Agencies, more than any other kind of company, are people businesses.

They rely on the knowledge and skills of their people to serve clients.

But that makes it easy to fall into a trap — depending on the people to make the business run.

Humans have good days and bad days. Days when they feel energised and days when they feel tired.

Humans get distracted, bored or forget things.

If your agency depends on people making everything run, you'll end up with the stereotypical rollercoaster ride.

A spike in new business activity when people get panicked about sales, then letting it drift once they get busy with delivery. Sudden rushes to recruit, then needing to let some people go. A spurt of growth for a year, then a stagnant year. Initial enthusiasm for a shiny new initiative, then forgetting about it.

That's the route to being a very frustrated founder. You have to use your own energy to push everything forward.

That's exhausting and unsustainable.

Healthy agencies are proactively designed to have their own engine that powers everything. Instead of using the founder's energy, the business has its own drive.

The machinery of routines, systems, automations, events, reviews, accountability and more.

Making everything happen when it should, driving the business forward.

Instead of spurts of speed then coasting, the agency's engine creates a continuous, dependable sustainable momentum.

Momentum is the M in the FLAME agency leadership framework. It's one of the things we need to focus on nurturing in our founder time.

So, this week, think about how you could build and tune the engine of your agency to provide momentum.

Here's some fuel for your thinking:

  • If you sketched out your agency as if it were a series of machines in a factory, what would that look like?
  • How could you make everyone's responsibilities and commitments in that process clearer, and more visible?
  • How could you automate doing some of the business tasks, or nudging for them to be done?
  • What are the useful (leading) metrics you can use to see all those machines are functioning well?
  • What could be your regular rhythm of scheduled activities to provide the drumbeat of the agency, with communication, reporting, accountability?
  • What do you personally keep having to make happen that could be designed into the engine of the agency?

You are not a machine, and your business shouldn't depend on your constant energy and attention as if you are.

Design your agency to be an engine instead.