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Do you remember why you started your agency?

Summer often causes people to reflect on where they are – and where they want to go. Time off sitting by the beach, on the lake, or hiking in the mountains can help you to clear your mind of the daily grind and think bigger thoughts.

Many of the agency owners I work with have come to me this summer asking about larger than usual changes: a shakeup to their own role, moving to a new city, changing their business models, or adopting a fresh focus.

The future is informed by the past

As you think about the future, I find it can be a useful exercise to remember back to when you first started your agency to understand why you went down this path in the first place.

What were your goals then? Was it about making more money? Or perhaps having greater flexibility in your work-life balance?

If you were an accidental agency owner (as many of us were), then what circumstances put you in that position? Were you freelancing to fill a gap after being laid off and it simply grew into something more? Even if that’s the case, at some point you made a decision – conscious or otherwise – to move beyond being a one-person show. What drove you to make that decision?

Intention instead of inertia

In my work with agency owners, I find that many times the source of any discontent may well come from making decisions based on inertia rather than intention.

The summer months and the traditionally slower pace that many agencies may experience gives you the chance to refocus yourself on intentional decision making rather than being caught up in the frenetic pace of daily agency life.

Looking back to why you got started can help you focus on that intentionality.

Understand what has changed

Of course, the goals for your agency when you got started may not be the same as your goals today.

Perhaps your family situation has changed and you need more (or less) schedule flexibility. Or maybe your financial needs have shifted.

You may have simply developed a new perspective on your life and career because of experience, the pandemic, or any number of other life events.

Ask yourself if the goals that existed when you set out on your own have changed. Then figure out what that means for what you want to achieve with your agency business.

Build to own

The happiest agency leaders are generally those who have created something that they are happy to own and operate. That’s why that philosophy is at the core of the Build to Own approach that I take to help agency owners make better decisions.

If you start by remembering why you took the leap into entrepreneurship – and what you hoped to achieve by taking that risk – it can often help point you in the right direction for the changes that will help you to grow an agency that helps you to achieve your personal ambition.

As I always remind agency owners, there is simply no reason to take on all of the risk and stress of running your own agency if you aren’t getting what you want from it.

Picture of Chip Griffin

Chip Griffin

Chip is the Founder of the Small Agency Growth Alliance and a longtime agency leader and entrepreneur. He helps PR and marketing agency owners build businesses they want to own.
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