narrowing your niche's focus. For Max, his agency focuses on media relations for consumer technology companies. While other agencies focus on consumer tech, most of them don't spend enough time on media relations. This is Max's strategic advantage.
What Happens When You Dominate Your Niche
Phase 4 - Niche Dominance
At this stage in the game, you are the accepted leader in your niche. You may find your competition dwindles as other agencies discover you're the best. Getting to stage four is a lot of work, but once you do, you'll find your agency is a lot more autonomous than when you first began.
It's not impossible to focus on what you love and actually enjoy your work. When you create your agency with intention and work diligently through the phases, you'll find success comes easier.
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