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Reply To: What is a “lifestyle business”?

Chip Griffin
January 19, 2022 at 9:44 am #14467

This is a question that comes up fairly regularly. “Lifestyle business” is a term used by many consultants and agency owners, but it is often assumed that everyone knows what it means, when that’s often not the case.

It also isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although it is often used with a negative connotation.

There are two buckets that most agencies will fall into. The first is a “lifestyle business” that focuses on the immediate financial and other needs of the owner(s). The second is an “equity business” that is being built around the idea of maximizing long-term value, usually in the form of a sale of the business to a third party.

Of course, many lifestyle businesses end up getting sold while many agencies built to sell end up with some other outcome.

The AIM-GET Framework that I use to guide my conversations with agency owners starts with Ambition because I firmly believe you need to get what you want from your business. That can change over time, but it can be pretty much whatever you want. After all, it’s your business.

When folks use the term “lifestyle business” in a derogatory manner, they usually are implying that the owner is slacking off and not doing as much as they could to grow aggressively. Perhaps it is because they want time to go to kids’ sporting events or head to the mountains to ski for long weekends.

My belief is that every agency is a lifestyle business — it’s just that some owners choose the lifestyle they want while others allow the business to dictate the lifestyle they live.

Chip Griffin founded the Small Agency Growth Alliance (SAGA) to help PR and marketing agency owners achieve their goals.


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