Your agency has a problem if you get much beyond 10 souls and you're still the person who has to (or feels they have to) make sure everything is done right.

Early on after passing 10ish people you have to step up from being one of the team to being the leader of the team — from doing the work of the agency to designing the agency to do the work.

That is why I call it the Step-Up phase.

Last week I wrote about the need to recognise your promotion and leave behind the kind of work you did before.

A crucial next part of that change in your role is being able to take your nose out of the details.

You, as the founder/CEO, need to move from ensuring things in the agency are done right, to ensuring the agency is doing the right things.

Your focus then is on bigger issues like purpose, strategy and culture.

Instead of 'Have we done things right on this client's project?' you're asking 'Would it be right to pitch to this client?', 'Is this the right sector for us to target?', 'Should we continue working for that legacy client?', 'What would differentiate us from competitors?', 'What services should we be offering these clients?'

But to be able to do this, you need to be confident that the whole team will keep on doing things right without your daily attention.

At some stage that means having a trusted second in command. It means developing solid processes. It means nurturing a culture of caring about quality and professionalism.

If you still spend a lot of time worrying about your agency getting things right, then start the change this week by beginning to put these things in place.

This is a key part of shaping the agency, and your role, so you can fall back in love with running your agency again.

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Don't hire me

Hey, I'm Steve Parks. I've been an agency founder and then board member for years, but now recommend you don't hire me.

That's because, instead of just sitting on two or three boards, I want to help as many agency founders as possible.

To do that, my Convivio colleagues and I have spent the last year working to create the Virtual Advisory Board.

  • The Agency Leaders Playbook is the place to turn when you need answers and ideas as an owner and CEO. The missing reference manual on how to run a healthy agency business.
  • The Monthly Board Pack give you the agenda, guidance on running the meeting, and two briefings to run productive discussions and workshops on key issues. That way you get a steer on what to be thinking about and discussing at high altitude in the agency.
  • Agency Radar helps you see what's ahead that could affect your agency and its clients, so you can prepare for risks and see the opportunities.
  • Office Hours gives you a monthly chance to chat with me and other agency founders to discuss, get a steer and get support on what you're currently thinking about.
  • Plus there are workshops, book summaries, and more.

It's like having an incredibly supportive non-exec, but at 10% of the cost — because it's spread across more agencies.

Get your virtual advisory board now.

It's £225/mo, with no long-term commitment. It'd be daft not to try it eh? :)