"The best time to start an agency is in a recession," someone said to me this week.

I've heard this a lot before. It's true that many agencies do get started in a recession — because that's when people get laid off from corporate jobs — but that doesn't mean it's a better time than any other.

There is a perception among seasoned founders, though, that it'd be so great to start with a blank page again — making decisions without all the responsibility and legacy factors to contend with. Being a small nimble startup, rather than having to consider dozens of staff members, five-year leases, and long term relationships with existing clients. Can you feel the freedom in those words?!

But an existing agency has massive advantages over a new startup: reputation, relationships, a team, ways of working, financial reserves and so on. That is the best place to start from.

Every business needs regular rethinking and redesigning, and it's possible to re-inject that startup freedom and energy without starting from scratch. Jeff Bezos famously says "It's always day one," and he's done okay for himself.

So this week, think about the agency you would design if you were starting up now. What would be your market, and your offer? What would you charge, and how?What roles would you hire? How would you win clients? What would your culture be? And so on.

Then compare that fresh start business to your current agency. Could you make some of those changes, or use some of those ideas, now?

Make this discussion the focus of your next advisory board meeting. What does your agency's new day one look like?

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Agency Advisory Boards

I'm on a mission to help agency owners fall in love with leading their agencies again.

The first step is having an effective agency advisory board, to support the founder-CEO, and bring some of this fresh, blank page thinking.

We do this at three levels, depending on the stage the agency is at:

  • Virtual advisory board — with guidance, workshops and briefings to help you do it yourself. Great if you already have an advisory board, or are a small agency wanting to start one. This is a low monthly fee to be accessible to all agencies.
  • Shared advisory board — getting a group of agencies together to share the costs of a fully-facilitated advisory board.
  • Dedicated advisory board — a fully-facilitated advisory board just for your agency.

Find out more, and get started with a highly effective advisory board.