Let's wrap up the year with a look back at our greatest hits on this newsletter.

Have a scan through for any you missed, or would like to read and reflect on again as you think about 2024...

(and at the end, there's a reminder of the festive offer for Agency Espresso subscribers to get access to much more of what I can do for you and your agency)

Particularly relevant and timely for the year that was 2023

In social science, agency is defined as "the capacity of individuals to have the power and resources to fulfil their potential." And so, as a founder, we should design our agency to give us agency.

Everything has a natural state, and will default to that direction — unless we act to change it. Like gravity. Accepting this, and designing the action and making it normal, is what is game-changing.

You need to choose your wheels for the terrain.

Tough years can feel like going round in circles, but really they are spirals, and you're in a better place than you think.

Bossing It

I did a whole series on how I hated the idea of being a boss in my first agency, so pretty much abdicated the role, which led to a mess. I then gradually learned to take on the role, by:

Agency Evolution

I published a series on how to make innovation and internal projects work more effectively in an agency delivery more value, including:

  • Problems are your friend. Actively seeking out problems as 'puzzles to be solved' will focus you on where the greatest value lies.
  • Slow down to go faster. Limiting work in progress is the key to actually finishing internal projects, rather than them dragging on.

And then I launched a free 10-part email course to bring more in-depth insights on this topic for those who want to put it into action.

And finally...

Just recently I've been doing a series of quick thoughts around the 5 elements of my SPARK framework for AgencyOps. Those have been over the last few weeks so are probably fresher in your mind, but if you want a reminder you can find them on our website.

But to finish off this roundup of the year in Agency Espresso, here's what Shaun the Sheep can teach us about running agencies.

New year offer

If you like what's in Agency Espresso each week, remember that it's just a really quick thought to start the week. A glimpse into how I think about agency ownership and leadership.

You can go much deeper into the ideas, practical guides, and toolkits that I've developed for running agencies in the Agency Leaders Playbook — the missing manual for agency founders. Becoming a member of the Playbook also gets you access to events with me too, to help you put the ideas into action.

The price goes up substantially on new year's eve to reflect the growing value of what's in the playbook. If you become a member before then, you lock in the 2023 price of £225/month. It will never be this price again, as we don't do discounts. So this is the best offer.

Added to which, as an Agency Espresso subscriber, you'll get a double bonus:

  • a place at my next masterclass session on how you as the founder can steer your team to understand client decision hesitancy, and begin to unfreeze or speed up your pipeline.
  • a 'clarity call' with me — which is usually £450 — for free. It can be scheduled in January or February, to help you get clarity on your thinking, your strategy and your goals for the year.

It also comes with my personal guarantee (see last week's email for details).

Start 2024 by getting this powerpack for your agency and your leadership. Join the Agency Leaders Playbook now.

Happy new year

I hope you've had a great time with your family and friends over Christmas, and I wish you a happy new year.

2024 will be the year to step up leadership of your agency, and your market. Clients need you to show them where to go next, and how to get there.

Be bold, be ambitious, be wise.

Build a healthy agency that gives you a great life.