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Are you too involved in your agency’s operations? Too stuck working IN the business to work ON the business? It's time to fire yourself from some of operations tasks and increase agency valuation. Removing yourself from daily operations is a great way to prepare your agency for an eventual sale and increase its valuation when the time comes. Start by identifying tasks you don't like as well as the ones someone else could do much better.

Tom Foster is the founder of Foster Web Marketing, a digital agency that helps doctors and lawyers get in front of their ideal customers. Clients usually come to them to build their websites, but many choose to also have them handle aspects like website optimization and content creation. After transforming to a fully virtual model, it took an acquisition offer for Tom to realize he needed to change some things in order to increase its value.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • Preparing your agency for a future sale.
  • The different approaches to sale.
  • Firing yourself from your agency tasks.

Sponsors and Resources

Wix: Today’s episode is sponsored by the Wix Partner Program. Being a Wix Partner is ideal for freelancers and digital agencies that design and develop websites for their clients. Check out Wix.com/Partners to learn more and become a member of the community for free.

What's your agency's valuation? Get the formula here.

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Podcast Takeover!!

Get to know your Smart Agency Guest Host:  Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the co-founder of Rise25, an agency that helps companies launch and run podcasts profitably. He followed Jason’s podcast and eventually joined the mastermind and has been a guest on the podcast before. Today, he’s helping Jason bring something new to the Smart Agency podcast audience by interviewing a special guest and bringing a new perspective to the show.

Are You the One Bringing Down Your Agency's Valuation?

Tom originally entered the world of technology to focus on sales and marketing in 1991 after serving a six-year tour in the Marines. Right after the Marines, he went to work in software sales doing cold calls, fax blasts, and selling translation software. He ended up being very successful early on and got into the software business in the floppy disc era.

After forming his own agency, Foster Web Marketing, Tom started working on an all-in-one solution SaaS for website building. Creating his own software was a big undertaking, but there weren’t as many options back then. The platform, called DSS, continues to be part of his agency’s main offering. The platform offers CMS, CRM, lead management system and SEO tool, social media tools. Everything you’ll need for DIY digital marketing.

Recently, he received an offer to sell his agency. Although it was very flattering the time just wasn’t right. However, it helped him realize he needed to fix some things to increase the agency’s value to where he knew it could be. The most noticeable problem was that Tom was involved in everything. As the agency’s visionary, he knew he needed to fire himself that were not the most effective ways to spend his time.

Try a Different Approaches to Grow Agency Sales

For Tom, constant communication is the most important aspect of training someone in a new task in your agency. Of course, he also likes to hire people who bring their own experience. He recently hired someone with a lot of experience in a different area of sales. There are different types of sales people and different approaches to the sale:

  • Hunters find prospects and generate interest
  • Trappers close the sale

Tom used to exclusively hire trappers but now he wants a more well-rounded sales team. Rather than just continuing what he has done over the years,  he's looking for a new or different approach. He understand what he's been doing has gotten the agency where it is. However, in order to grow it's important to hire someone to get them to the next level. Online Training for Digital Agencies

Fire Yourself From Agency Operations

When he first started the agency, Tom coded, designed, wrote copy -- all the things! Recently, he has been delegating most of those tasks, or as he calls it, firing himself from his many jobs. He trusts his team to do a much better job. It wasn't easy at first, but he started by delegating any task he didn’t like and things he knew someone else could do better. He has a great agency team who he trusts and feels comfortable leaving the job to them.

You might be the person holding back your agency growth. Consider all the tasks you're doing. Which ones can be delegated? Which don't you like or aren't good at? Lean on your team and delegate outcomes. There are probably tasks you really enjoy doing and don’t want to let go of, and that’s fine. Tom still jumps into sales and marketing once in a while but acknowledges those can't be his focus while also focusing growing the agency.

Creating a Strong Agency Culture While Being Fully Virtual

When the pandemic started, Tom's office had a staff of 30. Like many businesses in the light of Covid-19, they swiftly moved to a remote team overnight and got stuck paying rent for an empty office for two years. In the end, it worked out well because going virtual allowed them to become more efficient and effective. As a fully remote agency, Tom sources talent from different parts of the country. Expanding beyond geographic limits has allowed him to hire amazing talent. It has also allowed him to keep talent that decided to move away from the DC area after the pandemic.

That said, company culture is a very important element of any successful agency and Tom admits it’s really hard to do over Zoom. How do you inspire a remote team and maintain culture? Keep your staff content by creating a good work environment. It’s not just about giving them a raise, it's about treating them with respect and protecting them from abusive clients.

Tom also believes in creating bonding moments in a virtual environment. He encourages game nights and morning meetings with the entire staff, where managers go over the most important things that happened the day before and the agenda for the day. This is a way to keep the entire staff in the loop when it comes to what’s happening in the company.

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Direct download: How_to_Increase_Agency_Valuation_By_Firing_Yourself.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

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