Sep 1, 2023
Though the title may sound suspiciously too good to be true, trust us, it’s easier than you think to become the best in the world. Today, the guys dive into topics surrounding the challenges of agencies recently as well as commodity agencies, superpowers, being the best, cheapest, or only, profit, mindset, creativity, and more.
In this week's episode the guys have a conversation about the challenges faced by agencies in the current business landscape. Bob highlights the conflicting reports he has heard recently: some agencies claim to be thriving, while others are struggling to retain talent. This sets the stage for a discussion on how agencies can create value and improve their offerings. Brad emphasizes the concept of finding a "pure play," a specific area of expertise that distinguishes an agency from being perceived as a generic service provider. He also mentions the business strategy principle of being the only, the best, or the cheapest to succeed. He points out the unique challenges faced by agencies that fall between being the best and the cheapest, often resulting in mediocrity. Switching gears, Bob asks the participants to discuss what agencies can do to prepare for the future and make necessary adjustments. Brad shares his goal of diversifying revenue streams by aiming for 20% of their income to come from their own products in the next five years. He talks about forming alliances with like-minded agencies to create a larger community and broader offerings. Brad expands on his goals, expressing his desire to utilize their products to assist other businesses, engage in acquisitions, and serve clients while also being a significant customer themselves. Ken emphasizes the benefits of launching one's own products, highlighting the opportunities for innovation, balance, and freedom it provides. He stresses the importance of achieving profitability to invest in research and development and to continually showcase innovation. He adds that discovering and leveraging one's superpower, accurately pricing the value offered, and maximizing profit are crucial for building a successful business. delves into the critical factor for project success, attributing it to the mindset of agency leaders and teams, who must commit to achieving success regardless of the obstacles. To wrap up, Bob asks the guys to share the most important focus or action that solopreneurs and agencies of all sizes should undertake for the remainder of the year. Brad emphasizes the need for business owners to take time off and reflect on personal values before returning to run their businesses, as this can provide valuable insights. Ken highlights the significance of making significant investments in one's business, including purchasing items that expand capabilities and raise the bar for service offerings. In closing, Bob encourages agencies to identify their unique strengths, become recognized experts in their respective fields, and dedicate the next six months to honing their expertise in those areas.
Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:
Superpower all the way. Embracing your superpower empowers you to create a meaningful impact and achieve success in the competitive business world. It represents your unique strengths, sets you apart from competitors, and positions you as an expert. By focusing on your superpower, you attract the right audience, deliver exceptional value, and enhance your reputation. “It's essential to be good at whatever you do.”
Profit helps everyone, so make sure you’re getting enough. Profit is beneficial to everyone involved in a business. It fuels innovation and growth, enhances employee opportunities, and enables businesses to contribute to the community. Ultimately, a healthy profit ensures long-term sustainability and prosperity, benefiting customers, employees, stakeholders, and the wider community. “Let's say you make a million dollars a year, I believe you should have $300,000 of profit, like 30% or so after you pay yourself. Now you've got $300,000 that you can actually invest in r&d,like starting a product or a service or some area where you become one of your clients. Now you've got number one, an asset, number two, stability, and Number three, something that you can say, hey, I innovate all the time over here.”
Don’t become a commodity. Avoiding commodity status is crucial for businesses. It preserves uniqueness, prevents price competition, and maintains profitability. By emphasizing distinct value and exceptional experiences, businesses can stand out, attract loyal customers, and achieve long-term success in a crowded marketplace. “People have to think creatively about their sources of income, and not just rely on those commodity services, because those are going to constantly go through these waves of being lowered.”
For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:
About The Guys:
Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob:
Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:
Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken:
[1:31] Bob opens this week’s episode with his perspective on agencies and their struggles right now. “One thing I have noticed in the last month or two is I'm hearing a duality of things. I'm hearing, “business is booming, and it's great.” Or I'm hearing, “we're really struggling, we can't keep people.””
[4:23] Ken talks about things that he and his business are doing to continue to create value and get better at what they do.
[5:23] Brad discusses the idea of finding your pure play, “something specific that you do really well that you’re known for” and how that can help you not be a ‘commodity agency’.
[7:31] Brad brings up the business strategy principle that in order to succeed, you want your business to be the only, the best, or the cheapest; he discusses the challenges that are unique to the agencies that fall between the best and cheapest. “I think agencies are struggling between being the cheapest, and being the best, and they're actually just mediocre.”
[8:10] Ken adds a quote from Dan Kennedy, “there is no strategic advantage to being the second cheapest.”
[9:15] Bob begins a discussion about the pros and cons of being the cheapest on the market by talking about convenience versus value when your business chooses the cheapest strategy. “I don't know that the customers see you as valuable. I think they see you as convenient. So that can be a business model, but I don't think if you're trying to look for value you're going to find that and be the cheapest.”
[13:12] Brad summarizes the pros and cons of choosing to be the cheapest, and highlights that while this strategy is possible, it is incredibly challenging to achieve in the service industry.
[15:38] Bob changes topics, asking the guys to, “talk about what agencies can do as they look down the road into next year, and how do they need to adjust?”
[16:15] Brad talks about how he and his business are pursuing a goal to reach 20% of their revenue from their own products in the next five years as well as an agency community. “So right now, we're in talks with a group of agencies that are like minded, who are looking to do a very similar type of roll up and to understand what that might look like. So we would still act as our own agencies and we would be part of a greater community and a greater offering.”
[17:56] Brad elaborates on his goals, discussing how he wants to use his products to help other businesses, acquisitions, and clients. “make yourself one of your number one clients.”
[25:15] Ken talks about the balance, opportunities, and freedom to innovate that launching your own products can provide. “I think it's essential to be good at whatever you do and to have your own place where you can fail and play with things.”
[26:46] Ken discusses the wide reaching benefits of developing your own products as well as the significance of profit. “Let's say you make a million dollars a year, I believe you should have $300,000 of profit, like 30% or so after you pay yourself. Now you've got $300,000 that you can actually invest in r&d,like starting a product or a service or some area where you become one of your clients. Now you've got number one, an asset, number two, stability, and Number three, something that you can say, hey, I innovate all the time over here.”
[29:55] Bob talks about the way to avoid lowering prices in commodities. “You guys are talking about the way forward; I think people have to think creatively about their sources of income, and not just rely on those commodity services, because those are going to constantly go through these waves of being lowered.”
[32:31] Ken says that being aware of your superpower, leveraging it to you and your client’s advantage, and pricing your value accurately to create a maximized profit is the best way to create the best version of your business. “But you have to find the superpower. And then you have to figure out your cost basis. And then you have to add your profit… I talk to a lot of agency owners about this, and a lot of times I come up against a very limiting belief of like, “oh, we cannot do that. No one does that. It's wrong to do that.” All this stuff, right? And they're suffering in this really poor business model.”
[36:46] Ken dives deep into a discussion about the determining factor in a project’s success, the client’s mindset, and relates it to pricing. “It turns out, the determining factor in success is simply the person who's like the leader, or the team, basically saying we will be successful one way or another. That factor is critical. The premium price helps sift out all the people that are not.”
[40:14] Bob asks the guys, “What is the one thing that every solopreneur, small agency, and medium and large agency needs to be thinking about and or doing for the rest of this year?”
[40:34] Brad says that all business owners need to take time off. “You need to go and take a day and not deal with the business. Go away, take a walk, and think about life and what you're about, personally, and what is meaningful to you personally, and then go back and run your business. It will help, trust me.”
[41:13] Ken mentions the importance of making a significant investment in your business. “Buy something expensive that scares you, that is an investment, but also something that expands your level. You can't sell someone something for $100,000 If you don't buy something for $100,000.”
[41:46] Bob closes out by saying, “find out what your only is, become the obvious expert, and work on that for the next six months.”