Login or Join

Close this search box.

Expert advice on putting your agency in a position to succeed (featuring David C. Baker)

In this episode, Chip talks with David C. Baker, who has been dubbed "the expert's expert."

SUBSCRIBE:      Apple Podcasts    |    Google Podcasts    |    Stitcher    |    Spotify    |    RSS

In this episode, Chip talks with David C. Baker, who has been dubbed “the expert’s expert.” He leads the advisory firm Punctuation, and has worked with more than 1,000 agencies to help them get better positioned for success.

The discussion focuses on improving agency management and scalability by emphasizing the importance of understanding business fundamentals and integrating them alongside the creative and strategic solutions.

Key topics include the benefits of proper positioning, effective client communication, strategic pricing, and the importance of sharing expertise.

Key takeaways

  • David C. Baker: “If there’s one thing I could change by waving a magic wand over the industry, it’s to run their businesses better. The basic nuts and bolts of understanding people and processes and structure and pricing and financial performance.”
  • Chip Griffin: “Agencies in general need to listen more and talk less. Particularly when they’re with prospects.”
  • David C. Baker: “We’re so driven by the interest in variety and because we’re so desperate for new work, we’re terrified that a positioning decision will close off some opportunity.”
  • Chip Griffin: “My position is that sales is a dirty word for agencies and it’s not really sales anyway. You’re trying to find the best fit clients and you should be comfortable telling people that you’re not the right option and sending them along to someone else.”

About David

David C. Baker is an author, speaker, and advisor to entrepreneurial creatives worldwide. He has written 6 books, advised 1,000+ firms, and keynoted conferences in 30+ countries. His work has been discussed in dozens of international publications. Recently, the NY Times referred to him as” the expert’s expert”. He co-hosts the most listened to podcast in the creative services field (2Bobs).


The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.

Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Chats with Chip. I’m your host, Chip Griffin, the founder of SAGA, the Small Agency Growth Alliance. And I am delighted to have with me David C. Baker of Punctuation. He is perhaps the longest serving agency advisor out there and a guy who’s got lots of great content that he puts out on a regular basis, newsletter, podcast.

He’s got books to his name. He is going to provide some great information and insight for you today. I know that for sure. Welcome to the show, David.

David C. Baker: Thank you. Longest serving. That’s like code for old.

Chip Griffin: Hey, you know, as I always tell people, you know, the reason why I can give advice now is because I’m bald, right?

David C. Baker: Yeah, right. Yeah, no, thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this. I’ve known of you for many, many years. I don’t think we’ve ever spoken on the phone, but we’ve exchanged emails, multiple times. So I appreciate the chance to be on your podcast.

Chip Griffin: I am glad to have you here. And all of that wisdom that you’ve accumulated over the years is not just from actually advising, but you also, are like I am a data nerd.

You’ve done a lot of research. You’ve accumulated a lot of data. And so I, I really like that. And I think that will be something that’s useful to the audience here. But is there anything that you’d like to add about yourself that might be useful to listeners before we jump in?

David C. Baker: Oh, I think, no, I think that covers it.

I write, I’m sort of an author who also does other things. People know me more probably by the podcast I do with Blair – 2Bobs or the writing the weekly emails. But I think of myself as sort of an author who also tries to step into other roles like consulting. But most people have heard of me. So.

Yeah, that’s all boring. I’m good.

Chip Griffin: Perfect. I mean, one of the things that I enjoy particularly about the newsletter is you’re sort of a provocateur. And so I’m going to ask you to be a provocateur today and suggest, you know, what is it that agencies in particular could be doing better today that would, that would make them a better positioned for 2025 and beyond?

What is the, what is the key thing that you’re seeing today that they just need to be thinking about?

David C. Baker: Yeah, I suspect that people listening to that question are thinking that I’m going to say AI and that AI to me is way down the list. I, and I actually think that their, the quality of their work is plenty good enough.

I, if there’s one thing I could change by waving a magic wand over the industry, it’s to run their businesses better. And that’s sort of how I’ve committed my business life. What I’ve committed to helping them with. It’s running their business better. You know, I, the focus seems to be on raising the quality of the work and so on, which I think is important.

It obviously we have to keep up with all of that stuff. But just the basic nuts and bolts of understanding people and processes and structure and pricing and financial performance. And because so many of these folks never received any training on that in school. They were trained on the craft, which they’re more than good enough at.

And then the rest of it, they either picked up because they grew up in an entrepreneurial family. May not have had anything to do with this industry, but an entrepreneurial family, or they work for somebody else and they absorb the good and the bad things that they saw and then emulated in the principle.

So just running businesses well. Now, having said that, I think we’re probably, I don’t know for sure if this is the case, but I’d say we’re better at running our businesses than we ever have been, but it also feels to me like it’s sort of the exception rather than the rule. And I’d like that to be better because we live in a, when I look at not just 2025, but 2024, we live in a very chaotic world with all kinds of pressures.

And it’s so easy just to be frozen. In fact, I was, I was programming an event we’re going to be doing. And I stepped back from it. I looked over at the topics that I’d chosen and asked people to speak on. And I was just kind of amazed at how many of them were about leadership and coaching and mentoring.

And then I realized, oh, like, yeah, we need a lot of that right now. We live in a world that’s pretty uncertain and it’s difficult to lead in that sort of a world. So I would focus not on the craft. I would focus on running their businesses well.

Chip Griffin: I think that’s great insight. I mean, I’m sure as I do, you often go into an agency and they don’t have even regularly reliable financial reporting that they’re doing. oftentimes I, I’ll ask for a P& L and either get none or get something that is not even close to accurate.

David C. Baker: Yeah. Or what is a P& L? The question.

Chip Griffin: What is a P& L? Right. Right. So, you know, if you’re an agency owner, apart from hiring someone like you or me to help them along, you know, what, what would you advise them to do in order to start to run their businesses better?

David C. Baker: Probably the best thing they could do would be to network with other principals. And be transparent with each other. And I think that’s something that we’re also pretty good at. We just don’t take enough advantage of that. So yeah, you could hire somebody like you or me, but you could get free stuff by just being very transparent, finding other people running firms and sharing with them.

And the more tightly positioned every agency is, the less they see those peers as competitors. And so they are freer, more free to be transparent with each other. That joining a group of peers, there are lots of those, you know, there’s two dozen of those and so on, just to learn from each other. Maybe even stepping outside of the industry and joining a group like an EO or, or something like Strategic Coach or something like that, where you’re just learning from other people.

And the first thing that, that strikes you, this struck me too, because that was my same path. The first thing that struck me is how different our expectations are for the performance of a business. And so you talk with say somebody in the consulting field or somebody in the accounting field, and you’re comparing notes about how much money you make, what your expected profit is and so on.

And you, and they just say to you like without batting an eye, this is what I make. This is my expected profit. You’re like, Whoa. Oh, okay. Maybe I need to change my expectations there. So I think there’s free ways to do that too. There’s also a lot of great books out there that… there’s a lot of bad books out there too, but there’s a lot of great books out there that you can get that are basically free, right?

Just to pick up stuff. Things on pricing, on financial management of your firm. Some are specific to this field and some aren’t. And most of it applies. I mean, we are a professional service at heart. And so I don’t think we ought to view the performance of this industry all that differently than other professional service firms.

So there’s lots to learn out there.

Chip Griffin: Yeah, that, I mean, that is a great point. And, you know, we, we think of ourselves as different from you know, lawyers, accountants and all that kind of stuff. But there are, there’s a lot of similarities in the fundamentals of the business. One of the things that you just mentioned, and I know is a particular area of passion for you, as it is for me, which is positioning. Because so many agencies, today are, you know, that they want to be full service.

They want, they feel, they tell me, and I’m sure they tell you they’re afraid of leaving, you know, opportunities on the table if they focus too narrowly. So, you know, how do you convince a firm that they really need to have clear positioning and what even is clear positioning in your mind?

David C. Baker: Well, so if we use you for an example, you’re, I mean, we could call you a broadcaster or an author or a consultant.

Let’s just stick with consultant. So if you were just Chip Griffin, a consultant in New Hampshire, It’s like, it’d be hard for the world to notice you, but you’ve decided that you’re going to focus on small agencies. It’s right in your name. So now all of a sudden, you know, exactly who your target is, how to reach them, what they care about, and so on.

And all of a sudden if you wanted to have a really robust marketing plan, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to do. So back to the question, how do I convince them? I usually am not very good at convincing them. I, they have to realize that on their own. They have to recognize the need for it and the door to that realization for them is almost always new business, that same thing.

So they say, okay, We’re five or six years into this thing. And that’s kind of, I picked that number because that’s usually when the early sort of noise dies down and the referrals and the word of mouth sort of isn’t there as much anymore and they have to earn their way and they say, okay, the business isn’t quite where we want, or we had this growth spurt.

Now we have a lot of people sitting around because some of that work died. It was usually on the back of a single large client that was occupying a lot of our attention. So how do we grow? And then they say, okay, we need a marketing plan. Duh. You know, that’s kind of what they do with their clients. Right.

But it hasn’t occurred to them yet. And they, that’s where they just stop dead in their tracks. How in the world do I create an efficient marketing plan for an unpositioned firm? It’s very, the only way to do that is to be really famous. And absent that since very few of us really are, then I got to have a tighter positioning and that’s where it comes from.

It’s usually a pressure from the marketplace. And then they come to me or you or somebody else and they say, Hey, can you help us think through this? But the, the desire that demand for that usually doesn’t come from the outside. Usually it comes from an internal frustration because they just can’t figure out how to get new business.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. And a lot of agencies, frankly, have some sort of positioning, even when they don’t think they do, right? When I, they tell me that they are full service, they’ll service anybody. Then you start looking at their client list and you realize, well, they kind of have an inferred positioning anyway, that typically comes from their own expertise or perhaps who their early clients were or something like that.

So it shouldn’t be as big of a jump for them mentally as it usually ends up being to get them there. But can you also talk about the, you know, it obviously helps on the business development side. But good positioning also helps on running the business better, right?

David C. Baker: Yeah, it helps run the business better.

Obviously, you know, the new business thing is important because if you can’t solve that, then nothing else matters. But you also know what, how to, how to design your service offerings, because now all of a sudden there’s a little bit more commonality in what your clients need. And then that leads to, okay, now I know who to hire.

I know what sorts of skills to bring aboard. I know how to fashion the processes and so on. And then something that we haven’t even talked about yet. It’s like, and now I’m doing better work for my clients. Like that ought to be, that ought to be front and center.

Chip Griffin: Right.

David C. Baker: It’s just so, it’s so odd to me. Like you don’t, you don’t see doctors, like a brain surgeon saying at the Monday morning staff meeting like hey team.

I’ve got an announcement I know we pretty much only work on brains, but I, I have really been interested in experimenting in heart stuff. So next time somebody walks in here, don’t send them away down the hall. Just say, no, we’ll take care of it. It’s like, no, that stuff doesn’t happen in professional services, but it does in our side because we’re so driven. Two things.

We’re so driven by the interest in variety and because we’re so desperate for new work that we’re terrified that a positioning decision will close off some opportunity and we’re so desperate for opportunity. So it’s just a slow, long process of maturing. And like you said, just a minute ago, we’re not inventing expertise.

Like you’re, it’s going to emerge from something that you have already developed a particular favor in, some sort of focus. And so we’re, it’s just, It’s an exercise in exclusion, not inclusion. It’s like, what are we not going to be looking for moving forward? But whatever we are going to be looking for is something we’ve already been doing.

We’re, we’re not making up expertise. We’re just saying, let’s start focusing more on what one of the things that we’re really good at.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. And I love that you used a medical analogy because I often do as well, although that particular one I haven’t used, and I’m going to now borrow that one from you because I think it is very apt, but you know, the other, I think comparison to the medical field is that we have people come into us for new business and we let them tell us we want a website, we want a press campaign, we want whatever, and we just give it to them.

Because we think that’s the easiest way to generate revenue, to give them what they’re asking for. But that’s, that’s sort of like the patient who goes in and says to the doctor, you know, I need Ozempic or I need this surgery or that surgery. You know, they’re going to ask you questions to try to, to figure out if that’s what you really need or not. And that’s something I think a lot of agencies are reluctant to do because they think it might impede the sale.

David C. Baker: Yeah, right. And it’s not going to fly if you say to that doctor, well, like, I know you went to seven years of school, but I mean, I’ve just spent an hour on a WebMD. I’m pretty sure, I’m pretty sure this is what’s wrong. Yeah. And once you start, this doesn’t happen overnight, but once you start to taste expertise, you start to taste what it means.

When somebody looks to you with hunger in their eyes and they really want a solution that’s very important to them, it feels so great to be able to confidently say. I think this is what you need, right? You’re never 100 percent right and you have to be humble about it. But this stuff is important to people and they’re spending money that matters to them.

It’s like, we ought to be delivering really as much value as we can. I just, that’s sort of the unspoken problem around focus really, because we talk about, In fact, I’m guilty of this. I talk so much about how it’s easier to craft a marketing plan. It’s easier to make more money, but what about the client?

Like what does the client deserve? Yeah.

Chip Griffin: Well, and that’s it. That is something that we lose sight of at our own peril, right? Because you might win the business, but then you’ll churn them because you’re not producing the results that they were expecting, which I think that’s another area to look at is expectations.

How do you set expectations correctly with your prospects so that it can be a winning arrangement and one that that causes them to want to stay with you as opposed to being bitterly disappointed, you know, six months later?

David C. Baker: Hey, let me, let me turn that question around and ask you, what, what do you think, what do you think agencies ought to be considering around what the changes they need to make to be really relevant in the next few years?

What would you say to that?

Chip Griffin: So, I mean, I think that, that agencies in general need to, listen more and talk less. Particularly when they’re with prospects. Because you can learn so much from them. And I, you know, one of the things that, that I guess frustrates me is, is when I talk to an agency owner who says, you know, I, these people want to pick my brain, I, I just, I don’t have time for that.

They need to pay me for that. And I, I understand the time pressures that agency owners have, but I think that because things are changing even faster today than they were 20 or 30 years ago when I first got into the agency business. You have to be listening and understanding where things are going and where your clients and your prospects are headed.

What, what’s, what’s worrying them? And I, while I don’t love the, what keeps you up at night question, I do like with a prospect saying, you know, right off the bat, what brings us here today? And, and, and not the first answer will be because I need a website because I need, you know, a media campaign or whatever, but, but dig deeper. Find out what actually triggered it.

Because if you figure out what the triggering thing is, we had a meeting, the CEO is pounding his fist on the table. We’re not getting the financial results we need, or I saw a competitor in the Wall Street Journal and I’m ticked off about that, that I’m not there, whatever it is. It helps you to better understand.

And I, so to me, if you want to know where to go in the next two or three years, you need to be listening more and asking those probing questions.

David C. Baker: And train yourself to love finding the right solution for the client, even if it isn’t you. Like get used to that great feeling of, of saying, Oh, I really appreciate this conversation we’ve had, but I don’t think I’m the right person for you.

I think you should talk with such and such. And then graciously refer somebody to somebody else without expecting anything in return. That’s training yourself to love that too, is really fun.

Chip Griffin: Yeah, and one of the easiest ways that I get to convince clients of that is have them look at what their worst client experience has been, client experiences have been in the past few years and, and trace that back to the prospect conversation. Typically, typically there was a red flag in the prospect conversation, but they drove right through it because they wanted the business.

David C. Baker: Yeah. Okay. So that I see how you’re tying that to listening very carefully, not just to what is going on in the client’s world, but also to whatever extent they might be a qualified client. Like it’s about money or expectations or how much an expert they think you are or so on. Yeah, great point.

Chip Griffin: Yeah, because, you know, if you’ve got someone who’s coming in and saying, you know, well, the reason why we’re hiring you is because we want to be in the Wall Street Journal.

And you know, that’s not going to happen, right? You know, based on your expertise, you understand that the stories that they have, that’s just not likely to happen. If you just tell them that and, and you pass them on to someone who maybe could do it or could give them something different, fine. But if you take that business on, it’s gonna be a miserable client.

That’s right. And, and it’s gonna be the one that you call me up about and say, God, this client’s such a pain. I don’t understand. Yeah. That’s not what you want.

So, one of the other things you talk about a lot, is the, that agencies should be planting a flag to share their expertise and taking a stand on things, right?

Something that obviously you and I don’t have any real difficulty doing. In fact, if anything, we probably need to be restrained from time to time. But it, it does amaze me often that so many agencies are not out there and saying things, right? Other than this is what we do. And, so talk a little bit about the, the value of that, both from a growth perspective, as well as the overall impact on the agency business.

David C. Baker: Yeah. So it probably wouldn’t be fair to not at least for 15 seconds, tie us back to the positioning, conversation because it’s hard to know what to say that hasn’t been said already unless you are tightly positioned. So that’s sort of a given, but there’s just so many reasons to develop a point of view.

I constantly think that the primary one is to figure out what you think. And there are different ways for us to do this like the way my mind works I have to write something to figure out not because i’ve already figured out what I want to say but the clarity comes in the articulation not before it. Other people need to talk through something before they kind of figure out exactly concisely what they think.

So that’s the primary purpose is just to figure out what you think about something. And for me, this really struck me many years ago, because I would be in a conversation with a client and it was clear that they had a certain expectation that I would have a point of view on whatever it was, and I would hesitate.

It’s like, Oh, I’m not sure, you know, excellent question, but not sure. And so I started writing those things down. And then decided to articulate each of those points into a particular point of view, which some of them have changed over the years for sure. So that’s the first reason is just to figure out what you think.

The second reason is just to give clients some perspective of what it’s going to be like to work with you. There should be very, very few surprises ideally. So even before they pull the trigger and work with you, they should have sampled how you think, how you approach problems, and so on. And what all they’re left to decide is not to decide what you think, to decide whether or not they want you to apply those thinking skills to their very specific situation.

Another reason is just from a an indexable question, right? I mean, we got to give Google, I guess we keep saying that for a few years until they’re surpassed, but we need to give Google something to work with. We need to give them some indexable content that will drive organic traffic to our sites I, I don’t think that will ever be the primary way you get business to me.

I think of that as sort of like a 20, 25 percent solution, but it’s still pretty significant. So those are the big reasons in my mind where you need to do it. And. I you know, I, this is coupled, I think, with the fact that we have, we’ve begun to tie together our thinking with our doing. And if we want to move upstream, we have to be known as thinkers with particular perspectives and So it just kind of boggles my mind.

In fact, if I, like if, if I was reaching back decades and my kids couldn’t go to school for some reason, then all I would really ask them to do is write a lot and read a lot, because that’s what sort of develops a mind. And I’m not sure we ever lose that sort of ability to do that over time. So it’s very important to me.

And I wish it was more important to other people too.

Chip Griffin: Absolutely. And I mean, to your point of, you know, helping clients to understand your perspective, I mean, it helps your prospects so that you can shorten the sales cycle, which I think every agency would like to do. I’m sure, as I do, you have people who are coming to you in your current role and they know how you think, they know how you speak, they can hear you.

And so, therefore, it is a much shorter sales cycle than it might have been in the past where there wasn’t any content for people to consume.

David C. Baker: Yeah, right.

Chip Griffin: And so, if you can do that, you’ll find those better clients faster and spend less time going through all the mundane stuff with your prospects. But I think, I think one other value of whether it’s written content, video, audio, whatever kind of content you want to put out and stake a position on is that it helps your team.

And because if your team is consuming your content, and that’s not a given, by the way, I’ve, I’ve had in the past plenty of times where I’ve had people working for me who didn’t listen to my podcast or read my posts and articles. but to the extent that they are, it helps them to understand your vision for things in a way that’s better than sitting in a team meeting, banging the table and saying, well, this is what we’re doing today.

They can see it and they can internalize it in a much easier fashion.

David C. Baker: Yeah, and decide if they want to hitch their wagon to this train, so to speak. And I would guess that’s probably true for prospects too, right? I like how these people think. I’d like to work for them. Yeah, it is a zero sum game isn’t it.

Like the better we do at marketing, the less we have to do in sales. And if we do very little in marketing, we have to be really good at sales. It’s very inefficient. We tend to get, attached to the prospect and we sunk, we sink all these costs in there. And then it’s hard to abandon a prospect because it’s so, this particular one is so important to us.

Our marketing needs to be really, really effective so that we can comfortably waste prospects. By waste I mean not feel like we have to land everyone.

Chip Griffin: Well, I think I, you know, one of my positions is that, you know, sales is a dirty word for agencies and it’s not really sales anyway. You’re trying to find the best fit clients and that’s very different than selling a car or a widget where your goal is you get the prospect in and your single minded focus is to close the deal.

That’s not what you should be doing. As you suggested earlier, you should be comfortable telling people that you’re not the right option and sending them along to someone else. Right. And, and that’s fundamentally different from sales. So I see agency owners pick up sales books and they read through them and they’re like, Oh, this is how I need to do it.

Well, no, because that is, it is a linear process, which is not the same process, I don’t think that agencies should be following.

David C. Baker: Good point.

Chip Griffin: So, you know, we we’ve talked about a lot of different things. Let’s talk about pricing right now, because this is always a popular topic. And I know something that your, your co host on 2Bobs, writes and speaks about a lot.

But I, I, I think that agencies have great difficulty in pricing in part from going back to the very start of this conversation today, because they are not particularly good at business management, so they don’t really understand their costs. But I think, I think honestly, some of us who. and I confess to this, I, I tell clients who ask me, you know, how is their pricing?

I, without even looking at it, I tell them they need to increase it.

David C. Baker: Before you’ve even seen it, right? Yeah. Right. It should be higher.

Chip Griffin: Right. And, and, and I think that that is, that is risky because there are some agencies that are not underpriced, but I think fundamentally agencies don’t even understand their pricing at all.

And so how do you advise agencies today to be thinking about their pricing in a in a rational way that doesn’t leave money on the table, which I know they’re all worried about, but still gets them the business?

David C. Baker: Yeah. I think it’s a little bit dangerous to talk about pricing in isolation because I think it needs to be as one of multiple things that they talk about, like salary load and profit and how much the principal pays himself or herself and so on. But I also don’t like, pricing discussions that just don’t take into account where somebody happens to be on that maturity ladder. So in some cases, I think, well, in all cases, I think you ought to look at what’s the next step in pricing for you.

And so if somebody is earlier or lower on that ladder, The next step for them is to get paid for all their time. It’s like, that’s pretty basic. And in those cases, I have no objection to timekeeping at all. I think timekeeping is a fantastic temporary tool to figure out how to get paid for all your inventory.

Now, once you’ve done that, then. The next step is really to get paid for all your time at possibly a higher hourly rate. And then the next step is to just disconnect what you make from time entirely by productizing your services, maybe value pricing, whatever that is. But I don’t think most firms are ever going to get to that place.

And so I’d be very satisfied with those first two steps. Instead, what I see are people who feel abused or underappreciated, underpaid by their clients, and they just jump to value pricing, but they haven’t even climbed the basic ladder to get paid for their time. Like, let’s not talk about value pricing until you get paid for all your time.

And then they also don’t have some of the other components in place, like a tight positioning. The idea that you need to reinvent your, your agency one client at a time, you, it’s, it’s very difficult to reinvent your firm with your existing clients. You kind of have to swap them out one at a time. It’s a, it’s a long, slow, patient, arduous process.

And then, you know, the flip side of that is I just throw all that technique out. I just say, listen, kind of like you said, well, whatever it is needs to be higher. But also I think the best time to set your pricing is when you’re pissed off or tired. It’s like, I ain’t doing this again for that. my, I always adjust my pricing on the way back.

On the flight home. It’s like, I ain’t doing this again for that. You know, I just, Blair’s the pricing guy and he’s got lots of science behind it and so on. And he and I are in slightly different places about that stuff. Theoretically, and just from a pure advice standpoint, I think it’s brilliant, but I, I don’t, I think people listen to pricing at the wrong point in their development and, they’re just kind of getting it wrong.

So anyway, I’m, I’m a little mixed up on the whole pricing thing, honestly.

Chip Griffin: Well, I, I really like how you described it as a progression because so many agencies fail to get to that first rung on the ladder, which is making sure that they’re being paid fairly for their time. And, and so, you know, the, the, the risk of some of the things that are out there on value pricing and such as that, it sounds so enticing that, as you say, they jump right to that step without having done the intermediary work to, to be able to figure out what does it actually cost them to deliver.

And, and it doesn’t, at some point it doesn’t matter what the value is to the client if that’s still not enough to cover your actual costs. And so, you know, to go back to where we started, if you understand your numbers, if you know what it costs to deliver, then you can at least have your, your safety price, right?

You know, or as I call it, my price floor, that the number I’m not going to go below because I know below that I’m not going to make money. And so if you don’t understand that number, then any, any theory around pricing is worthless.

David C. Baker: I, I was struck by this yesterday. I was working with a new client and you know, where, where agencies seem to get stuck is in this fee billings per full time equivalent employee, they get stuck around 155, 160, something like that.

And, my target for them is, is 220. That’s, that’s where it kind of starts. And so if they’re at 155, 160, we try to get them to 220. The, the woman I was working with yesterday, she was at 460. And wasn’t satisfied with that. And I thought, well, that’s great. Let’s get you up to 900. It’s like, you know, my clients range anywhere from 150.

There’s a few little bit lower than that, up to a little over a million. And it doesn’t matter where you are. It was like, let’s just take it further while still delivering exceptional value to your clients. And if you’re still doing that the sky’s the limit. And so just understand where you are and, and be happy just doing a little bit better.

What, what are the levers you need to pull to do a little bit better and not beat yourself up about that. But there is room for growth every year that you stay in business if you’re doing the right things and it’s, it’s a great adventure really.

Chip Griffin: Absolutely. Well, I think that’s a that’s a good note to to conclude our conversation.

We could probably go on for hours here and cover lots more room. So we’ll have to have you back again for a future conversation. But in the meantime, if someone is interested in getting your newsletter, subscribing to the podcast, learning more about you, where should they go?

David C. Baker: So, the business address would be punctuation.com and, you’ll learn there about, books, events, and so on. We’re doing an event in Atlanta, October 21 to 23, which you refused to speak at, by the way. And

Chip Griffin: That’s, that’s a slight mischaracterization. I had a schedule conflict.

David C. Baker: Yeah. so anyway, punctuation.com and, you can sign up for a weekly emails there too.

I appreciate the invitation to chat with you, Chip. I enjoyed it.

Chip Griffin: It’s been great having you. Again, my guest today has been David C. Baker. I encourage you all to sign up for his newsletter, buy his books, watch his, or I guess listen to his podcast, all those kinds of things. It is great, useful information and will help you to level up your agency.

So with that, thank you all for listening. I appreciate it. And I will have you all back here on another show.

Never miss an article, episode, or event

Subscribe to the weekly SAGA Newsletter

Subscription Form