Agency Acceleration Day: Top tips for running, and growing, a successful agency from BJL, Nice Agency & Epiphany chiefs

Agency Acceleration Day is a day focused on addressing all of the issues and challenges that growing agencies face, with a plethora of panellists offering their advice on how to manage a growing staff, finding the right talent, keeping clients happy and how you might one day leave your agency.

The Drum caught up with some of the day’s speakers and asked for their top tips on what it takes to run, and grow, a successful agency.

“Work hard and be nice to people,” advised Peter Dolukhanov, managing director, Nice Agency. “There’s a balance you have to bring to look after your clients and your staff while still doing quality work. It’s maybe easier to do that when you’re a smaller agency, but to scale that and keep that talent pool is really hard but really important in terms of growing the agency.”

Echoing his thoughts was Phil Jones, founder, real time consultancy. He said that ultimately people want to work for a decent person and advised managers to not get carried away with their own self-importance as an agency grows.

“I’ve seen it happen with people around me who are more junior but wanted people to think they were more senior. It’s important not to get carried away with your own importance. As you move up the ladders you have secretaries, and then you’ll get the secretaries to reply to letters. You lose contact with the day to day,” he said.

Rob Shaw, CEO Epiphany, and Tim Williams, founder, Ignition Consulting Group, both suggested that keeping staff in the loop on your business goals is essential.

“Run the business as if it is already the scale you hope it to be. It’s important to understand what your aspirations are and to start putting those best practice structures in place,” explained Shaw. “Beyond that it’s important to share your vision and plans with your teams, and find the time to communicate with everybody in a way that they’re going to be able to understand and personalise so that they can adjust their own objectives to meet your overall business aims.”

Finally, Nicky Unsworth, CEO and Founder, BJL Group, urged agency owners to be prepared to take risks.

“Naturally businesses become risk adverse, and a bit conservative, and yet business owners and agencies are entrepreneurial,” she said. “If you can find a way to channelling those risks, the great ideas that come through the business, and putting them in context and assessing what the risk might be and allowing them then to help the business thrive.”