As a leader with a lot on your plate, it’s easy to lose sight of the important things in running a successful agency.
You might find yourself fixated on a major problem, thinking that that is where you are needed most. Or you might choose to play it safe and stick to the tasks you know how to do—because it’s what you’re comfortable with.
In the grand scheme of things, both scenarios are okay as long as you strike a balance between honing your skills and leaving your comfort zone. After all, your company grows along with your leadership skills.
As much as businesses compete with each other, they also do what they can to push fellow aspirers up the ladder of success. So take the advice of these 12 CEOs and Agency Owners.
1. “Hire well and delegate.”
— Mandy McEwen, Founder & CEO of Mod Girl Marketing
Mod Girl Marketing has been named a top 20 Digital Marketing Agency and top 25 SEO Agency. Their services include content marketing, storytelling, PR, and social media strategy and management.
“There are so many important aspects of running a successful agency, but the one that stands out most to me is the ability to hire well and delegate. ‘Hire slow, fire fast,’ they say.
As an agency owner, you cannot do it all alone. I mean you can, but good luck scaling or having a life. Finding good people to help you is crucial. Then, learning how to manage those people and delegate appropriately is key.
It’s not easy. Especially now with the workforce challenges small business owners are facing. But it’s 100% crucial if you want to build and scale a successful agency.”
2. “Systems and general organization.”
— Grace Everitt, CEO & Creative Director of Tako Agency
Tako Agency is centered on eCommerce—specifically clients with Shopify Plus accounts. They provide web designs, web developments, and web optimization for their clients.
“If I was forced to choose, I think I’d have to say systems and general organization. It’s far from sexy and not exciting for most people. Unless you’re our Ops Wizard, Emma.
A lot of agencies—ours included—make [stuff] up as they go along. But once you reach a certain size, that just doesn’t cut it anymore. You get bogged down by inefficiencies and mistakes and suddenly, you’re working harder instead of smarter.
It’s frustrating, demoralizing, and a complete waste of time.
Deciding to take our organizational needs seriously and bringing an actual operations person on board full-time was a total game-changer for us.
It freed up my time to focus on growth and actually ended up making us more money. Because team members were wasting less time on nonsense and more time on revenue-driving activities.
Bottom line: if you want to become—or stay—successful, get your house in order. Find an Emma (because you can’t have ours).”
3. “Variability is the enemy.”
— Max Sher, Owner & Website Specialist of The Sher Agency
The Sher Agency is a web design and development company for SMEs. They don’t offer other marketing services as they are completely dedicated to making top-performing websites.
“When running a great agency, variability is the enemy. You want things to be as systematized and consistent as possible—processes are the only way to achieve this.
Choose one thing to be great at, document it as thoroughly as possible, and follow those steps religiously!”
4. “Communicating and keeping clients in the loop.”
— Gene Sower, President of Samson Media
Samson Media is a web design and development company that also offers a wide range of digital marketing services. They’re committed to optimizing their clients’ digital presence.
“I think one of the most important aspects of running a successful company is communicating and keeping clients in the loop.
With the trend toward automation, frustrating robotic voiced phone trees, and impersonal chatbots, we’ve adopted a more radical approach: we answer the phone!
And if we are too busy to answer the phone (by a real, live human being) we actually… wait for it—CALL YOU BACK.
Like the return of vinyl records, we use a personal touch to speak with clients and prospects by answering the phone and returning emails. Through this, we believe we can gain a competitive advantage over more automated, and often frustrating, methods of communications.
In the same vein, we also speak to our clients regularly. And while we always strive for superior results—sometimes less than stellar results, particularly for services like SEO—the process can be offset by involving the client.
But keeping them updated creates an atmosphere of partnership to let them know we’re on the same team and in it together. I believe that creating that bond is key to growing and sustaining any business.”
5. “Rid yourself of fear.”
— Desirae Haluk, Founder & CEO of Clairant Services
Clairant Services is a marketing agency for startups and small businesses. They specialize in all aspects of marketing strategies from rebranding, email marketing, and social media, and more.
“Running a successful company is easy when you rid yourself of fear.
I had fear for years before I decided to launch Clairant. I quit my corporate job with a steady salary and decided to control my own destiny. Here I am, almost 2 years later increasing revenue every month.
The first and most important is eliminating the fear that holds many entrepreneurs back. I thought, if I fail, all I have to do is get another corporate job and catch up financially. So once the fear was gone, I had taken and thrown away all the mistakes from previous leaders I had the pleasure of learning from.
I then thought about all their best practices in leadership styles, technology platforms, automation tools, and the ability to find great talent in all the right places.
I chose to run the company lean so that I could recover if I had a few bad months. This paid off significantly. I started off with 1099 employees so that if I didn’t have revenue coming in then I didn’t have to pay anyone.
I quickly outsourced a great CFO that could help me with my finances and goals. This gave me clarity and a clear path to success. I networked hard and used all of my resources and connections to get business and then the referrals came.
From there every day gets better because every day is a learning experience. Anyone can run a successful company if you have the drive. But remember that if you fail, fail fast, pivot the ship, and get back on the horse.”
6. “A company must put their people first without malice.”
— Steven Pope, Founder of My Amazon Guy
My Amazon Guy is a full-service Amazon Agency that growth hacks sales through traffic and conversion improvements.
“All companies need People, Process, and Product.
But without People, a leader is nothing more than an unscalable superhero masquerading. A company must put their People first without malice.”
7. “Believe in your vision and stick to your strategy.”
— Mike White, CEO & Founding Partner of Lively Worldwide
Lively is a brand communications agency that fuses live experiences, technical innovation, and powerful content.
“The most important aspect of running a successful business is to believe in your vision and stick to your strategy. There’s a reason you’ve created your own business and it is because you believe and are passionate about something.
You need to surround yourself with great people while being sure they too believe in what you are doing.
When running a company, people are everything and these people need to make up one team that is excited about what they are passionate about. It needs a strong vision and strategy to follow.
And this needs to be reviewed regularly to not only stay ahead of the competition but also stay ahead of change. If a company stays agile and dynamic and always looking to the future, then your team and customers will not only stay with you, more will come.”
8. “It’s their experience of us while creating that content.”
— Richie Kulchar, Founder of Junk Films
Junk Films is a production company that’s worked with many major brands in California.
“The work we do is great, I’m very proud of it. But there are a thousand guys behind me in line who produce the same level of work. We’re not signing on clients and renewing contracts year after year because of the content we produce—it’s their experience of us while creating that content.
We make our client’s experience painless, fun, and open to collaboration. When the job is done and our client is over the moon because they accomplished their goal while dealing with awesome people, they’re going to refer us to others and they’ll be excited to do it.
And so begins the network of clients who dig our vibe (and our work), because we all make decisions based on our vibe and how things make us feel. The more relationships like that we can maintain, the more success is sure to come our way.”
9. “Being organized.”
— Kaitlyn Study, Owner & Creative Director of South Street & Co.
South Street & Co. is a marketing agency that offers design services, and coaching and consulting apart from digital marketing and advertising.
“The most important aspect of running a successful agency is being organized. This goes into your HR practices, clients, projects, people, billing, and everything else.
I have found some incredible programs to help me ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. And after a lot of trial and error, we’ve also put systems into place that work around those programs to ensure that everything is accounted for.”
10. “Marketing and public relations services should never be ‘one size fits all.’”
— Linda Chau, Founder of PAAPR Agency
PAAPR is an agency whose expertise is centered around public relations and branding.
“The most important aspect of running a successful agency is understanding that marketing and public relations services should never be ‘one size fits all.’
Recognize and treat each brand as individuals and give each client the specialized attention they deserve. Do your research to gain a clear picture of key insights for each brand.
This will help you set up a successful custom-tailored strategy.”
11. “Processes and people.”
— Andrew Peluso, Owner & CEO of Bananas Marketing Agency
Bananas Marketing Agency is a company that specializes in SEO and PPC marketing for local businesses.
“The most important aspect of running a successful agency depends on how we define success. But generally, I would say processes and people.
Processes drive efficiency and make high-quality work repeatable. More efficiency means that less fuel is required to generate energy, which in turn means lower costs for the agency.
This results in cheaper prices for the client or more margin to put towards growth. In order to deliver quality work at scale, we have to have well-documented processes in place. Without a specific process for everything we do, the work and results we are trying to get for our clients are not repeatable and our agency will remain small and chaotic.
Of course, all the processes in the world won’t help us if we don’t have a team to execute and improve them.
In order to run a successful agency, our people need to be eager to tackle challenging problems, competent enough to solve those problems, and emotionally intelligent enough to work with others in the process. If our people lack any one of those criteria, then our chance of success suffers.”
12. “Taking care of your team.”
— Nancy Deol, Founder & CEO of HeartBrain Marketing
HeartBrain Marketing is a HubSpot Solutions Partner Agency that specializes in developing and executing inbound marketing campaigns.
“The most important aspect of running a successful agency is taking care of your team. I believe agency owners need to invest in their team members. Reward them, appreciate them, and grow with them.
Remembering that your team members are human beings with lives outside of work and remaining flexible is important when it comes to retaining talent.”
Unlimited Graphic Designs with DotYeti
Hiring the right people and delegating tasks is the common denominator of this list. Making it the most important part of running a successful agency. And finding the perfect people to do tasks doesn’t always have to be in-house—especially for graphic design!
With DotYeti, you can have a full team of graphic designers, an art director, and an account manager as part of your creative team without the hefty expenses. Check out our pricing page to see all our affordable and value-packed services.