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Growing an agency is very difficult, and you might feel unclear what to do next in order to grow and scale your agency. The Smart Agency Masterclass is a weekly podcast for agencies that are wanting to grow faster. We interview amazing guests from all over the world that have the experience of running successful businesses, and will provide you the insights you need. Our podcast is just over 3 years old, and have reached more than a half million listeners in 42 countries.
 
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show series
 
What do you think about hustle culture? Do you have a healthy work-life balance with your agency? Does your team? As the owner, you set the tone for the agency's culture. And what is important to you by extension becomes important to the team. Today’s guest owns a boutique agency she started after quitting her job in the tech space after feeling ex…
 
Do you feel like you're in no man's land? Growing beyond the $1 Million mark and beyond 7 figures can be a very gray area where the agency is making more money but the owner is working more than ever. This is no man’s land and it's a sign you need a strong leadership team to get the agency to the next level. Today’s guest is an accidental agency ow…
 
If you’ve been paying attention, then you know this is the year for AI content creation like ChatGPT. (Even Ryan Reynolds and Mint Mobile know it :) Should your agency be using it too? Are you worried about turning off clients over this technology? Or could you make more money using it? There are drawbacks, which is why agency owners need to know t…
 
If you're in the early stages of your agency, what should you prioritize in order to grow? With so many things to track and so many hats to wear, how do you know what's most important? What deserves your time and attention? As a solopreneur with a startup, building relationships and establishing values for your are crucial for growth. Yet, some own…
 
Looking to improve agency margins and profitability? Which key metrics are important to track? Are you paying yourself a salary? How much cash should you have in reserve? If you’re hoping to sell soon, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of starting to pay yourself a salary. Potential buyers will pay attention to this and many other details …
 
What do you need to know about selling your agency? Is the market right for a sale or acquisition? What does a successful M&A deal look like? It's actually a good time to sell and there’s no shortage of buyers. If you are prepared and have guidance, an acquisition can be smoother and faster than you think. Today’s guest specializes in mergers and a…
 
Would you like to increase agency lead generation and have so many prospects you get to pick and choose who you want to work with? Finding the right lead gen strategy is an important part of your agency’s growth. Today’s guest has found a simple framework that worked for him as well as many of his clients. By just fine-tuning 3 aspects of most lead…
 
Is your digital agency too reliant on you? Are you always putting out fires and answering questions? Is your team empowered to succeed without you? It's all about being intentional with how you spend your time and creating the processes to support your role as agency CEO. In this episode, a time and profit expert shares ways you can stop being the …
 
Would you like your agency to be more profitable? Have you analyzed which of your clients are profitable and which engagements are losing money? You may feel you're doing everything right but still aren't profitable. However, it could be just a case of learning how to assess each client's profitability and raising prices on legacy clients. Today’s …
 
Happy clients grow your business. So what is the secret to happier clients? Is your agency making a good first impression? Building a rapport with them on a human level? How are your setting your agency apart from the competition? We talked to one agency owner who always prefers to go for a true connection by building the relationship first. When i…
 
Does your agency align with a purpose or cause? Are you hiring diversly to bring in different viewpoints? Today’s guest has a lot of experience working with non-profits, which is how she's become an expert on purpose-driven marketing and recruiting, as well as avoiding natural bias in business. She shares some of the ways she implemented purposeful…
 
Do you have an agency business partner? Are you considering bringing on a partner? Or experiencing challenges with your partner? Many people are afraid to start an agency with a partner because they think it will end badly. And it's true, striking the right balance with a partner is no easy feat. However, finding a partner that compensates for your…
 
Have you ever asked your team what they don't want to do anymore? What would your employees eliminate, if they could? One agency owner started asking these important questions and unlocked rapid growth by implementing their ideas and truly innovating processes. For his agency, niching down and adopting innovation as an agency value made all the dif…
 
Are you trapped working 24/7 in your agency? Do you know who to hire and how to empower them to make the right decisions? How do you build the culture for a growing team? Discover how one agency owner built and scaled a successful agency with multifaceted hires who wear many hats. She is currently working on her building her second agency and share…
 
Want to make better hires? Looking to improve your agency's employee retention? Many times, a high turnover rate is a consequence of a flawed hiring process. You need to understand what you're looking for and how each person will contribute not only to the agency's effectiveness but also to its culture. Today's guest has developed a system that too…
 
Would you like to build authority with a speaking career? Want to generate new agency business from a stage, unsure how to get speaking engagements? As an agency owner, speaking can be lucrative when you’re speaking at the right events and to the right audience. However, there are some things you should be clear on before you begin. Today’s guest h…
 
Are you looking for the right formula to take your agency into the multi-millions? Getting to the million-dollar mark can happen easily, but getting to the multi-million level takes strategy. It's all about building processes, hiring a team, and choosing a niche so you continue to grow. Today’s guests found themselves in a situation where they need…
 
What big agency failures have you had? How did you overcome them? Most people don’t like to talk about failure but we all know it's part of being an entrepreneur. The road to growing your agency is filled with them and it’s good to reflect on how we deal with failure. It's also important to look back on things that seemed like the worst-case scenar…
 
How will your agency face an economic recession? Does your positioning allow your agency to evolve and come out stronger? If you haven’t been preparing for a similar scenario, now is a good time to make some changes. Think about your agency’s position in the ecosystem of today’s market and how it could pivot to improve it. Today’s guest has seen so…
 
Are you considering a merger in the future? Have you thought about the logistics of managing the resulting agency? How would the structure of that newly merged agency look? There are many things to consider with a possible merger, like making sure it equally benefits both the team and the clients. Today's guest entered into M&A as the solution for …
 
How many hours per week do you spend working IN your business? Do you need a better work-life balance? Would you like to focus just on the work you really like? One agency owner went from dedicating 50+ hours/week to her agency to working 10-12 hours per week. She did it by recognizing her strengths, setting up the right systems and coaching her te…
 
Does your agency develop content for clients? Do you have an in-house content team or outsource? What issues have you run into building your content team? The key to amazing content is building an amazing team. However, a common struggle for agency owners is not knowing the right structure or managing style. Today’s guest will share some insight on…
 
Have you heard of the four-day week? Is it something you've ever considered for your agency? Many people feel it is a good way to find the work-life balance we all dream of, while others argue it's not practical. Today’s guest decided to give it a try and now explains how he came to that decision and how it has worked out for his team. Chris Free i…
 
What is your client onboarding experience like? Is it seamless and easy? Do your clients feel important and seen? This is the first impression new clients experience with your agency and it might be the most important interaction. Today's guest has been an agency owner for more than two decades and has adapted to the many changes in the industry. H…
 
Have you built a scalable lead gen system to boost your agency’s growth? Most agencies start with referrals. But eventually, you need a reliable lead generation system to keep your pipeline full. Today’s guest found himself at that point when his agency reached $80K in revenue, at which point he realized the agency needed to step up in terms of lea…
 
Do you spend too much time in endless meetings? Do you have the right systems in order to be efficient with your time? Are you ready to reclaim your time and focus on working on the business? Today’s guest helps his clients use technology to implement automations and SOPs to build an ideal future for them. In this interview, he shares his personal …
 
Do you have 1-2 big clients making up most of your revenue? Is the majority of your agency's livelihood tied to just one major account? Riding the wave of a super client can be nice while it lasts but when the client leaves you will be forced to make some difficult decisions, just like today's guest. The choices are to shut down the agency or rebui…
 
Do you have issues with employee retention? Are wondering what you can do to make your agency a more attractive place to work so you stop losing employees to the competition? Today’s guest has made retention a huge focus in the development of his agency. So much so that he’s only lost two employees to the competition in the past three years. He now…
 
Are you tracking your agency’s gross margin? How about the EBITDA? KPIs are super important and something every agency owner should be aware of. But which KPIs you track depends on the priorities you set for the agency. Do you want to grow fast? Are you planning to sell soon? Having a clear vision and goals makes a difference when it comes to what …
 
Do you struggle with educating clients on relevant messaging? Great messaging addresses the audience's emotional connection with an issue and sometimes that means it's not all about the product. Educating clients on looking beyond their product can be tricky. However, once they understand it they'll see significant growth. Today’s guest increased h…
 
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 y…
 
Are you struggling with client acquisition? Do you offer a ton of services but still can't scale? Wonder what else you could be doing to get the attention of the right clients? In today’s episode, we’ll learn how an agency went from getting most of its business from cold emails to evolving its acquisition model. Our guest also shares the mistakes h…
 
Have you considered creating a course to attract clients? How about having so much business you need to start a waitlist? Creating a course is one way to pour your knowledge and experience into content that gains interest in your agency services. Today’s show guest started making courses and offering mentorship which eventually led to a mastermind,…
 
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 …
 
Agency owners make important decisions every day. But, what are the most important decisions to grow your agency? How can you make sure you’re making the best ones for the agency? Simply put, the biggest, most important decisions are the ones that positively impact your agency in the long term. Those are the ones made with the future of your busine…
 
Are you searching for ways to stand out from your competition? Niching down is one way to do it, but that alone might not necessarily cut it when it comes to getting noticed. One school of thought drilling down even more in a technology or service vertical. And don’t underestimate how far genuine honesty and asking the right questions will take you…
 
How do you leverage relationships to get results for your clients? How can you leverage an acquisition to grow your agency faster? Today’s guest has a lot of experience in targeted product sampling and built her agency around taking products directly to consumers. It’s an industry where getting the product into the hands of the right influencers wi…
 
Would you like to dive into the NFT world? Agencies are finding ways to use NFTs to connect their clients with their audiences. What's an NFT and how can you get in on it? Today’s guest has worked with big companies that recognized their potential as collectibles. He also created his own NFT project with a charitable and environmental focus and now…
 
How can you boost agency profitability? Do you have a clear plan for being profitable? Some agency owners start out thinking they want to get to $100 million. But, whatever you expect to get at $100M, could you get it at $10M? How about right now? Most likely, what you really want is freedom. Today’s guest found out getting there is just a matter o…
 
What story are you telling prospective clients about your agency? With audiences getting savvier about skipping over or blocking traditional marketing, it’s important to tell a story that engages your audience. Today’s guest specializes in creating such narratives for his clients and offers some tips for agency owners who want to leverage this stra…
 
Do you dedicate time to work on your agency’s marketing? Would you hire a dedicated team to handle your agency’s short-term and long-term marketing strategy? Today’s guest talks about two common mistakes that sabotage your pipeline and how he built a dedicated marketing team for his agency. Jeff Gapinski is the founder and president of Huemor, a we…
 
Is it time to replace yourself within your agency? Could you grow faster with by bringing on someone in a president role? What do you expect from someone in this seat? Today’s guest was brought into a digital agency to help run the business as the owner stepped back. He now recalls his journey adjusting to the role of president and gives tips on wh…
 
Are you tired of waiting for clients to provide content? Is your agency thinking of offering content creation as a service? The demand for content is on the rise and research shows content creation is profitable for agencies. However, many agencies are not using content creation to its full potential because they don't understand the value of conte…
 
Do you offer too many agency services? Are you trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, making you the master of none? Does your broad service offering dilute your team's focus? Today's guest is an e-commerce expert whose agency works exclusively with one e-commerce platform he believes is better than the rest. In this interview, he talks about what's ne…
 
Are you having a hard time finding the right candidates to fill roles on your team? Does your hiring process take culture fit into account? A solid hiring process is key to agency growth. Today’s guest has worn many hats in her career in the agency world and has learned to always keep the recruitment pipeline full at all times. How can you manage t…
 
Are you an accidental agency owner trying to grow fast? Rapid agency growth isn't necessarily the best way to grow. When you're going through the ups and downs you want to get to the other side quickly. But slow and steady wins the race and for one agency, hitting the one million dollar mark changed everything. He went from running a “mom and pop s…
 
What are your goals for agency growth? Would you like to grow your agency to 7- or 8-figures? That is exactly what this agency owner did when he built a highly successful $50 million-dollar agency with a team of 400 people. He did it by staying ahead of the curve with technology and building leaders who evolve with the growing agency. Robert Hender…
 
Would you like to attract more clients with outbound sales? Do you need to build a successful sales team that gets results? Today’s guest is a sales expert who helps agency owners get out of sales and build a successful sales team. It’s all about building consistency and using your network to create relationships that will help you grow your agency…
 
Have you clearly identified your place in the market? Have you selected a core leadership team to help you take the agency to the next level? Do you unknowingly have a principle-agent problem? After 10 years in the business, one successful agency owner shares the steps he followed to skyrocket growth. He covers everything from the importance of hav…
 
How can you propel agency growth while removing yourself from operations? How can you manage a fully remote team while keeping an active, fun work culture? What is it like to work with big tech brands? Today’s guest saw a huge jump in her agency's growth during the pandemic and discovered the benefits of growing a remote team. Now she is figuring o…
 
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