What would happen if you make YOUR agency your best client? First, almost certainly, panic would set in across the firm. Second, what a ridiculous idea – billings and cash flow would be upside down. Third, I can’t keep up with my real paying client workload. Fourth, I don’t have the staff and hours to waste on me. And fifth, no business owner in his or her right mind would do such a thing.
Ok, valid points – not really but we’ll put all those concerns in the parking lot for now and get back to them later on. Consider this. What is the revenue potential of a decent new client for your agency? Fill in the number; $50,000, $100,000, $250,000, or whatever it is. For the sake of this discussion, let’s peg it at $100,000. If one new client brought in an additional $100,000 in the year, what would the metrics of that income mean in the same terms that you measure the value of an existing client?
$100,000 at a blended rate of $125 per hour means 800 hours of billed time. If a prospective client offered you a contract for $100,000, you would happily agree to provide 800 hours of services, whatever those deliverables might be. You would divide the hours across the agency for creative time, production time and account management time. Within those buckets, you would assign staff at the right mix of seniority to accomplish the tasks. Of course, you would endeavor to deliver whatever services are required within the scope to realize the profit goal. The net result is that you’ve dedicated however many hours of staff time to earn that $100,000.
So why not budget and manage client acquisition in the same way? Using your best judgment and historical evidence, determine how much new income you can expect to earn from new clients. Not what you hope, not some blue sky target, but your best judgment, gut-checked as a realistic expectation. Just like you plan your existing clients. Use that number to assign your new business budget, staff time, and investment for your agency. And then manage it like it is one of your clients. Treat it the same way you would your best client.
Stay on schedule – you can’t move your client’s deadlines. Stay on budget – you can’t ask your client to pay more. Innovate, excite and delight – you do everything you can to make sure your clients are happy. Face the challenges head-on, solve the problems, overcome the obstacles – that’s how you keep your clients growing.
If you treat your agency as your best client and manage it in the same way you do all your clients, the income will not only pay for the staff time but also cover the cost. And, the workload will be factored into the overall agency in the same way you do every client making into much more manageable, predictable and much less likely to cause widespread panic when new opportunities arise. Don’t be wrong-minded like every other ad agency owner and treat new business as an afterthought. Be your best client in every way you help your other clients succeed and watch yourself grow.
Now about that parking lot ... really?
If you’d like to hear more about ad agency business development, I’d be happy to share my experience. I’m always open to a conversation regardless of your needs. If you like this post, click the thumbs up, so I’ll know and then sign up for my new business newsletter. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily tips, tricks, and insights. #LetsGrow!