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SAGA Newsletter: The fastest way to eat into your agency’s profits

I remind every agency owner that I talk with that their time is the most valuable asset in the business. It is also the most finite.

That means that every minute you spend must be carefully considered — especially the time that you spend on client service.

The fastest path to profit problems lies in using your own time to unnecessarily review or even duplicate another team member’s work.

That means asking yourself if you really need to be on a client call if you have an account lead on it already. Or considering whether you need to personally review every deliverable before it goes to the client.

Getting this wrong doesn’t just take money out of your own pocket, it also tends to substantially increase your stress level.

I’ll explore this more later in this week’s newsletter, but first let’s take a look at Jen’s roundup of useful resources.

— Chip Griffin, SAGA Founder

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Weekly Roundup

Below are some articles, blog posts, podcasts, and videos that we came across during the past week or so that provide useful perspective and information for PR and marketing agency owners. While we don’t necessarily endorse all of the views expressed in these links, we think they are worth your time.

— Jen Griffin, SAGA Community Manager

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AI in Focus

The fastest way to eat into your agency’s profits

The owner of any small business can have a hard time letting go of tasks as the enterprise expands. 

That’s even more true of PR and marketing agencies where the owner’s reputation is usually what got the ball rolling in the first place.

Many agency owners who come to me for help find themselves bogged down with day-to-day work on client accounts.

That’s stressful for the owner (and often their team members), and it can quickly erode the profitability of an account.

This tends to be an even more dramatic problem in partner-owned agencies because it is not uncommon for more than one partner to be participating in the same client call or reviewing the same piece of work before it gets sent along.

Owners need to guard their time jealously and continuously ask themselves if they really need to be doing each task that comes across their desks.

When you’re a solo and there’s nobody else to handle the call or re-read the draft, you have no choice.

As soon as you have at least one team member who has client contact, you need to start pulling back.

You can’t go out and buy more of your own time. You can’t put more hours into the day.

You can steal time from other areas of your life (including sleep!), but even that is limited and certainly not sustainable over long periods of time without undesirable side effects.

The problem tends to be most dramatic with calls and meetings. If you have a 1-hour client call scheduled and you join a team member on it, the cost to your agency has doubled. That cost adds up quickly in a business that makes money off of its labor resources.

Naturally, this doesn’t mean that you should never join a client call. Or that you should never review an important draft, proposal, or other document before it gets delivered to the client.

But you do need to be very discriminating in how you apply your time. And you need to make sure that the pricing reflects the time that you spend on a project.

If you join a call, it should be because you are adding enough value to justify the increased expense. If you review a blog post or press release, it should be because your special touch makes a substantial difference to the outcome — something that would have been immediately noticeable if you had not been involved.

By becoming more picky with how you spend your time on client work, you will free yourself up to do higher value work that helps to grow your agency, while also reducing your stress level and putting more profits in your pocket.

Roundtable: Growing your agency as a reluctant self-promoter

If you find self-promotion feels a bit icky and you have a hard time tooting your own horn, you may wonder how to grow your agency most effectively.

In this SAGA Roundtable with Kami Huyse of Zoetica Media, we will tap into her experience and have an interactive conversation about how she has succeeded as a reluctant self-promoter.

Kami has been writing and speaking about personal branding for nearly 20 years, and she explains why you may be thinking about self-promotion in the wrong way. By flipping it around to see it as serving your community, you can overcome your own reluctance and establish yourself and your agency as the experts that you are.

Come to this Roundtable prepared to engage directly with Kami, asking questions and sharing your own experiences.

This event will be on Thursday June 6 from 12-1 PM ET, and you can register here.

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