A surprising number of highly successful agencies were founded in recessions.

So, if successful agencies can be built from nothing in tough times, then surely existing agencies have a head start to prosper. You already have clients, teams, reputation and cash — and chaotic periods are when clients need their (best) agencies most.

But the trouble is that founders are tired. Many feel overwhelmed by yet another wave of problems heading their way.

All the potential to prosper in the next year is there in your business right now, but perhaps your (and your agency's) inner fires could be burning brighter to make it happen.

That doesn't mean just 'thinking positively' or deciding to pray, it means seeing the problems ahead clearly and honestly — but having the mojo to take them on and win. Being a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of willpower.

How can you maximise that willpower? How can you relight your fire?

I think an agency's inner fire comes from having:

  • a clear and motivating purpose,
  • a healthy culture,
  • a strategy to focus that culture towards the purpose.

We've developed a simple tool to help agency founders think about this combination — the Pyramid of Purpose:

A pyramid with 5 layers showing from top to bottom, Purpose, Ambitions, Focus, Motivations, Behaviours
The Pyramid of Purpose for agencies. Could it be magic?

You could say this represents the entire job of an Agency CEO in one image. These are the bits that can't be delegated. They need regular effort from you personally in sensing them, defining them and communicating them. In fact, the more you can delegate everything else and focus on these, the better your agency will be.

If you feel that your spark could be burning brighter, then the solution is most often in one of the layers of the pyramid. Problems around the agency that keep you up all night, such as with the pipeline or staff turnover, are generally only symptoms of problems on the pyramid. If you fix the things on the pyramid, everything changes.

In the next few newsletters we'll delve into each layer and suggest ideas to reignite it in your agency. In a few weeks, your inner fire will be back for good.

This week, think about the pyramid of purpose and your agency. Do you already have an idea which layer will be the one you want to work on most? Which layer, if it burned more brightly, do you think would make you really fired up about leading your agency?


  • We're running workshops for agency CEOs to help them adopt the tools and practices to see further ahead for their agency. Horizon Scanning for Agencies will help you understand what risks, opportunities and trends are coming in the next few years, and track them, so you can not just prepare to respond, but prepare to make yourselves indispensable to your clients as a result.

    Because there are a lot of challenges coming down the track we wanted to make this workshop accessible to as many agency founders as possible, so we've made the price very affordable and are running multiple dates. Book your place now.
  • The workshop is free for Convivio paid subscribers, and that's just one of many benefits — including access to the Playbook, the Agency Radar, and our monthly office hours where you can pick our brains about your specific issues. Join now for only £225/mo.

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