Jun 16, 2021
Today we’re continuing our series on agency fundamentals. Even if your agency is mature, this discussion is for you. One of the issues is the need to take time off without harming your business. The agency shouldn’t rely on any one person to survive. Three main ways to keep your agency running smoothly when you aren’t there are: a partner who can pick up the slack, systems and processes, and hiring a reliable team. Collaborating with other agencies is also an option that promotes more unity and gives your team the opportunity to benefit from outside specialists. By having these components in place, when something does happen, you can take an extended leave knowing that your agency will prosper during your absence. We talk about all of this and more on this week’s Agency Exposed episode.
Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:
For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:
About The Guys:
Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran 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:
[0:47] Brad kicks off this week’s episode with a chat about the trending Tesla S Plaid and Apple Keynote.
[3:08] Brad begins a conversation about challenges in small businesses such as how to prepare for an extended leave of absence and making sure that your business doesn’t decline. In order to take months off at a time, you need to have people you can rely on to pick up the slack and keep everything running smoothly. “You should always strive in your business, to make sure that you could take four months off and your business would still strive and grow. But to do that, you've got to have the right people in place that can have your back”
[5:27] Bob says that having a reliable, empathetic partner can enable you to leave with confidence.
[6:01] Ken points out that you need to make sure that you’re not abusing the relationship between you and your partner or doing anything to breed resentment.
[7:31] Bob asks about those who don’t have a business partner.
[8:54] Brad gives some insight into not having a partner. He explains that, “every day, I want to fire myself meaning that every day, I want to get to that point where I can leave for four months, and my business continues. Just as planned.”
[10:10] Brad asks about what roles are vital to solo-prenuers.
[10:35 Ken talks about the importance of processing and systems and how they can assist employees when leaders are unavailable.
[11:57] Ken mentions how the sustainability of your employees or your team in general is a factor. You don't want to burn people out. Breaks are a necessity. “Once you build that into your culture, then it's not it's not Big deal when someone has to take a long term period off”
[15:07] Bob asks, “What if you’re a small team?”
[15:15] Ken gives some tips on what to do if your team is small. He says, “What are the responsibilities that without you would not happen? And then how do you start to like, punch those out?...some of those things are process-related.” “in my experience, a lot of the things that keep people from being able to unplug or keep things from being able to systemized are just a lack of clarity”
[17:29] Ken says that systemizing as much as possible while still delivering an honest customer experience is key.
[18:37] Bob asks, “what are the roles that you fill that no one else can do?”
[19:48] Ken says that by breaking your roles down into things that are repeatable, you can create a process someone else can follow. “Part of building businesses is building systems that are repeatable”
[21:27] Bob says that the primary solution is just hiring really good people.
[21:47] Bob looks for skills and a passion for the business when hiring.
[22:19] Brad advises those hiring to “always hire someone more qualified than you.”
[23:20] Brad looks for someone who has the same vision and who communicates well when hiring.
[24:36] Ken wants to hire employees with strong character who believe in the business and what they’re doing. “what I don't want is someone who just wants a job.”
[26:56] Ken talks about how it is the leadership’s job to create a compelling environment that makes people want to work there.
[27:48] Bob points out the importance of transparency with your team and how that can lead to a bigger, clearer vision. “I think the more that you can have a culture of openness, it also fosters a culture of ownership”
[29:37] Ken talks about the importance of communicating with your employees and listening.
[32:05] Brad asks when is the right time for a sole owner to consider having a partner.
[33:54] Brad says that seasons of depression or boredom are common
[34:58] Ken talks about the importance of complementary skills and the difference between being good at something and getting energy from something.
“bringing somebody in that has complementary skills and you don't want to learn those skills, or maybe they're just depleting your energy, maybe that's the time to think about a partner or merging.”
[37:56] Brad talks about his experience collaborating with other agencies. “that's one of the things that we talked about early on in this podcast is that agencies tried to be so quiet and private, and they're almost so competitive against each other.
What if we lived in a world where every agency competitor was our best friends, and we could collaborate?”
[38:28] Ken adds his thoughts on collaboration and how building relationships is beneficial.
[42:12] Bob points out that often, “we think it's the clients that are going to miss us. But actually, it's your team that's going to miss you.”
[43:15] Ken states that it all becomes worth it once “you can actually step back when you need to and recharge and not worry about everything burning.”