How to Gain and Keep Clients with Frank Cowell

[Music]

thank you Frank Cowell so much for being with me today through this Venture of

Entrepreneurship that I’ve had the blessing to be a part of at the business Growers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting

so many interesting people at the top of the list is Frank Cowell Chief Revenue

boss which he’ll get into in a minute at Revenue Ranch he is in San Diego and a few weeks ago

early early last month I was in San Diego at an event for agency owners I

was placed at a table intentionally I was chosen to sit at a certain table with with folks and I see

this cool cat with a hat on and um and the more I got to know him the more I really not only enjoyed talking

to you Frank but but really felt like you had so much insight about the Opera

relational side of a business which quite frankly is a very weak component

for me and my business just hired a VP of Ops a couple of months ago because I realized that I’m bad at it so I’m

really excited about talking to you about not only your story but really the ups and downs of business ownership

entrepreneurship you’ve got a lot of experience in agencies but the folks that are listening are everything from

startups to have grown and sold successful businesses and everything in between so thank you Frank for being on

thank you for being a great person to meet in San Diego I’m excited to for our

listeners to get to know you here on the no grow skill podcast so if you don’t mind I teased a little bit about uh who

you are and what you’re doing but if you don’t mind just tell us about your story your background you’ve had some recent changes so how how your journey to where

you are now what that looks like yeah first off thanks for having me Laura it’s been uh it’s been great to get to

meet you and and know you so looking forward to our conversation today but a bit about me so my background I started

out in the quote unquote agency space back in 2003 2004. really before the word agency was thrown

around to reference you know web shops Dev shops design brand creative you know

that term was that word was usually reserved for typical Ad Agency

um your Mad Men style right business if you will so really wasn’t even referred

to like that back then and you know I had been doing work on the internet on

the on the web since the late 90s you know helping people with you know web development and Web projects and and

marketing around that and whatnot and so I kind of got started there primarily doing web development and then over time

I morphed my agency into more of a full service creative agency where we were not only doing web dev but brand

development commercial quality videos collateral General marketing support you

name it and then over time I eventually realized that I wanted to be out of the project-based business and I wanted to

be in the recurring Revenue model as is the desire of many agency owners right right to create we all love much needed

predictability and so yeah probably about seven years ago made six seven years ago

started to make that transition to more of a recurring Services business model which got more into digital

marketing as opposed to digital asset building like you know web and other properties and assets and brand and

whatnot and so along that Journey grew the agency uh we were we’re HubSpot

partner um became one of the the Diamond tier Partners there had a lot of great

successful things going on but all along that Journey what I was most passionate about is

um building Frameworks and systems and then passing that along to either my team or to my clients

and so in that journey I also took that same approach with management and growth of the business and so I studied a lot

of business management Frameworks and systems and implemented lots of different things saw what I liked saw

what I didn’t like and then filled in filled in the gaps based on my own knowledge my own experience

conversations I had talking with lots of other entrepreneurs and so ultimately what I did was I created a framework

that was an amalgamation of many many different Frameworks that are out there in the marketplace simplified some and

you know a great deal in some ways expanded upon others in some ways and I just started to document that so I put

that in play at my agency and largely got it running to the point where it ran without me which is always what I wanted

I’m a firm believer that if you’re an entrepreneur your job is to put yourself out of a day-to-day job when you’re

building your Ventures if you want to be in the business and you enjoy the craft of the business that’s fine and there’s no knock against

that that’s nothing that’s wrong or bad but then I tend to see that as more of a being one a business operator and again

nothing wrong with that but I lean more towards the attraction of being an entrepreneur where I create systems that

other people can leverage and other people can gain value from and so as such I aim to eventually put myself out

of the job so I can move out of the agency space so that’s what I did recently as I exited my Agency on a

day-to-day basis I still own some percentage of it and my partners own the other percentage and they run it and um

so yeah so now I’m on to my my next venture which is I’ve been coaching agency owners for about the past six

years and I’ve now formalized that into a my next adventure with its own brand its own identity its own offering

that’s awesome well congrats to you it sounds like you’re you’re moving in a fun New Direction so that’s amazing

um what do you what do you feel like because you’ve been and when when I met you we talked a lot about just the ups

and downs and we were around a group of agency owners also talking about ups and

downs and regardless of whether or not you’re listening and you’re in the agency space or you’re an entrepreneur

in in another industry you know leading a business is not easy

and you know one of the things that you said that has stuck with me and that actually since I have come back has been

just a mantra for me is you can’t grow the business focus on you can’t have the

same person focused on growing the business and keeping the business and I may have just stolen the the answer to

the question probably not but I feel like that is you know just one of the

the most profound things I’ve heard because it’s so true and it’s so practical so what is one of the most

important lessons you would say you’ve learned in leading the agency in in the agency world are

leading um leading a business and so why don’t we expand upon that the uh growing

the business keeping the business so what we’re talking about there is oftentimes what I find when I come

across agency owners that are got to a point they get to a point where they hit a ceiling they hit a wall and they’re

just not able to break out of it no matter what they do no matter what they try they kind of still stay at this same level and getting to the next level with

a radical shift in in the jump that they’re trying to make just isn’t happening one of the things that I find

is just not the only but one of the things I find that’s very common is this idea that the head of the agency is

heavily involved in getting clients and then they’re also heavily involved in the keeping clients part and that’s the

the part that you were referencing and I finally I butchered it sorry I said it wrong but it’s one of the don’t no don’t

worry about it this sentiment was accurate and I find that to be one of the major reasons that will that holds

agency owners back from growing their agency is they’re they’re too involved in too many disparate areas now as an

agency owner you have to wear multiple hats especially when you’re smaller and you have to dig your hands into things such as

uh administrative or Finance you have to do that and you have to go land clients but I find the two that you can’t that

you shouldn’t mix I should say the two you shouldn’t mix is the getting clients part and the keeping the clients part so

that getting the client’s part is all about what whatever your main focus is and whatever works for you but it’s the

marketing and sales some people are more sales heavy some people are more marketing heavy but whatever it is it’s client acquisition and so those

activities really are of a person’s job and even if you’re wearing multiple hats

it’s going to be at least eighty percent of your job well now the keeping clients part which is making sure the clients

are serviced and they’re given what they’re promised and there’s process and there’s measurement and it’s it’s gross

profitable that also is going to be an 80 to 100 job or more for somebody so

in a agency that you’re trying to take to the next level if you’re doing both that means you’re

doing both to the degree that they’re they’re getting shortchanged you know neither

one is truly getting the attention it deserves so what I often recommend when I come across these agency owners that

are going through this is you need a second person who is an owner-like individual and I’m not

suggesting if you’re a single individual business owner that you have to give up Equity I’m not suggesting at all in many

cases that can be not a great idea and there may be cases where it can be a good idea but so I’m not suggesting that

you need to bring on a shareholder partner what I am suggesting is you need to get the person that can come on and

behave like an owner and be incentivized like an owner and who is driven and

passionate about that thing so if you’re the agency owner who’s really great at getting clients and you love it then do

that and you need to find someone who’s not just a VA not just a like a a good

project manager that you can Elevate we’re talking someone who’s on your level on your talent level on your

experience level someone who’s on your passion level about the operations which is the fulfilling of the offering which

ultimately if you’re doing it right you keep clients right so you need to find someone who’s that caliber that you can

bring into your business business otherwise if it’s someone that is more Junior that you think you can direct

that’s not going to work it’s still going to be a lot of your mind share and a lot of your direction and ultimately

what you want is you want to start letting go so that way other brains can come in other smart brains come in and

they can flourish so if you’re in that situation I would pick one find which one that you really care about until eventually you can

Elevate out of that and that’s possible too which is what I did in my agency I elevated out of all of the major

functions and I just was the General management and the CEO um so that that is a massive

hold back if you will a massive blocker for a lot of yes and just just because I’m experiencing that in our agency

right in in my agency right now um I feel like you know I’m so glad you

said don’t find somebody that you can direct because it’s not going to achieve you

know even from an internal um culture standpoint somebody that our

whole team can respect that has some longevity maybe not necessarily in the

industry but just someone who has merited that level of respect regardless

of age but but in tenure and what they’ve done that you know when I brought all my VP of Ops that just to me

we went Next Level immediately and she had you know learning curve she had a lot to do to learn particularly and she

we laugh about it but she had been Microsoft teams for nine years in her previous her previous business so from a

you know from a getting up to speed in our Google world because we’re Google workspace folks you know some of those things it took her a minute to get up to

speed but from a culture and a respect standpoint for somebody at that level I think that’s huge that you said you know

don’t just hire somebody that can offload some administrative type things hire somebody that that really can keep

the business or whatever you you choose you know do the other so that’s really that’s great advice to any any really

any entrepreneur I think it reminds me of a a saying that um a

friend of mine told me years ago who is also a successful agency individual and he said

you know you’re doing it right when in the sales meetings that you have with your prospective clients you talk less

and less and the people that you’ve built around you and you bring to the table and those sales means they’re doing 80 to 90 percent of the talking

and that really stuck out to me because you can apply that to anywhere in in the business when it comes to Leading

operations leading admin leading Finance leading marketing leading sales and all those major functions you know how much

are you directing the how it’s okay as the leader to direct the what here’s what needs to happen in

terms of outcome how you get there needs to be driven by

smart individuals on your team who are invested and aligned with the true north of the business which is

another thing that we can talk about because that’s the second that’s kind of the second major thing that I look at

when when guiding an agency well go ahead and talk about it I want to hear your your true north because you did

touch on that a little bit when we were speaking together and I I loved I mean you know I feel like

I’m not even two years in so as an agency owner I did uh you know an LLC

previously that I had no intent to hire anybody didn’t care to and then in a different stage of life you know started

starting a business that I did want to hire people and grow but finding that true north as early as possible

is is key and and you saying that just affirmed that so talk about that and what and don’t give all your secrets

away I know you um you get paid to talk about it but I think it’s brilliant so yeah talk about that a little bit

no it’s okay I actually have this I’m pulling some nuggets as part of a training that I’ve actually put on my

website that um I if you want I can direct people to um but but you know really when a

business gets started a Professional Services business like an agency gets started the reason I talk first about

the get clients keep clients is strategically that doesn’t come first when I’m analyzing an existing business

and and helping optimize it but when it’s first getting off the ground you kind of have to start there and use what

I call a lot of just Brute Force right you’re gonna you’re good at a craft and you’re gonna like hypothesize like

here’s how I’m gonna put it together as a service offering now let’s go get the clients for it okay and then you’re gonna like deliver and get the feedback

and then you’re gonna go get more clients but at a certain point if you want to take things to the next level

that Brute Force only gets you so far so now we come into needing to be much more

strategic you kind of need to have what you know I call you like your agency MBA you need to really be

have your business skills in running an agency or Professional Services business and so one key aspect there’s two sides

of that there’s strategy and execution and so on the strategy piece I refer to that as having a true north team

and so what do I mean by that what I mean is you have a true north defined and then you have a team a full team of

people that are aligned on it and excited by it so what makes up the true north well

what makes up the true north is a strong vision mission values and strategic brand definition those are the four

major components the vision is really about you it’s your selfish view of what you want to achieve

in the world as a company whether that impact is on your team or the impact on the world but it’s what you see the

business looking like in in the impacts it’s going to make on the world in which you

serve the mission then is how you’re going to make that happen now oftentimes when

people create mission statements it’s one simple paragraph there’s three major components in the standard definition of

it but I expand upon that in a bit when I help people to find the mission statement because if done right and if

you define the components correctly in it it becomes a strategic decision lens

for everything you do in the business if you get crystal clear on the components that go into that mission

and you’re passionate about those things and it’s and it’s something that you’re willing to you know commit everything to

and then on a day-to-day basis make sure that all your decisions and plans align

with that that becomes a strategic business tool and so often the mission statement is kind of just like oh we

develop it and it goes on the website somewhere we throw it in the drawer and I don’t think people realize how

strategic of a decision that is of the components that go in the mission so there’s that aspect then you have the values which is to say okay we know now

the direction we want to go with our vision we know how we’re going to get there through our mission right that the

things that we’re going to execute at a high level the values then tell you here

are the kind of people we need to then execute that mission towards our vision

so you see how we’re now stacking a hierarchy right the vision is is the your North Star

the mission is the activities the things the Strategic decisions you’re going to make in your business

to get there on on an execution basis and then the values are the kind of people you need to surround yourself

with that are capable of making that happen and then finally the brand are the key

pieces of language that you articulate to the world to communicate all of that in a way that’s compelling to your

target audience and so having that in place to where it’s clear and compelling

and everyone on your team knows it everyone on your team is reminded by it and you make sure that you only hire

people that are aligned with that and excited by it and by the way people that aren’t you get them off your team

quickly yep so so that’s your job as the business owner as CEO whatever your title is you have to make sure you only

have a true north team and then you know that’s that’s the strategy piece the true north right

so what would you say to someone who does have their mission on their website and it’s like they couldn’t tell you you know I’ve worked for companies and I’ve

been a part of organizations that you know their mission is just to check just to check it off the list and they don’t

have this framework built around it that really drives you know what what I

believe is is you know the what gets you up every day type of mentality you know

that that part of it is what you just talked about and then I would say 90 of the businesses today you know in America

are driven by a mission statement on a website or on a you know a nice you know

poster board I guess when you walk in or whatever what would you say to a business owner who might fall in that

guilty you know I’m I’m the guy that’s got or the the woman that’s got the mission statement that means nothing you

know how do we where where do you start but well it’s never too late to revisit it

and go back and make sure that the components that go into defining it

our strategic business decisions and the way I look at it the lens through which I look is it’s all based

on the customer it’s all based on the client of the business so who do you choose and how do

you get much more specific about defining that person so here’s here’s a classic example of one big mistake a lot

of organizations when they Define the primary client that goes into that mission statement they’ll be very Broad

and vague and if you can’t take that definition and go reasonably build a list from it

it’s not clear enough it’s not specific enough so one mistake a lot of people make in the components that go into

their mission is they’re just too broad and vague they’re not clear enough they don’t draw a line in the sand

and that’s where I find a lot of agency owners get real nervous and get real

timid is they don’t want to draw a line in the sand on some of these strategic business decisions around who they’re

going to serve the transformation they bring the differentiation the promises those things aren’t clear

enough they’re not sharp enough and so when you answer each of these components they need to be sharp and clear and draw

a line in the sand so that way when you put them into the statement then you’re like oh wow it’s very clear

when our decisions are out of alignment with that but when you answer those things with vagary

then you kind of have a lot of wiggle room to kind of make a lot of different decisions on a day-to-day basis and

tackle a lot of different projects that maybe take you away from that and I imagine it’s too bad tell me if you

agree a lot of times it’s too vague because if you start really getting sharp and narrow you eliminate Revenue

opportunity eliminate Revenue opportunities correct it’s the what do

the kids call it today it’s the fomo right the fear of missing out and I will

tell you that the more Centric you are the more vanilla you are the less

magnetic you are so the more you’re willing to polarize

the more magnetic you become Dan Kennedy who’s a great marketer he’s a direct response marketer direct marketer it’s

been around for a long time he’s a legend you know he has one of my favorite sayings about Brands and marketing he

says great Brands repel as much as they attract and I feel like marketers today and if

we’re putting on our marketing hat as we try to Market our our agencies right I feel like people in marketing today are

just too timid they’re worried about pleasing the most people and that

approach actually produces the weakest messaging and the weakest marketing so how do you repel as much as you

attract well the way you repel is you say we’re for this person and by default we’re not for people who aren’t that and

so those decisions are really important and then you have to stick to them and you have to be relentless and the

effects don’t happen overnight but just like any anything of any significance they happen over time and they’re

compounding the the longer you stick to it so what would you say so we’ve talked about

you know some important lessons that you’ve learned leading businesses what would you say are some major mistakes

and we’ve talked a little bit about those too but but an agency or an organization would face when they really get in growth mode so I call kind of our

framework no grow and scale those are the packages that we offer in terms of when somebody’s coming to us we kind of

audit where they are in their business and decide where we feel like how much gas they need basically you know for

That season of growth so when when a company gets in growth mode which we know I mean I would hope they figured

out who’s who’s growing or who’s who’s selling who’s you know who’s who’s not in terms of leadership but what are some

pitfalls or some major mistakes that you’re seeing whether it’s your clients or not that that you can provide some

insight for those that are listening well a couple of big things come to mind so one I mentioned the the true north

aspect so one is just not regularly reminding the team about it

not holding people accountable to it and then the other side of that is not celebrating so what we should be doing

as businesses is celebrating every positive step that moves Us in the direction towards that Vision picture

and so we don’t celebrate enough and we don’t remind people enough about the true north and we don’t get people out of the

organization fast enough who are not aligned with that so misalignment with True North note not reinforcing it

enough that’s one huge mistake now let’s talk about execution another big mistake is

getting an agency off the ground and getting to a certain point we’re like hey we have some sex some you know

success at a certain point those activities just no longer work to grow the agency and so

you have to become much more strategic which is the strategy and execution I talk about but once people get into an execution Rhythm they tend to let it

fall off and so I can’t tell you how many organizations I’ve come across where they adopt some sort of execution

methodology and they’ll run it for a few months and then they come up with all sorts of

excuses why they need to break their rhythms we have a client fire we just had someone quit

you know we just we just had our biggest client cancel and all of those things are important

events but they’re not important enough to take you out of your execution rhythms and to

take you out of completing the Strategic initiatives you already committed to and so that’s another thing I find is

that people forsake their previous commitments at the drop of a hat as soon as that

client fire comes up as soon as that employee fire comes up they’re just willing to drop their previous commitments commitments that they made

with full sound mind when they got together they did their planning and everyone nodded their head and said yes

this is what we need to do next boom let’s do it and then the moment that chaos comes they forsake those

commitments so that’s the second thing that I find is that there they don’t have a culture of what I call Elite

execution and in Elite execution we don’t forsake our rhythms we keep our commitments we finish those projects we

have transparency we have accountability we keep our rhythms that’s the next thing that I find that

happens is is they tend to fall apart and not stick to the fundamentals that that those rhythms

and that discipline and then so what do you recommend and

then the third big thing that I find that businesses make agencies and businesses in general is they don’t stay

close to the client or the customer they don’t talk enough to the marketplace

they don’t talk enough to their clients and so I said earlier that you know an agency owner shouldn’t be that’s getting

the client shouldn’t be involved in keeping the clients I don’t mean that you shouldn’t talk to your clients what I mean is you

shouldn’t be the one to move the service forward and and be the strategist and check on the project management all that

but regular conversations with the marketplace whether that’s your existing clients or prospective clients needs to

happen regularly businesses need to hear what the client values they need to hear

what’s making an impact on the client otherwise what we do as business owners is we start inventing offerings

that we get excited by but don’t really bring value to the client we start to bloat our offerings by the way like how

many of you agencies listening today have Services where you’ve got now a delivery list that’s a mile long

and a lot of these things the client didn’t even asked for but you’re doing them because it’s the quote unquote right way to do x y and z

and I’m not suggesting that people get sloppy in their execution but you should

really examine what is the client after and what’s the minimum amount of cut of

projects or the minimum amount of deliverables or the minimum amount of initiatives we need to drive that result and how can we be more world-class at

fewer things and still drive the same result would you rather have a business that promises a result doing three

activities or 30 activities well you’d pick the one with three because it’s a simpler business it’s an easier business

to scale and so not listening to the client and not examining what the client truly

needs is something that I find um is a major sin of a lot of growing

businesses as they kind of fall out of listening to the client they fall out of those close relationships

right and if you really think about it I’m you know thinking for the the services and products that I’m

interested in buying as either a mom or a business owner or whatever hat I’m wearing that day I would much rather buy

from somebody who does the three things because I know they’ve got to be really good at it you know you know I don’t

necessarily want to buy hair products from somebody that does hair products and makeup and does clothes and you know

although Jessica Simpson is ruling the world you know with all of her products I do I do I think she’s got a little bit

of everything but but you know you want as a as a consumer I want somebody that I feel confident

knows how to do what I’m I’m paying them to do and and I think that we again go

back to that fomo we we feel like as an agency owner if we don’t add this little extra thing we’re causing them to miss

out and really when you start evaluating your services sometimes you realize hey I’m spending this much to offer a

service that nobody cares about so that’s a really very practical yeah so

what I often say is when it when it’s once we have those two business fundamentals right you have your agency MBA you you’re good at strategy you’re

good at execution the true north and the elite execution the very next thing that you have to revisit is operations which

is uh the offering and so I I say that you have to have what I call a world-class offering and I there’s five

Hallmarks in my opinion of what a world-class offering is that’s it’s repeatable it’s scalable

it’s delightful it’s valuable and it’s profitable so those are the five things

so I would suggest that every one of your listeners right now take a look at your offering and rate yourself on a scale of one to

five on each of those five components repeatable repeatable means that what you sell follows generally the same

process every time it’s repeatable whether that’s brand creative work Web projects

SEO content marketing what have you syllable means that you can relatively

easily find people to follow that repeatable process so an example of a business that’s

repeatable but not very scalable let’s say you have a business that’s um you do brand positioning work

and uh you have a process for it it’s repeatable you do the same process every time and it’s amazing but it might not

be all that scalable because it requires someone with 30 years of experience who has got this amazing Authority when it

comes to Brand development and brand knowledge and Marketplace knowledge in a particular industry might not be all

that scalable I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but when you look at the totality and rate yourself on all these five components if your total average is

like three you got a problem with the business model if that makes sense um delightful delightful means that the

client enjoys the experience and ideally they talk to you as little as possible

they have to give you as little input as possible that’s not always possible but that’s the ideal scenario

can your client get a result after giving you very little input and not have to come show up to meeting after

meeting help you with edit after edit and so on that’s the delightful part valuable means that they’re getting a

10x Roi now a lot of agencies aren’t delivering 10x Roi but I want if you’re here today and you’re not I want you to

start aiming for if you’re doing five now get to six if you’re doing six now get to Seven but

you should be aiming to be a 10x agency how do you deliver 10x Roi so that you’re valuable to your client and then

finally profitable is it profitable for the agency you know are you on a

producer by producer basis getting a three to four to one what we call Direct

labor efficiency ratio are you getting that on Direct producers are you getting close to four to one

yeah you have to take a look at that and again you got to combine all these together and see where you stand when

you rate yourself but that’s when you know you have a world-class offering when you you know you’re averaging four

plus on these five things that’s great that’s so good so we talked about what advice you would

give to someone starting a business you know I think I feel like maybe that was your advice you tell me if otherwise but

the mission the vision really the North Star I feel like that’s the the best advice you could even give to anybody

that’s starting a business but what about selling a business since you were helping and coaching a lot of a lot of

folks through that I believe now and tell us what you’re doing at Revenue Ranch do I want to hear more about that but what what’s a piece of advice

that you would give to somebody selling a business this is I think what a lot of people are you know some people start a

business just because they want to have fun and not go work for the land you know whatever and then some people start

a business to grow it and scale it and sell it so tell me tell me kind of your

top tips for somebody who might be looking to eventually sell a business well I think at minimum you have to run your business as if

someone would buy it one day as if right so all of these functions that I talked about you want to master them in a

particular order you want to have a process for doing that you want to have really great business skills and you want to build a team around you of

excellent people now the sad reality is a lot of the folks that join your teams early on may not be

the folks that take you to the next level and so you have to be you have to look at that and be honest with yourself

including yourself you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself which role

am I best suited to serve because ultimately especially in an agency

people are buying the people they’re buying the talent that you’ve assembled and so you need to be working towards a

world-class executive team where you have a leader of each of those major functions that I’ve been talking about

Marketing sales operations admin Finance you have a good general manager a CEO if you will and so have you built a team of

people that are experts so people it’s really critical the other thing people are going to look at if you’re if you’re

going to sell they’re going to look at a couple of things what is your growth Trend and then what is your bottom line profitability and then there are some

other things that are going to be very unique to very specific buying scenarios such as you might have a business that’s

interested in you because they want to be in your space and you represent a great bolt on to what they’re doing you

have some people who are like we just need more bodies this is you know an aqua hire we just need more people doing what we already do right you might have

a competition play where they’re you know hey you’re a thorn on our side we just need to get you out of our way I mean there are a number of different

reasons than that you get into specific scenarios but generally speaking obsessing about world-class people and

again you have to put your ego aside stepping out of the way your growth Trend combined with the profitability

and so those kind of can play off of each other so if you don’t have a real like strong growth Trend over the past

you know three to five years but your bottom line profitability is just you

know rock solid it’s some of the best in the industry that’s also going to be a good news story whereas let’s say you’re

only pushing like 12 profitability bottom line every year which isn’t you know it’s not terrible but it’s not all

that great either but you’re showing you know a 52 year-over-year growth for the past three plus years because you’ve

just tapped into something in the marketplace you’re you’re offering is something that is taking off and so that’s going to be a good news story as

well but again what I would say is your business skills

and how you run the business and the people that you bring on to your executive team your management team

and the accuracy of how you look at the business in terms of projections and numbers and calculations and planning

that’s going to go a long way so whether you want to sell your business or not you’re at least going to experience the

maximum potential that your business has to offer

so such great Insight I feel like these are takeaways whether you own an agency

or own any business in any industry I feel like you’ve provided a lot of great insight and inspiration really I’m fired

up just hearing you talk but tell me this and this might be a little selfish ask but pretend it’s not

um what are in the first three years of a business let’s just assume everybody that’s listening is between a three and

five year maybe just less than ten we’ll say less than 10 years what are the most critical hires and if you you know it

might be agency specific or it might be just business specific but what do you think of those three hires that you have

to get right in those first few early years of a business well I’ll go back to

something we already talked about which is the get clients keep clients so I think right away right away you have to

have that minimum two really driven high quality

experienced people who know how to produce and get things done so on the

get client side you need someone who’s got a great game plan for going and getting clients and they’re going to be

relentless they’re excellent at it and they enjoy it and then you need someone who is

passionate about the craft whatever it is the service you’re selling it might just be an SEO only shop it might be

content marketing you might be paid you might be creative brand full service PR whatever the craft you need someone

heading up the operations that is passionate they’re good they

know how to direct people they know how to start to build a team around them process projections that whole nine so

at minimum you’ve got to make sure that you have two strong people doing that

then as you grow it’s going to be based on the bottleneck in your business so

you might have a bottleneck on the production side just finding people in which case you might need to have you

know emphasize project management you know project management might be a huge need for you based on the delivery of

your offering it might be sales it might be you need someone to now you know

follow up with all of these leads those are more tactical things that are based on the bottleneck but if we get into

more strategic hires after that after you have someone selling and someone delivering for clients I would say

someone to um to really own finance and administration so later on you’re going

to break those out into into two functions it’s going to get big enough to where in my opinion

what ends up happening a lot of organizations is admin gets relegated under Finance forever

and I think that’s a bad move because the administrative function is there to support the organization and oftentimes

the decisions a finance team will make about supporting the organization yes spend as little as possible but

there comes a time where that is actually going to be a detriment to your brand why because you’re making

decisions to spend as little as possible on supporting the organization when if you just stepped on the gas a little bit

there and really treated your your team as your best asset in figuring out how

you can support them in the best way possible through your facilities through the equipment they have through the training they have through the people

support they have now they’re going to flourish which is going to make happier clients through a better product and so

on and that grows your business but in the beginning you’re probably gonna have one person who truly can own finance and

admin until you get to a point where you can split those out so that’s a next strategic hire is making sure that your

finance and Administration is dialed in and someone owns that so that way it’s not just yet another

um another nuisance on your neck as a business owner where yeah I’m doing the selling and I’m participating some

client delivery delivery and now I’m also finance and admin and so at minimum

if you were to look at those three leaders knowing that one of you is going to also have to play general manager and wear that hat from a strategic

standpoint now you’ve got the makings of a management team that starts to form

you know three people one for getting clients the one heading up the services for the keep the clients and then the

one Finance admin which is to support the organization with those three strong people in place and again before you

expand out those roles and start busting out marketing and sales and admin Finance get a separate general manager before you do that with those three

strong people now you can really you know obsess about the value of your offering your rhythms that you get in

your accountability rhythms how you execute making sure you’re keeping in line with that North Star you can go a

long ways before you have to start encouragement encouraging to me to hear you say that about the the finance and

admin part because that’s an outsourced function for me internally right now but I’m feeling the weight of it even being

outsourced and and you know even as an outsourced service you know Professional

Service myself I do feel like there’s really no um you can’t really replace somebody

that’s inside in your business every day it’s just not you know not possible you can do really great work as an agency but I’m not in every client’s business

all day every day aligned you know internally so I do feel like and that

particular role especially if you’re growing quickly and I actually was a little surprised here you say the

finance and the administrative and so that was encouraging to hear because I think Outsourcing that right now is is

not necessarily A bottleneck but it’s definitely an area for a strong

Improvement that we have coming well look there’s something there Comes A Time pretty quickly in a business’s

growth where the needs to support the organization um start to become a full-time job so

yes you can Outsource Finance but then you also have a lot of other

activities to support the org you have some day-to-day bookkeeping stuff so what the model I like is where you get a

strong manager leader in there who’s more you know more like a staff

accountant they’ve had a decent amount of Finance experience but also doesn’t mind doing the admin stuff and they can

be kind of like a manager of all those activities and you still Outsource kind of like your bookkeeping stuff right

right right like let that person handle the bigger picture stuff uh being a um

really a a main like a key individual to support the aura because if you think about admin and finance it’s there to

support the organization and so if the organization is getting shortchanged on its support

that that’s not going to very well for you either so yes I think you can Outsource some of the finance stuff

that’s maybe closing of books or doing accrual Finance accounting and and doing

some day-to-day bookkeeping but if you had a a manager there who’s more of a generalized individual who’s got a you

know good accounting Finance experience they can then also handle all the admin stuff

um and then be part of that management team to really take a look at like okay how are we growing this company what do

we need next um and that person’s gonna be a valuable voice to help you understand what the

organization needs in terms of support yeah that’s great such good advice I feel like this is a so many in so many

different ways you’ve really hidden a lot of things that that will benefit every listener so what are you as we

kind of wrap up what are you excited about what is Frank excited about in his life what do you have coming up in 2023

that that lights a fire in you I’d love to hear what gets you going for this year and what your what your vision is

for what what you have ahead yeah I’m really excited to work with agency owners and help them install the

methodologies that I’ve been talking about the strategy and execution methodology and really taking my 18 plus years of having you know been in the

agency space and transferring that knowledge and helping people really just transform the chaos of agency life into

you know a system where they have consistent growth so there’s you know predictable Revenue more profit but more

importantly personal freedom I mean that’s really what I aim to help people do so you know I’ve I’ve uh left the

agency world within the past few months I’ve now taken you know a lot of the coaching that I’ve also been doing

during that journey and have turned it into a company called Revenue Ranch and so right now we’ve got a a program that

we’re teaching people and helping people Implement into their agencies and so that’s kind of like phase one and then

in the future phases we’re going to have some additional programs we’re also going to have a physical place that

people can go to and that we’re going to be doing events we’re going to be doing all sorts of transformational kind of experiences hence the name Revenue Ranch

will actually have a physical Ranch that it will be this juxtaposition of these experiences

where there’s business but then there’s also these mentally transformational activities

that take place so I’m really excited about the future of that and the vision of that but for now I’m yeah sign me up

for that let me let me know when that happens that’s it that sounds amazing I’m really excited about getting getting

this implemented with as many agencies as possible that’s great that’s great one one step

at a time right so where would if there is an agency listening agency owner

listening where would they find information on your program how would they learn more about you can you give

us that information before we um so I have a uh an online training that goes into

quite quite a bit more detail on the things that we’ve been talking about today so it’s going to take what we talked about today and expand upon that

it’s about an hour long training that I’ve set up that people can go to it’s free totally free so if you’re

interested in that you want to hear more yeah go to freemyagency.com free my

agency.com and sign up for the training it’s totally free um and if you’re interested in talking

after that then you’ll have an opportunity to get in touch with us but I think that’s the the best first and foremost thing I don’t I don’t believe

in just pitching people right away you’ve heard me maybe you like what I have to say hey go learn some more there’s there’s some more training for

you to to capture go check it out at freemyagency.com awesome well thank you Frank you’re a

delight to talk to always and I hope I get to see you in California I don’t know that you’ll be in Mississippi anytime soon so next time I’m in

California I will let you know hope to get to see you in person again soon thank you so much thank you so much

for listening to the no grow scale podcast if you want to learn more about Frank his information will be in our

show notes if you would like to learn more about the business Growers and what we are doing you can find us at thebusinessgrowers.com

 

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