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Adopting the Build to Own Mindset

This SAGA Member Webinar is available only to individuals with active memberships. Login or join to gain access.
Webinar presented live on May 3, 2023

If you are going to take on all of the risk and stress of running your own agency, you should get the rewards you desire.

That’s the thinking behind the Build to Own approach advocated by SAGA Founder Chip Griffin.

In this webinar, Chip Griffin explains Build to Own and describes what you need to do in order to adopt that mindset for your own agency.

He shares specific steps that you should take to achieve the key objectives of a Build to Own agency.


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

Hello and welcome to today’s webinar on Adopting the Build to Own Mindset. I am Chip Griffin, the founder of SAGA, the Small Agency Growth Alliance, and I’m looking forward to today’s discussion where we’ll be able to talk about my overriding philosophy for how best to run your agency and how you can get the most from it.

And so we’ll be going into that in just a moment. But of course before we do that, I as always have a few housekeeping items. To deal with. So let’s go ahead and dive into those. The full webinar replay will be available for SAGA Pro members on the SAGA website. Just go to smallagencygrowth.com for that.

Probably in the next day or two, it will be there. If you are not already a SAGA Pro member, there is information on the site about how to join. If you have a question that you’d like to ask during today’s session, feel free to ask it at any time using the q and a function. Should be at the bottom of your screen and I will take all of the questions at the end for anyone who is attending live.

If you are watching this on replay or you simply have a question that you’d like to ask that perhaps you don’t want to share with the group, feel free to email me directly at chip@smallagencygrowth.com. If you’re talking about this webinar on social media, I’d appreciate it if you would use the hashtag agencyleadership to make it easy to find.

And of course, if you’d like to learn more about SAGA, you can just visit smallagencygrowth.com. You’ll find information about what we do, but you’ll, more importantly, you’ll find access to the various resources that I may mention over the course of today’s webinar. So with that, let’s go ahead and cover what we’re going to talk about today.

The first is I’m gonna have a little bit of a reality check on selling your agency because I know that this is something that many of you dream about doing. Many people come to me, Initially to talk about how they can get their agency ready to sell, and so I’ll share a few things that I share in those conversations to set the table for why my approach is build to own, and so I’ll explain why Build to Own is the approach that I think is best.

I’ll explain the core principles behind the Build to Own philosophy. I’ll talk about the importance of knowing your ambition and a little bit about how you can define that. I’ll talk about why you need to remember that it’s your agency and you’re not building something for someone else. And finally, I will talk about what happens when it is time to exit.

If I’m telling you that your approach should be to focus on building something that you actually want to own, what comes at the end? And so we’ll cover that as well. So first couple of truths about, well, more than a couple of truths about selling your agency, and this is something that I talk a lot about.

It’s something that, as I said, I mention to clients all the time when they’re asking me about selling. And you can see that, that there’s so many things that it’s really compact on this slide. But let me just kind of quickly go through these. There are a number of articles and podcast discussions on the website where I go into, All of these things in more detail, but the, the key thing to take away from this is that there are a lot of things that you probably don’t realize about selling your agency.

And so before you really are committing yourself to that idea, and before you dive too hard into developing strategies and tactics to achieve that, it’s important that you understand what the reality is. And I think the first and most important thing to understand is that most agencies don’t get sold for a life changing amount of money.

And by life changing, I don’t necessarily mean that you become a billionaire with your own airplane because, well, that doesn’t really happen to anyone in the agency world, but life changing in terms of it gives you all you need to retire or something like that. Most agencies are not able to be sold for that kind of money, and it’s not simply because they didn’t build them to be sold.

It’s because agencies are inherently difficult to achieve that kind of valuation on. And so when you hear about an agency deal and you read about it in O’Dwyer’s or Adweek or any of the industry trade publications, You look at it and say, wow, they sold, that’s a great deal. Well, you don’t know that. None of us know what the terms of really any of these deals are, and the devil is in the details.

And there are plenty of announcements about mergers and acquisitions in the agency space that are less than meets the eye. They just simply don’t have a lot of dollars attached to it. And so don’t just look at these trade publications and the announcements and think, wow, these owners really made a killing because chances are, They didn’t.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, how much is my agency worth? Or how much revenue do I need to have in order to be able to sell at X dollars? Or what does my profit margin need to be in order to get the sale price that I want? And the reality is that as much as you may hear discussion of multiples of revenue or multiples of earnings, those are typically things that you back into after the fact.

They are not things that are necessarily core to the decision of the buyer, because at the end of the day, the value of any business is simply what the buyer is willing to pay and what the seller is willing to let it go for. And so until you have those numbers, it’s not as clean as it’s six times earnings or it’s two times revenue, or any of the things that you may

hear kind of floating around out there. So don’t get too hung up on hitting certain targets in order to generate certain kinds of paydays. A lot of things go into how the valuation is done, and certainly a buyer may sit down and do some of that initial analysis on multiples of profits and say, okay, you know, this is a starting point for us to think about, but.

They also need to think about how much cash do they have, how much equity in their own business could they give? What are you bringing to the table in terms of stability of clients, access to different kinds of verticals? Maybe a geographical component, maybe it’s the team that’s coming on board.

There’s all sorts of different things that go into how a buyer will value you, and no two buyers will value you in the exact same way because where they’re coming from is different. I would also encourage you to understand that your profitability probably isn’t what you think it is. And so when when I take a look at agency books and I look at the p and l and they say, okay, our profit margin is X, chances are that’s not correct once we’ve sat down and done the same kind of analysis that a buyer would do, Because a buyer is gonna come in and the, the main area that they’re gonna focus on making adjustments is your own compensation. Most agencies have a situation where the agency owner is either over or under compensating themselves on the profit and loss statement.

And so you need to, to true that up and correct it so that it accurately reflects what it would cost the buyer to replace you. And until you’ve done that, you don’t really know what your actual profitability is. So I would encourage you to look at it, and particularly if you are an agency owner and you’re taking all of your compensation in draws, for example, and we have an article on the SAGA website recently about all of the different ways you can compensate yourself as an owner. If you’re taking it all as draws, that doesn’t show up typically on a profit and loss statement. And so in those cases, it will dramatically overstate what your profit margin is because if you are not paying yourself a salary and that’s not showing up as an expense, then you need to have that trued up and corrected so that you can figure out what your true profit margin is.

And I would encourage you to do that even if you’re not thinking about selling. But let’s say that you’ve, you’ve now gone through all of this and you say, okay, it’s fantastic. We’ve come up with evaluation that we all agree on. There are things that you need to consider in terms of evaluating that sale.

And not all sales are created equal. There are clear winners and losers in certain kinds of deals, and I think the first and most important thing to understand in, in those terms is you’re not likely to get all of your cash at closing, and you may not even get all cash. In some cases it may be more of a merger.

You may get a piece of a larger agency that is buying you depending on where you’re at in your own career and what you are looking to do, and any sale needs to be evaluated in those terms. You need to understand if you’re not getting paid in full at closing, what are the milestones that need to be hit?

Typically, there are earnouts, most agency sales these days, you’re not gonna get more than about a third or a little bit more than that of the cash up front. You’re going to be being paid out over three to five years typically in most of the deals that are going on these days. And so you need to understand it.

A, it’s gonna take time to get that money. And B, there are no real guarantees on those funds that are coming in. So it, it could be that they’re tied to hitting certain milestones of client retention or revenue, or any number of other things, but even beyond that, you have to then assume and be confident in the fact that the buyer will have the cash available to pay you at those times.

And you can certainly put terms in the deal to set money in escrow and things like that for those purposes. But you need to understand how all of that works and make sure that you’re evaluating it from that perspective. And so it’s not simply that you collect that check and you wave goodbye because the next piece is you’re likely to be working for the buyer for a number of years. And typically that’s going to be two to five years, depending upon the deal that you’ve got and can you get out of that? Yes. If you’re looking to retire and your, your ideal is to be out faster, you potentially can, but that’s likely to cause there to be a discount on the purchase price, and it may frankly just scare off some buyers altogether. So you need to be comfortable with the fact that you’re going to be making a commitment post sale.

On top of that, you’re probably going to have a real boss for the first time in many years, and for many agency owners, if you’ve gone 10, 15, 20 years. As an agency owner, as your own boss. It’s gonna be a different experience when you have to report to somebody. And typically agency owners, when they’re acquired, they’re given some leeway by the acquirer, but at the end of the day, they still are employees and they still have to report to somebody.

And so that’s something you need to square up with yourself and make sure that you are comfortable with. You also need to understand that selling your agency takes time, and it’s not just this post-acquisition time that I’m talking about where you’re an employee, it takes time to go through the actual sales process from the time that you first talk with a potential acquirer, and you go through the dance of getting to know each other and talking about numbers and agreeing on a number, and then doing a letter of intent, and then following that with due diligence.

And following that with the actual purchase and sale agreement, negotiation, finally getting to closing and all of that, that’s something that can take 6, 12, 18 months or more. And even before that, you have to do things. Typically if your, if your aim is to sell, you will typically do certain things leading up to that in order to try to shape the sale.

And so all of that goes into a very long time horizon. And I’ve had agency owners come to me and say, look, I’m looking to sell in the next couple of years because I want to be completely retired, then I’m gonna be 65. Well, that’s, that’s not nearly a long enough horizon. As we’re looking at some of the things that I’ve just talked about, particularly if you include the need for post sale employment as part of the deal.

And finally, you also have to understand that the first price you agree to is unlikely to be what you actually end up receiving. So typically, in most of these acquisitions, the buyer and seller will agree on a number. Say it’s a million dollars, you’ll sign a letter of intent at that. But then after due diligence is done and after earnouts are done, chances are you will take something less than that at the end of the day.

It doesn’t always happen, but more often than not, what you actually receive ends up being at least somewhat less than whatever you initially agreed to in those verbal consultations with or negotiations with the buyer. So all of this is to say that there are a lot of complexities to selling. It’s not all sunshine and roses.

There are unicorns out there, but there’s a lot more to it. And so that helps to explain why I want you to be thinking more about building to own. And so it’s not just that selling is bad, I’m none of the things that I’ve talked about mean that you shouldn’t sell. I’ve sold businesses and it can be a very worthwhile and productive experience.

But you also need to understand that there are reasons why, beyond the complexity of the sale that you may want to focus on owning. And it’s something to to think about in particular because many of you may have read the book Built to Sell, and it’s a great book. There’s lots of good stuff in it. I have it here on my desk actually, and it is a book that has many good ideas, useful things for you to think about as you’re building your agency.

And, and I think men, much of the advice that John Warrillow provides in that book is worthwhile, but having that singular focus on selling means that you’re likely to take your eye off the ball in other areas. So I would prefer that you focus on building something that you actually want to own that will give you the results that you are looking for, that will give you satisfaction in owning the business while you’re doing it.

Because even if you do sell the business, the odds are that you will spend many, many years running that business. And so if your focus is solely on building something up that you can sell, you could find yourself in a position where you’re, you’re struggling and frustrated for 10 years because it’s all about building something to sell, but you’re still owning it.

You’re still managing it. You’re still running it day to day for all of that time. I would say to you that if you’re building something that is, that is healthy, that is a successful business, there are going to be people out there who are interested in buying it, and it doesn’t mean that you have to build with that singular focus in mind of selling.

Instead, build something that is giving you what you want now that is giving you the ability to set money aside for your retirement now. That is giving you the ability to do the kind of work that you want to do now. And then if in the future, You are in a position where somebody looks at it and says, Hey, I want that too.

They can come in and buy at that point, and it becomes gravy. It doesn’t become your singular purpose. The only thing that will give you a sense of success, because as we’ve talked about, much of what you hear about selling agencies, it, they’re just, most of it doesn’t end up coming out that way. Most agencies do not end up being sold at all, let alone for a life-changing amount of money.

The other problem is that if you are focused on selling, it often creates a distraction because now you’re making decisions based on what you think a future potential buyer would want. You’re thinking about how can you focus on perhaps revenue growth that may come at the expense of profitability.

There are all sorts of trade-offs that if your focus is selling, may not be the best decisions for that point in time for the agency. So I think if you’re focused on owning, you’ll be in a much better position to have something that you enjoy while you own it, and it still has the potential for selling or some other kind of happy exit and will talk about some of those exiting options at the end of today’s webinar.

So what are the fundamental principles behind Build to Own? And building to own means basically, there are five key things that you need to be thinking about. The first is that you should be building an agency that allows you to do the kind of work that you want to do. Look, if you wanted to be miserable, if you wanted to be doing what someone else tells you to do, you could go get another job somewhere else.

And in fact, at many points in your agency life cycle, you could probably get paid more by another employer to do that job. As you become successful with your agency and as you’re building something that you really want to own, it should flip around and your compensation should be higher than you could probably make if you were, were an employee somewhere else.

But there are gonna be periods of time where it, it would be the other way around. So make sure that the work that you’re doing is stuff that you actually enjoy. And if you don’t like what you’re doing today in owning your agency, figure out what you want to change. And we’ll talk a little bit about that in the ambition portion of this discussion.

But it’s also something that is I talk about a lot on the SAGA website. There’s a lot of resources that will help you to hone your own role and, and write your own job description as an agency owner to make sure that you do have satisfaction in the kind of work that you wanna do. So that’s first and foremost.

You need to be doing what you want to do otherwise why would you bother owning your own business and being your own boss? You also wanna make sure though, that you’re able to follow the schedule you want to live, and you can call that work-life balance or whatever you want, but really what it means is that you’re working the volume of work that you want to do. So do you wanna work 30, 40, 50, 70 hours a week? Doesn’t matter. Whatever. Whatever suits your personality is fine. You just need to figure out what your goals are for the amount of work, but also the flexibility of it. And many agency owners. Maybe they got their start in working or creating their own agency because they needed that flexibility.

Maybe you are a new mom and you started out doing some freelancing because it’s what you had time to do and continue moving forward with your career, and then that became an agency. Maybe you were between jobs or maybe you had to take care of a relative. And so those are the kinds of things where you might be looking for that flexibility initially when you get started with the agency.

That flexibility is really valuable. And again, one of the perks of being your own boss is to give yourself that degree of flexibility. So make sure that you are building an agency that allows you to work the amount of hours that you want to work, and you’re able to work them when, and frankly, these days where you want to work. There’s no reason why many of you can’t run agencies and live in some exotic location if that’s what you so choose. Or perhaps your spouse has to work somewhere because they’re physically tied to a location. You can, as your own boss, as the owner of your agency, you can pick a different location, different hours, whatever it takes to make you happy and give you the satisfaction that you’re looking for.

You also need to be thinking about being able to surround yourself with the kind of people that you want to work with. And that in includes employees, contractors, and even clients. As an agency owner, you have the flexibility to decide these things, and if you’re not being proactive and intentional about who you’re surrounding yourself with, you’re missing out on a real opportunity of being an agency owner and when your focus is on owning as opposed to selling, you’re much less likely to make compromises in that area and say, you know, I’m, I’ve gotta take this client on because I need that logo in order to shine myself up to be able to be sold, or I need to keep on this particular employee who’s really difficult to work with because I know that he or she would be really valued by a potential acquirer. So be careful about those things. Make sure you are truly surrounding yourself with the kind of people that you actually want to work with day in and day out. Of course, all of this doesn’t matter if you’re not generating the kind of compensation that you need to make.

And I encourage agency owners to think in terms of compensation, two ways. How much do you need to make? In other words, what’s the number that you need in order to meet all of your commitments, your rent, your car payments, your kids’ education, your, you know, just your, your general quality of life, so vacations and that kind of stuff.

But then maybe what’s your stretch? You know, where would you, I mean, obviously we’d all like to just, you know, have as many zeros after our income as possible, or most of us would. But realistically, what do you want to try to achieve with the business and having those goals in mind can be really, really helpful in defining your ambition as an agency owner and building something that you truly want to own.

And then the final principle that I think it’s important to focus on when you’re creating a build to own agency is that you want to think about what other goals might you have with the business? Do you want it to be able to help you in your charitable endeavors? Do you want it to be able to help you with either sponsorships of, of youth league teams?

Do you want it to be able to be something that is part of your legacy and something that people will talk about? Do you want to use it as a stepping stone to something else, to maybe participation in board activities for companies or nonprofit organizations or that sort of thing? There are other non-financial, non directly work related goals that you might have as a business owner, and so you want to incorporate that into your overall objectives because that can be an important part of the value of being an owner versus being an employee. So I’ve mentioned a few times ambition and it is I, I have what I call the AIM-GET framework, and A is for Ambition.

And I believe that every agency owner to be successful needs to start by understanding what their own ambition is. And so going back to those five core principles, what do you actually want to get from the business? And so you need to think about those five principles and how you would structure your role so that it meets those.

But I, a few things as you’re thinking about your ambition and as you’re defining it, that I think you need to be considering. First and foremost, it needs to be all about you. Or if you’re in a partnership all about you and your partners, and is this selfish? Absolutely. But the reality is that as an, as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, you do need to be thinking about yourself because you’re not building something for someone else.

We’ll talk more about that later, but you need to think about you and what the business means for you, and it shouldn’t be starting with thinking about your employees, your clients, and all that they need. They matter. They’re important. I’m not, I’m not saying they’re not. But first and foremost, you need to define the ambition that you have personally and focus on that when you’re defining it.

And there are some resources on the SAGA website that ask you more deeper questions or more thorough questions to help you hone the ambition. And there’s a workbook and all sorts of resources. Or if you have questions, just let me know. But there’s a lot that you can do to really clearly define it and what it means for you.

But you need to be clear about it. You need to understand that. You also need to update your ambition, your goals if you will, regularly. And so that means typically I encourage folks to review on an annual basis or when there’s some sort of major life event that takes place. You get married, you get divorced to death in the family, birth in the family, any of these kinds of things that might take place over the course of a year, that’s the time to step back and take a look at your business and say, okay, has this changed anything that I want to do?

If you’re doing it on an annual basis, you should sit there and take a look and say, okay, what am I happy with? What’s gone well the last year? Are there things that I want to adapt either because of where I am in my career or my life, or because of how things have gone? Have I found areas where perhaps I’ve, I’ve found a, a portion of the role that I like more than I used to. Do I want to change my ambition to focus more of my effort there? Do I need to have more or less flexibility in my time? All of this goes into the update of your ambition on a regular basis that will help guide you. And I think it’s the guiding part that’s really important here. It’s not enough just to have these goals and, and define this ambition.

It’s making sure that you’re keeping it in mind when you’re making strategic plans for the agency. Make sure that the business is serving you. Make sure that what you’re doing with the direction of the agency helps you to achieve the goals that you’ve set personally. That’s how you make sure that the risk and the stress and all of that, that comes with owning a business and meeting payroll and gaining clients and keeping clients, and all of that pays off.

At the end of the day, make sure that every decision that you make, that major decision in the business feeds back into those individual goals, and you understand why you’re making those decisions. And if you’re tracking your progress of the business. And your personal goals and, and they continue to intersect, then you’re on the right track.

If not, then you need to make some course corrections.

So I, I talked about the selfish aspect. I talked about how you need to remember that it’s your agency, and I think this is where we need to be careful. We need to make sure that as you’re listening to me, as you listen to other agency owners talk or other experts talk, you need to make sure that you are absorbing and learning all of this, but, At the end of the day, you need to make decisions for yourself.

You need to make sure that you’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses. What does that mean? That means that if you, if you hear that a successful agency is doing X, Y, or Z, they’re using this software, or they’ve got this kind of client, or they’ve got this kind of staffing model, you don’t necessarily say, ah, I’m gonna do exactly that.

You need to absorb that. Think about that. How does that fit in with your own ambition? How does that fit in with the track record that your agency has? And this is an area where you really need to be careful about some of the things that you may read or hear about. Benchmarks in particular. They are not always your friend.

You may hear, well, you shouldn’t hire until you have at least $200,000 in revenue per full-time equivalent employee. Or you need to make sure that your profit margin is at least 20%, or your labor costs should never exceed 55% or any of these other things that get tossed around out there. Again, useful information to have use, useful perspective to have, but there’s not a one size fits all approach to success with your agency.

And particularly when you start incorporating the fact that it’s not just the agency being successful, it’s also you achieving your personal success. And so if you’re looking at benchmarks too closely and you’re too fixated on them, it will often cause you to to go in directions that are not particularly helpful.

And you need to remember that the, the perception that you have of all of these other businesses, even if it’s an agency owner that’s a good friend of yours, and, and you talk candidly about things, perception and reality aren’t always the same. And, and odds are you don’t see all of the day-to-day that’s going on in any other agency or any other business. You’re not seeing their p and l, their checking account, their balance sheet, all of these things. You’re not, you’re not seeing the, the turmoil and stress that takes place behind the scenes. All of the little things that go into creating the public perception, you are not observing.

And so that means if you’re making decisions just based on what you’re perceiving from the, the public statements that they’re putting out or what they’re telling you at a cocktail party. That’s not necessarily the reality, and so you might be going in the wrong direction because the perception and the reality are not intersecting in the way that you think they are.

So don’t take too much from these kinds of things and instead again, absorb it. And then do the reality check to see how it applies to your own business and test it out. I’m a big fan of if you’re saying, geez, you know, I, I’d like to, to be able to have more employees, fewer employees, more revenue, work it out and say, okay, what does this look like?

If I want to, you know, double my revenue, how many clients do I need to add at what amounts when, and map it all out and see, does this make sense? Could I actually, do I think I could reasonably achieve that? And so that, that learning versus imitation is really important and it always needs to circle back to what you’re actually trying to achieve.

None of this matters. None of this matters if it’s not helping you to achieve your own goals. At that point, all you’re doing is building someone else’s agency, and that again, is, is my, the issue I have if you’re focused too much on selling, you’re trying to create something that you think will be attractive to somebody else. Focus on building something that’s attractive to you. That’s giving you the results that you want today and in the near future, that’s build to own in a nutshell. So what does happen when it’s time to exit? Because at some point we’re all going to to leave our agencies, and there’s a lot of different ways that this can happen. And the first thing I would tell you is that a healthy agency is a healthy agency.

Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve built it to sell or you’re building it to own. If you are fundamentally building an agency that is profitable, that is allowing you to do what it wants to do that has high client retention and high employee retention, and has high employee morale. All of these things together, that’s good for you if you own, it’s good for you when it time comes, time to exit as well.

And there are many different ways that you can walk away from your agency. You can transfer it to a family member. This happens with a fair number of agencies where perhaps you’ve got a a direct relative son, daughter, maybe you’ve got a cousin or brother or who knows all sorts of different opportunities within the family to transfer the agency.

And so that can be a way that you are able to exit as the agency owner. If you’re a partner, you might get bought out, right? If you’re a partner, you might have an opportunity to leave, and then there are terms in most partnership agreements when you do retire or otherwise leave that your equity gets bought out by the other remaining partners.

You might have it where you’re not in a partnership so that it’s an employee who is buying from you, the owner. And this is very common with a lot of small agencies where you’ve got maybe a longtime employee and over time you have them buyout portions of the equity typically by transferring some of their, their on paper compensation to being an equity payment to purchase.

A portion of the agency, and typically this takes place over time. Sometimes it can be a, a say one time sale, not as common that way. Sometimes it may be a sale that starts as you are downsizing your own role as the owner. There’s a lot of different ways that you can do employee buyouts, and I’d be happy to talk to you about some of the different scenarios if you’re interested in that in more detail.

But suffice to say that is another way that you can exit. You can simply gradually wind down the business, and this is something that a fair number of small agency owners do as well. Maybe you’ve got 10 clients and you, you’re wanna put yourself on a glide path to retirement. So you gradually through attrition a, allow the clients to to go away, but you don’t necessarily work to bring on replacements as you might when you’re in your heyday and really trying to grow the agency aggressively.

And so you might use that as your way of being able to slowly ramp down your time while continuing to have an income stream and the ability to, to continue to do things just at a slower pace. So that’s another option that you have for exiting. There are some agency owners who are basically of the mindset, I’m gonna keep showing up to the office and until my last day I’m going out toes up.

And. You know, that’s an option as well. Harold Burson, I think was, was still going into the office. He, he no longer was the owner, but he’s still going in all the way up until the end of his life when when he passed away a few years ago in his, in his nineties I believe, if I recall correctly.

So there’s all sorts of different ways that you can plan out your exit there, but of course, the one that, that is the most popular and where we started today’s webinar, so we’ll wind up here as well. It, it’s selling. And so you can absolutely, even if you’re doing a build to own agency and you’ve built something that suits your purposes, it doesn’t mean that you can’t sell it.

If you like it and it’s producing good results for you financially, there’s a good chance that someone else is gonna be interested in that as well. And so selling is an option you can cash out with the, the asterisk of all of the things that I talked about earlier in this session about. The challenges that you may have when it comes to actually collecting all of that cash and the timeframes that it takes and all that.

But there are other ways that you might think about selling. It might not just be a, a sale to cash out, it might be a sale on paper so that you can have a soft landing for your employees and clients. And so maybe you, you get a portion of the, the revenue that comes in over time as a way to, to effectively earn out.

But it’s not cash upfront. It’s not, it’s not a. Traditional sale. Cause there’s all sorts of different types of sales that take place, as I mentioned earlier. So it could just be that soft landing. It could be an acquihire maybe. Maybe you’re not thinking about selling cuz you want to exit at retirement.

Maybe you are younger and you want to continue your career. Maybe you want to work for a larger agency or other kind of organization. You can go through what’s called an acquihire. And an acquihire is where a small agency is. Purchased by some sort of larger entity, but it’s mostly to bring the talent over, including you potentially as the owner.

So it could be your route to your, your next step in your own career, which may not be at that point in time ownership. And so that’s something to consider as well. And then finally, there’s what I would call the press release sale, and this is one where you just want a capstone on your career. You want to be able to, to tell people that you sold your business.

Doesn’t really necessarily matter that you’ve collected the cash, because you’ve done a good job in the build to own approach of being able to sock money away for retirement and setting yourself up for future success or whatever it is that you want. But you just, you want to have that piece of paper that you can point to and say, yeah, this was a success.

The agency I built meant something. It had a legacy. And so there’s a press release you’re able to put out upon sale, and so that’s, that’s a perfectly legitimate approach if that is what you’re looking to do and that is how you would like to exit because that’s where we’ll exit today’s webinar. It’s really all about what you want and getting what you want from it, and the build to own philosophy, the build to own approach and mindset is all about figuring out what you’re trying to achieve with your agency business.

Structuring that business around those goals, checking in regularly to make sure that you’re continuing to achieve them, and then when it does come time to exit doing so on your own terms and not because you’ve focused so much for 5, 10, 15 years on building something just because you think that someone else might be interested in it.

And ultimately the things that you will read about in books like Built To Sell or other people who are talking about how to structure things for selling, they’re, the fundamentals are still pretty similar. It’s really just about how you make those critical decisions in the moment in terms of thinking about you and what you are trying to achieve versus thinking about someone else and what they might want to see.

So with that, that will take us to the q and a portion of today’s webinar. If you are here live go ahead and use that q and a function and I will be taking questions here momentarily. If you are watching this on replay, this is where the replay will conclude. But you’re welcome to send me questions at chip@smallagencygrowth.com.

Where you can hop on over to our community on Slack in order to ask questions there, where you get answers, not just for me but other fellow agency owners as well. So thank you for joining. Hopefully you’ve taken away from this, the imperative of focusing on building something that you actually want to own.

And all of the resources that, that we have at SAGA as well as all sorts of other resources that are out there for you, we’ll help you to achieve that goal. So, with that, again, the replay concludes now and we will move to q and a for live attendees in just a moment.

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