3 Ways To Make Your Agency More Scalable And Profitable

If the revenue in your agency has flatlined I’m going to share 3 ways most agencies break the current cap on their revenue ceiling. 

If you’re stuck under $50k/month...this is a must-watch. 

That’s all I gotta say about this one…

Give it a watch. 

​Transcript / MP3

What's good everybody? In this episode, I want to break down three ways that you can make your agency more scalable and more profitable. ...

Let's get it going.

For three years, my agency built funnels and automation systems for the biggest names in marketing today. Since then, I've transformed that agency into a hyper profitable training and consulting business. While everyone is out there talking about scale like it's some sort of destination, we'll be asking the real question, how do you transform your business into a more scalable model using the knowledge, skills, and expertise that you already have? This podcast is here to give you the answer. Join me and follow along as I learn, apply and share the strategies I'm using to build my multimillion-dollar business. My name is Greg Hickman and welcome to Scalable.

So in this video, I want to talk about three ways that you can make your agency more scalable and more profitable. Now I have been, um, kind of through various versions of our agency all the way through now to having training and coaching. And I just had the opportunity to go and speak with a bunch of the certified partners and referral partners for active campaign, which is a, you know, a marketing automation tool that, that we use, our clients use. Um, and that a lot of agencies either are using or should be using to really streamline their, their sales, their marketing, and their fulfillment. Anyway, so we're there and I had the opportunity to sit in front of a room of digital agency owners right from people doing website development to, you know, automation and funnels to paid traffic, uh, to different sorts of, of tech implementation. And we were talking through how they were going about growing their business, both from a sales perspective and the challenges of, of being able to fulfill on all of the requests. And we really got into talking about what they could be doing to make their business more profitable, more scalable, so that they're not really working late into the evenings and even into the weekends. Just to take on that one extra client to make a little bit more money. And really what it comes down to and is an opportunity that I see for a lot of digital agency owners. And I actually am going to kind of share my screen here, um, and kind of draw with you here. So like right now I think there is there, there's a challenge with the way most most agencies, digital agencies specifically have gone about growing their business. And many of them reach the wall, maybe this or hit a wall May. And maybe this is you. And in this scenario we have a, you know, you're growing your business and you have a certain amount of expenses, right?

Maybe your certain people and you have a couple of contractors that help you or maybe an assistant or whatever that helps you with the fulfillment. So this is your expenses, right? And you go out there and you sell projects or you sell retainers, whatever you're selling, and that's obviously generating your revenue. But after all of the expenses, there's really only a tiny bit of profit left. Okay? Like, there's literally, there's in many cases for many, many of the of the owners that we were speaking with, there was little money left over to even, you know, pay themselves. But the challenge here with this being kind of the situation for them where, you know, they have all these expenses, they're getting contractors, they're doing the fulfillment, right? They get a new client sales and marketing stop, they jumped into fulfillment and they're doing the work right?

Oftentimes, you know, if this is you, you're the one doing the actual fulfillment and uh, thus obviously not doing any sort of, you know, generating prospects or sales or, or any, any of that. And so you have a little money to show for it, but the real challenge ends up being over here in the fact that you're like, if this is your capacity, you're like maxed out like you have, you're like overflowing. You have no more bandwidth really to take on any more clients. And there's a lot of reasons for this, which we're going to talk about here in just a second. Um, but what I've found to, to really ring true for a lot of folks, and this was us at one point too, is the fact that, okay, right, so you have all this capacity and the only way to like make more money is to, you know, obviously add one more client or another client.

But in order to do that, you then go into working evenings and or weekends, right? You're like, all right, well cool. I can like take in the work, I can, I can work on it on my own time in the evening, I can get back to them next week. And you start just filling up the tank even more, which leads to a lot of, you know, this overflow and you start to burn out and you burn out really quickly. And the reality is that this nature of done for you work is really smart to get started, but caps out quickly.

And maybe you felt this right? Maybe you felt this because you're like, all right, cool. I just need one more client and I can hit the next next level of revenue goals. You had that one client, you're like, all right, well I'm going to do that. I got to add this next client and now I'm working evenings and weekends. And what ends up happening is all you're doing is working on your client's business, right? There's no time for you to even work on your own sales and your own marketing, right? It's the classic case of the Cobbler's kids have no shoes. So if that's you there, that's a huge problem, right? Because you can only actually work with so many clients at a given time. And if you're already not making enough money, doing that and adding one or two more clients now fills it even more.

You have no time to work on your own business, right? And you, you have like a cap on how much revenue you can actually generate, right? So you might look right now and say, even if I were to add two more clients at what you're charging right now, you're still not actually paying yourself what you want to be paying yourself because of how you conduct business, right? Your, your revenue comes in and it's washed out pretty much evenly by most of your expenses. And you have a little bit of profit leftover if any, because you're paying out, you know, contractors obviously your own time, you know, any sort of payroll, et Cetera, right? And so you end up having this, this kind of feast or famine kind of lifestyle where you get a client, you do the work, then you go back into hunting and fishing and trying to find, you know, the next opportunity.

Right? And so what I want to talk about is some things that you can be thinking about to really make your agency more scalable and more profitable. And really it's, it's ties into what I believe is like the biggest opportunity right now for, for digital agency owners. And right now in the marketplace, you have yourself, which you know, say you're an agency owner, we'll say agency owners and you know, I'll put in here people that, you know, maybe you, maybe you're a coach or consultant and you do a lot of one-on-one, you know, done for you full service type work, right? And then you see over here kind of the, the info person selling courses, et Cetera, maybe memberships.

Right. And the funny thing is we have, and we talked to all of these folks, so it's like, it's kind of interesting how you see this play out, but you have agency owners kind of on the right side looking at you know course creators and all that stuff. Kind of hey the grass is greener over there. Like there's people that are selling training and information and not having to do all of the work. And that sounds really nice. But you also have, you know, of course creators and Info marketers that are like, man, I'm tired of only selling courses for like 500 bucks. And I would love to be able to charge a lot. I'd love to actually have a relationship with my clients, have something that is a little bit more intimate where I can like assure that they're getting results. I forget the latest study that talks about course completion rates, but it's like less than 2% or something like that.

And so there's a lot of people that are buying information but they're not actually applying that information. Right? And so you know, you're looking over at these guys saying, man, it must be nice, right? Agency owners are looking at the course people saying it must be nice but little do you know that the course people are looking over at you and saying hey, it must be nice. Okay, so what really is the huge opportunity is that as a service provider there's this bridge that I think we need to start crossing and starting to introduce some new opportunities. And on this bridge you're going to find what we call the hybrid agency.

Another term for that is you know, productized and we want you to live, start to live right here on this bridge because there is, there is a happy middle between done for you services and you know, online training and things like that, right? You can actually have the best of both worlds and it's really starting to find this notion of you know, this hybrid agency. And that kind of leads me into the the three things that you could be doing right now in your agency to, you know, catapulting your revenue and really starting to add a layer of profitability, right? So thing number one is to, I'll say kind of just develop kind of your core service, right? So right now as an agency owner, many of you guys kind of serve a wide niche of people and have a wide array of services that you offer.

You possibly have a service menu and you will say, hey Mr and Mrs Prospect, here are some of the things we can do. They'll cherry pick the things that they want and then you go and you deliver it, right? You do that a handful of times and you have a unique solution for every new client, right? And a lot of times that has to do with the fact that you have a wide arrange of services and you serve a large variety of types of clients. You serve the dentist, the Chiropractor, the, you know, the digital agency, the, the online course creator, you help people in life coaching, all these different kinds of avatars, right? And so developing a core service is really about niching down and narrowing your deliverables.

And when you do both of these things in a way where you can sell an outcome, you actually become a problem solver, right? Instead of saying, hey Mr and Mrs Prospect, I can do all of these things for you. In which case they're hiring you essentially as labor. They're looking at you to like be hands to keyboard doing all the work. But I guess at some point in your career you were hired because of what you knew the thing that was in your head, right? There's a lot of experience there that enables you to do the things that you do so well for your clients. Right? But at some point it kind of tipped over and you just started doing a lot of the work for them and you became a glorified freelancer or you know, one of those agency owners that only really has one or two clients because they can't take on anymore cause they're essentially like an outsourced marketing department for another company or a couple of companies, right?

So when you develop a core service, right, and this is really the nature of, you know, productizing, you know, selling marketing and delivering your services like a product, but they need to be outcome-oriented. Like what is the problem you are solving? What is the result that they're going to get when they go through your process? Right? So we call this your proprietary process. Okay. When you have a proprietary process on how to take your client from, you know, sad face to happy face, right? And you know that, hey like I have a whatever step process to get them there, you really start to develop the systems around that process, right? So instead of being, Hey, we or full service and we do all of these things, the first way is to narrow down what it is you do to a core service offering. And that is your flagship product, whatever you want to call it, your signature service.

This is the thing that you essentially can be leading with, um, as your offering, right? And so people will pay you money for it and they're going to pay you money based on the value that you can create for them, not necessarily the hours that you're working. Cause right now many of you are, uh, you know, being paid for your time, which obviously there's only so much time that you have and what you do for them probably yields a much larger return than what they're paying you. And so you want to start charging based on value creation, right? And when you have a core service that is geared towards solving a specific problem, ideally a, a valuable problem that your clients have, you have a really great flagship revenue stream that you're going to focus on, right? There's a lot of other benefits of having this to like streamline your marketing.

Now you have systems. I have literally tons of other episodes on that topic about what to automate first and all that stuff. Definitely check out the youtube channel and or listen on iTunes or any audio platform of your choice. But right now we're talking about kind of scalability from a revenue and a profitability perspective, right? So one, develop your core service. Then the second is really to start to introduce training. Now I don't believe you should just introduce any sort of training, but if you have this proprietary process, right, you ha you have this method that allows people to get a specific result. Well guess what? As an agency owner, haven't there been prospects that you've spoken to that already had an internal team? So they didn't really need you but they wanted what's in your head? This is where you start to monetize your intellectual property, right?

So if you can extract everything that you do for your clients and start wrapping it into strategies and frameworks and training, you now have another revenue stream that you didn't have before and you can now sell training, which is really interesting, right? Because having been in large agencies that represented big brands, we would get hired and they would say, hey look, a part of what we're paying you to do is also to train our team so that we can bring it in house. How many times has that happened to you? Right? How many times has someone said, hey, I want you to show me how you're doing the thing you're doing so that my guy or gal internally can do it and then we don't need you. Right? There is pretty much always align where the company that's paying you as an agency will want to bring it in house and it's going to be more beneficial.

So this allows you to start equipping them and enabling them to do that, which in many cases after you either develop the core service or deliver the core service, they might want you for ongoing training to better train their people. Now they don't need to go get that c level person or that really expensive person internally because they have that outsourced. They have the strategy, the knowledge, the intellectual property outsourced into you. And your job is to transfer that knowledge back into their people, which you know are going to be more affordable. Think the Labor, right? So this is kind of the best of both worlds for you. This really starts to bridge this gap and create this hybrid opportunity that we help our clients create, right? And so you're going to have training. Now, this could be workshops, this could be virtual. You know, these can be events in some capacity.

You could have clients fly to you, you could fly to clients and you could teach multiple clients at the same time. Or you could go into an organization and teaching departments, right? So adding this training layer is really a much more profitable revenue stream. So when you look at where were where we started, right? If you have this scenario over here, we're going to add just on this side, say you say you just bolted this on to your existing business. Oops, I want to do so you just bolted this on, right? So you have your current expenses and now you have this new hybrid stuff that you're doing that's going to be way more profitable than over here, right? So you could literally just bolted on and now you have a secondary offering that could come after you deliver your core service. Or to some people that just didn't buy your core service because they really just wanted the information. Now the last piece is coaching and consulting, right? This is very similar. Um, oh, not very similar to training, right? You still have your intellectual property. You could kind of bundle these together, but this is where you kind of have the opportunity for ongoing guidance, right?

You can add on a coaching layer for six months or sometimes even 12 months. You see a lot of executives to have this executive coaching, right? You have ongoing guidance and coaching around what they're doing. Maybe you're not necessarily training people, but they are coming to you for new ideas and strategies and critiques and things like that and you're giving them feedback. But then their team goes to, to implement, right? So in both of these cases right here, they do the Labor right and you're getting paid for what's in your brain. So there's a huge opportunity to start adding these pieces into your agency to add a more profitable revenue stream. Right? When we first started our agency, we only sold retainers and that obviously had a limitation, right? One, because we could only serve so many people actively at one time, but there was a lot of clients that we didn't enroll and didn't bring into our agency because we didn't really have a, a need to serve them ongoing, but because they had internal staff, right?

But they wanted what was in our brains and there was no way for us to translate that to them until we came and started developing our own training and our own coaching stuff to add to the agency. Right now in another episode, I'll jump into kind of the progression here because what we see is a lot of agencies that like again, you have this hybrid model that we've been talking about and the opportunity is look, well you can, you can kind of do the agency and add this on or you could eventually evolve just into this hybrid altogether. You could, you could eventually eliminate, you know, your, your core service and only train and coach on it. Like there's, that's a possibility depending upon your market where you want to take your business, right? But right now the way you do business is very hands-on, done for you and often cases very generalized. If you want to add a more scalable opportunity, scalable revenue streams, something that can be more systemized, streamlined, productize, you can start adding these other elements to your business like training, coaching and consulting. Okay. So those are three ways that you can now think about ways to make your agency a little bit more scalable and definitely more profitable, but just taking that process that's in your head and developing it and delivering it in a different way.

If I give you five to 10 new clients, would you or your agency break if so, your current agency model is broken? I struggle with this too, until I found a better way. By adding online programs, training, and coaching to our agency, we've doubled profits without adding more hours. If you want to work directly with me and my team to transform your agency, visit myscalablebusiness.com to learn more.

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