One of my big motivations for writing my new book, The Prosperous Agency, was because I was seeing, time and time again, agency owners, with huge and exciting plans for the future, getting stuck. Not because they didn’t have the talent, but because they were running their business with some fundamental flaws!
My background as an accountant in big businesses, alongside my experience working with agencies, means I’ve seen first-hand the common challenges that agency owners face.
Everyone thinks their agency is unique, and in many ways that is true, but the reality is that many of the problems you’ll experience in your business, whether that’s cash flow, reducing profit margins or simply not having enough time, are no different to those experienced by every business at some point.
I know that with the right systems, processes and financial support, it is possible to run, and scale, a profitable agency.
At the start of the pandemic, when the world changed, it was clear that those agencies built with strong foundations had a better chance of coming out of the other side, perhaps even stronger than they went into it.
I recently got together with Sally Day from Saltoria Marketing to discuss my new book and how I developed the concept and how agency owners can use this advice in the current climate. If you weren’t able to attend on the day, then check out the recording below…
Why have I written this book?
I wanted to share some pretty simple strategies that any agency owner can bring into their business, to make their agency more resilient and even grow, during difficult times.
The process of writing helped me organise my own thoughts around these foundations. How people, processes, and tech all stack up and need to work together to build a resilient agency that can scale.
I loved being able to step back and think deeply about what the foundations for a strong business (particularly from a financial point of view) are built from.
What is the biggest challenge to creative agencies at the moment?
The biggest challenge facing agencies now is the uncertainty in the market. Customers are reigning in spending by pausing or even cancelling work, plus it’s taking longer to get new business signed up.
As well as hindering growth plans, there’s an obvious impact on cash flow which is causing stress for many agency owners right now.
If you can only read one chapter, what should it be?
I believe the chapter that will be the most impactful is the one on cash flow called ‘Easy cash flow’. This chapter includes lots of simple strategies that are easy to implement and will have an immediate positive impact on the cash flow position of your business.
My top tips for cash flow
I go into more detail in my book, but here are a few simple tips to help you bring more cash into your business.
1. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you.
2. Send reminders
More often than not your customer hasn’t paid you because they have forgotten. Reduce the chances of this happening by sending automated reminders using either Xero or Chaser.
3. Monitor your cash flow
Prepare a regular cash flow forecast. You should do this at least monthly, more often if you are particularly worried about cash. Having a reliable up-to-date cash flow forecast will help you identify early on if you’re going to have a cash shortfall so that you have time to put plans in place to get prepared. We recommend Float for your cash flow forecasting.
If I could highlight one bit of advice from the book, what would it be?
Most businesses are built in survival mode. By this, I mean that processes and systems are built to catch up with the growth of the business.
This is normal and okay, and it’s perfectly possible (and natural) to build the systems you need behind you as you grow. However, try to plan ahead when possible so that you are better prepared for unforeseen events or opportunities.
How do I think business owners can use tech to solve problems?
The three big benefits that technology can bring to a business can be summarised in three words:
The combination of all of these will make your agency more profitable and better positioned to scale faster.
How can we help your agency?
We can be your outsourced finance team. The finance function we deliver for our clients is based on the principles in my book. The advancement of tech means that we can work closely with you to keep your numbers up to date and provide insights and analysis and help you plan for the future.
Get in touch to book a fifteen-minute discovery call to find out how we can help your agency scale up profitably.
Share ‘The Prosperous Agency’
Don’t forget to share my FREE eBook with your colleagues and fellow agency owners. It’s jam-packed with easy-to-implement tactics and tips on how to scale in the current climate.