The agency is ready to take the steps to become independent from its founders, with a full leadership team and management structure, a clearer culture and solid processes.

Characteristics of the smarten-up stage

  • You reach 30(ish) people
  • Things start to get chaotic again, with the CEO and other management feeling like they're juggling way too many balls and starting to lose track.
  • There are too many client projects for one person to keep across everything.
  • Internal issues come up more, with greater impact. People get frustrated.
  • The culture might feel fragile.
  • You've been making good money, but margins may have been eroded.

Common mistakes at the smarten-up stage