The Agency Growth Blog - For Owners Who Want Growth

How To Do Planning For Your Digital Agency When The Future Is Uncertain

Posted by Mike Lieberman on May 8, 2020 8:45:00 AM

Adjust, Don’t Scrap Your Strategic Planning Work

My leadership team and I met earlier this week to revisit our strategy and plan for 2020. During the conversation, we all agreed doing any long-term planning right now seemed like a waste of time given the general uncertainty facing everyone right now.

But we’ve come to lean on strategic planning as a core value at Square 2. We meet regularly, plan regularly, and create annual, quarterly, and monthly plans. We develop an annual theme to keep the team focused and energized. We identify rocks and key initiatives and then roll those down to the team aligning execution.

It has served us well for years and years. But, in the face of the obvious uncertainty, what’s an agency to do?

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Topics: strategic planning, Response to Covid-19

The Game Just Changed: The Biggest Challenges Facing Digital Agencies Over The Next Few Months And Beyond

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Apr 23, 2020 12:37:33 PM

What You Do Next Will Shape Your Agency For Years To Come

I’ve talked to over 100 agencies over the past few weeks. Some I’ve spoken to via email, others on Zoom and a few on one to one calls or chats. The story is very similar. Yes, a few agencies in a few unfortunate industries are closing, but most are making it through.

We’ve weathered the initial wave of the storm and are now trying to figure out what’s next. But what’s next is what concerns me, because your agency will have to be retooled to deal with what’s coming over the next few months and beyond.

What worked last year won’t work this year and what you planned for 2020 needs to be thrown out and you need a new plan. Not an annual plan, but a plan that you can adjust every week and a plan that goes out no more than 30 days. A plan that is flexible, but based on data and a plan that ensures your agency will be around for the next 10 years.

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Topics: inbound marketing agency challenges, agency operations, 2020 planning

How Digital Agencies Are Going To Survive The Next Few Months

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Apr 9, 2020 9:15:00 AM

I’ve been through 9/11 and the financial crisis in 2008. Both events caused a massive and shocking shift in the world’s economy and what we’re all dealing with today is equally shocking.

I am in touch with close to 100 agencies in some way or another and it seems most are seeing a small to medium sized impact right now. Of course, if your agency specializes in any of the decimated industries, the situation is much more dire. 

However, it seems like right now most agencies have seen a handful of client pauses, reductions or cancellations. At Square 2, it's been a small group, less then we can count on one hand. The bigger issue has been new business. It’s out there and we’re talking to prospects, but rightly so, people are slow to move forward.

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Topics: digital agency strategy, Response to Covid-19

In Full Transparency: What's Going On At Square 2?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 22, 2020 10:30:00 AM

Now More Than Ever, We Need Real Information From Real Agencies

Over the past few weeks, I’ve sat in on several agency consultants’ webinars on the future of our industry. Most of them are filled with worst-case scenarios that include cutting staff, hoarding cash, working for free and taking any business just to stay working.

All these ideas are solid and designed to challenge us to make the hard decisions that might be required to keep our businesses open.

But if we’re encouraging our clients to push through then shouldn’t we push through too?

Here’s exactly what’s going on at Square 2, so you also have insights from someone who still has an agency to run.

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Topics: agency operations, Response to Covid-19

What You Need To Know About A Fully Distributed Workforce

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 17, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Everyone At Square 2 Is Working From Home

Last Wednesday I sent this chat to our team:

Square 2 Team Members, I understand this is an uncertain time for all of us. We are in uncharted waters. I think it makes sense to be proactive instead of reactive and I want our family and our extended families to be as safe as possible.

So, I'm asking the Philadelphia office folks to work from home for the rest of this week and all next week too. We'll suspend any travel to client sites for the time being as well. Our company is well-positioned to work remotely. We've been working like this for the past few years, so all meetings will go on as planned via Zoom.

Since the situation is changing daily, we'll reassess toward the end of next week and I'll share the next steps as they become clearer. If you have any questions or concerns, please drop me a line. I'd be happy to discuss it with you.

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Topics: agency operations, Distributed Workforce for Agencies, Remote Workforce

How Proactive Digital Agencies Plan For Large Scale Environmental Challenges

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 6, 2020 10:00:00 AM

I’m not an alarmist, but I am a planner and I believe in having Plan A, Plan B and in some cases Plan C.

When HubSpot canceled Partner Day, it became clear, there will be an environmental impact to our businesses over the next few months, if not longer.

While I’m not suggesting anything dramatic, I am suggesting you think through the possible outcomes and be prepared. There are some very specific areas where it’s likely your agency will be impacted.

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Topics: agency operations, 2020 planning

When To Build A Leadership Team For A Growing Digital Marketing Agency

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Feb 21, 2020 9:31:21 AM

One of my favorite pastimes is talking to agency owners. I have casual conversations with agency owners a few times a week. I like hearing about their successes, their stories, their challenges and specifically, I like hearing the questions they’re wrestling with.

By the way, if you ever want to pick my brain or just chat for 30 minutes, I’ll talk to anyone, anytime. All you have to do is reach out.

Anyway, one of the more common sets of questions from owners is, “When do we need a leadership team? How do we go about building one? What should it look like?”

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Topics: Leadership, Agency Leadership

Thanks For Your Help But We Can Do It On Our Own: The Biggest Risk Facing Digital Agencies

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jan 31, 2020 8:15:00 AM

The Misconception That What We Do Is Easy, Cheap and Can Be Done By Anyone

If you’ve been running an agency for at least a few years, you’ve probably heard this: “We’re bringing it in-house.” While most are nice about it and see this as a strategic decision, what they’re really saying is they think they can do what you do for less.

 As recently as last week, a very happy client of ours hired a twenty-something marketing manager with a few years of experience to take over the strategic work we’ve been successfully executing for them. In the very first meeting, she expressed concern over what it cost us to create content as compared to what she found by working with a writing service.

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Topics: Planning for Growth, Agency Leadership

Being Part of An International Group of Growth Oriented Agency Owners Helps!

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jan 10, 2020 8:15:00 AM

Other Agencies Are Leveraging Cohorts To Improve Their Agencies And You Can Too

In our Mastermind Group Session last month, one of the members mentioned he regularly shares with clients that he’s part of an international group of agency owners who get together monthly to talk about ways to improve agency delivery, performance, and innovation.

That was pretty savvy on his part, but it also got me thinking, “yes, this is an international group of agencies who are proactively working together to make their agencies great.”

It didn’t take me long to start thinking about how other agencies can potentially work ON their businesses. I’ve said many times, as agency owners, we work IN the business way too much and not ON the business as often as we should.

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Topics: agency growth strategies, Planning for Growth

6 Must-Have Skills Every Consultant Needs To Thrive At Your Digital Agency

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Dec 13, 2019 7:45:00 AM

Hiring Consultants Is Risky, Don't Make A Bad Hiring Decision in 2020

A lot of agencies are growing and that means hiring. But hiring the wrong person can set you back months. Even worse, hiring someone who is mediocre can put you in this weird position where they are too good to fire, but not good enough for you to be 100% comfortable that they’ll take wonderful care of your clients.

Both of these conditions are bad for your agency.  In this article, we’ll talk about how to avoid this.

The digital marketing industry is booming, and professionals with skills in digital marketing are in high demand. A 2018 survey by LinkedIn reported a shortage of 230,000 people with marketing skills in the 20 largest metro areas polled.

With a limited number of amazing candidates and a high risk for making a hiring mistake, what should you be looking for in 2020 when hiring new consultants for our digital agency?

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Topics: Hiring, inbound agency hiring, inbound marketing agency hiring

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