Scaling an agency isn’t a walk in the park. Take it from Eric McGehearty, the founder of Globe Runner. With its inception in 2009, his Dallas-based digital marketing agency has grown into a robust company, now offering SEO, PPC, content marketing, and web design and development services.
The company recently earned INC5000 recognition as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. This is after Eric made two strategic acquisitions for his business at the outset. However, small wins and even losses (or lessons learned) have led to his company’s growth.
In a recent podcast, Eric shared his success stories and offered valuable insights on scaling an agency. Read this blog to learn more.
Listen to the podcast here or read the summary below.
Starting and Scaling an Agency
Launching a startup is one thing; Scaling it is another. Unfortunately, a business has to go through a lot of challenges. And rising above these challenges is key to achieving business growth and success.
When asked what common challenges their agency has encountered, Eric was quick to answer: the pace of hiring.
At some point, it was difficult for him to maintain the appropriate headcount for his agency. The reality is that he needed more people for his growing clientele during a peak season. But during an off-season, he struggled to let go of some of his employees.
He needed the mental fortitude to keep staff during downtime and rebound with integrity and trust. He said, “Don’t hire more staff than you need.” He learned—and suggests now—to have discipline in hiring.
Managing Periods of Plateau in Business
Businesses aspire to grow and expand in terms of people, services, and revenues. However, there might come a time when they’ll experience periods of a plateau in business. How do you go about scaling your company and reaching greater heights?
Erik focused on two things: retention and sales.
He believed it’s crucial to be realistic and honest with your team when your business encounters “water leaks.” You should be ready to face this challenge, lest you ignore it and soon get drowned in flood. He recommended working with your team and focusing on retaining clients.
Further, he talked about being robust in sales initiatives. He began his agency being hands-on with sales; however, he eventually hired three sales representatives specializing in digital marketing. He suggested being selective in recruitment to ensure you get premium salespeople.
Finally, Erik recommended creating repeatable processes that you can communicate with your team. Likewise, he also believed in training and empowering others to become leaders. These are ways to streamline your operations and scale your business.
Maintaining Cash Flow as an Agency
A company primarily exists to make money. However, it’s inevitable for businesses to experience cash-flow problems.
Erik had his fair share of financial challenges. His agency started earning and growing massive revenues until it plateaued for several years. Another specific challenge is falling short on payroll, which can be intimidating. That led him to seek lines of credit to address the cash-flow issue.
Financially, he recommended working with the right banking partner for scaling an agency. Case in point: He built solid relationships and worked with a small regional bank. As it understood his credit position, this bank helped him get back on track.
Harnessing the AI Power in the Search Industry
The last question on this interesting podcast was: What is one change you’d like search engines to make tomorrow?
With unwavering excitement in his voice, Erik introduced the topic of artificial intelligence. He mentioned they are leveraging AI advances for his agency’s day-to-day operations. He is excited to see AI’s progress and developments in business.
According to Erik, the name of the game today is searching for information and getting more of what you need (with a lot of fluff). He envisions that AI will give precisely what you need, and users will empower themselves to make prompts. And that will be a breath of fresh air in the search industry!
According to Erik, there’s no magic bullet to scaling and growing an agency. He went on to debunk YouTubers who claimed it’s easy to start a business and make money in the long run. Instead, he underscored the hard work required—and everything in between—that leads a company to its growth potential.
To Erik, the secrets to business success are these: “Working hard, making small improvements, and leveraging (and empowering) your people.” And these encapsulate what scaling an agency means.
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