What’s holding your agency back?

What barriers are holding your agency back?

When your agency growth stalls you know you have a problem, but spotting the barriers to growth (and fixing them) is not as easy when it’s your own business. You can be too close to things to get a grip of what is holding your agency back.

Here’s a thread of 16 common barriers to agency growth. Do any of these loo familiar to you? Are they holding your agency back? Can you think of any more?

1. You’re not charging enough – Your prices don’t reflect the work you are doing and/or the value you deliver.

2. You’re not efficient enough – Your prices might be high enough, but you’re not delivering the work efficiently enough for it to be profitable.

3. You have too many people – You might be growing revenue, but your profitability is low as you are over staffed. 

4. You have the wrong people – Good people in the wrong roles or not-so-good people causing you a problem. 

5. You don’t have enough people – You can’t deliver the work and/or are making mistakes and letting clients down. 

6. You don’t have enough clients and/or work – Simple. What are you going to do about it? 

7. You have too many (small) clients – An agency only needs about 12 clients to be successful, but those clients need to have decent budgets and a regular need for your services. Too many clients can be as problematic as too few. 

8. You have one huge client – You have a whale client that takes all your time, focus and resources.  

9. You’re losing clients as fast as you’re gaining them – Either you had the wrong clients in the first place, or you’re not delivering for them (or both) 

10. You’re not focused on the agency enough – You’re bored or too easily distracted. You probably have other business interests that are taking up your focus and efforts. 

11. You’re not well positioned – You’re not clear on what you do and who you work for, so you don’t attract clients to work with you. 

12. Your value proposition is not strong enough – You can’t covert prospective clients. You don’t answer the question “why should people work with you?” 

13. You’re in your own way – You’re the agency owner trying to do everything (and failing). You don’t delegate enough or you’re taking on too much. You’re a bottle neck. 

14. You’re taking too much income from the business – You’re not reinvesting in the business. If you own a small agency and you’re earning more than £50k a year this might be you.

15. You work on projects – You experience feast or famine. You don’t have enough consistent, regular work.  

16. You offer too many services – You are trying to sell too many things. 


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Gareth Healey