4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Grow Your Business with IntentionalityMar 06, 2023
Q1 is a great time to evaluate not only personal habits and goals but for owners and leaders, business practices as well. However, we aren’t talking about just cracking open the books to audit profitability and client successes.
We have the pleasure of working with agency owners daily and have come to learn that many are not happy with the current state of their agencies. Even with the support of incredible teams, many owners feel like their agency is running them instead of the other way around. We’ve transformed numerous agencies from chaos into highly-valuable business assets that allow owners and founders to operate in a role they enjoy.
These are a few of the top reflective questions we love to ask agency owners to support them in building a business they truly love and creating an operational strategy specific to their goals.
What would I do differently in my business if no one was watching?
This question helps owners identify what they’re doing because it’s what they “should” versus what they feel is best for their business, themselves, and their employees. We often see agency owners implementing practices based on what agencies have traditionally done or are currently doing. While we can always learn from others, sometimes, it’s essential to put on blinders and create practices that align with the agency's core values and goals. This is also a question that helps owners think outside of the box and imagine their dream business.
What are the projects I'd take on and be happy executing, even if they didn't generate revenue?
Most founders started their businesses out of passion but often find that somewhere along the way the joy was lost and replaced by stress. This question is designed to be a compass for joy and identify what sparks passion and energy in the business.
Typically, in business, if something doesn’t generate revenue, it’s considered a "failure.” However, we’ve found that passion projects can lead to increased awareness, new leads, an expanded network, and at the very least, valuable learning to continue propelling the company forward. This is where it’s key to think long-term. Sure, a revenue-generating project may increase the profitability of the agency this month, but what is that project doing for long-term growth? A balance of both is key.
Where is the white space and how can we capitalize on it?
In the last few years, we’ve seen a steady increase in professionals quitting their jobs to become entrepreneurs. New agencies are opening left and right, and the creative agency industry is extremely saturated. However, there’s still room for everyone to succeed.
The agencies we work with who have the biggest leg up on their competitors focus on the white space. This may mean specializing in a trend early before others jump on board, or perhaps serving an entirely new industry that is being overlooked. Success becomes significantly easier when you focus on white space as opposed to trying to stand out in overly saturated spaces within the industry.
Do I enjoy where I'm spending my time every week?
While this may sound simple, a surprising number of people can’t say yes to this question. In agencies, client work comes first, and sometimes that’s at the expense of our business and happiness. We are certainly not suggesting that all client work be put on the back burner, but there are some steps owners can take to evaluate how they are spending their time.
First, track your time. Most agencies track time to determine the profitability of client work, but we recommend spending a few weeks analyzing whether those tracked tasks are enjoyable. If the answer isn’t yes to at least 50 percent of activities, it’s time to make a change. If writing is where an agency owner finds joy, but they are spending most of their time running meetings, let’s have someone else run three of those meetings each week and make space for writing op-eds that will position the agency as a thought leader within their area of expertise. If public speaking sparks joy, but 90 percent of current activities require sitting behind a computer, make speaking engagements part of the agency’s new client acquisition plan for the coming year. There are countless ways to achieve success and enjoying the time spent working towards the end goal makes the process not only enjoyable, but sustainable, and often more successful.
When owners ask themselves these questions and become crystal clear on their vision, they can take action towards growing their business and their personal roles intentionally.