2024 will come and go. If you want it to be the year things begin to change for you and your agency, pick a few items from this list and pursue them zealously. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
1. Stop doing things that don’t work.
It sounds trite, but every time you or one of your people say one of these things:
- “I worked hard all week and didn’t get anything done.”
- “I don’t understand why we do this.”
- “Customers keep complaining about this.”
- “This is always stressful and never gets done right.”
it means something is preventing you from being incredible. Eliminate it, automate it, or outsource it.
2. Have bi-weekly 1:1s with your employees.
Your customers will never be more satisfied than your employees. Make it your top priority to be available for each direct report once every two weeks.
Don’t make it about performance!
This is their chance to talk about how they’re doing, express their needs, and–most importantly–tell you what you’re doing that’s making them slow or stressed out. And if you’re wise, that’s the information you should crave above all else.
3. Talk to your customers. A lot. Forever.
Stop letting your competitors tell you what will work with your customers. Instead, make 30% of your time customer-facing. (Or share the load with a team member.)
A few hundred meetings per year later, you’ll look exactly like what your customers want. It’s where you’ll get your most transformational ideas. And the increased Customer Lifetime Value will make you fulfilled and wealthy for years or decades to come.
4. Figure out your ICP.
You have an Ideal Customer Profile. They’re the ones positioned at the intersection of what you do best and what they need most. They appreciate the value you provide. They’ll tend to stick with you and give you all of their business and their referrals.
Focus your prospecting on finding and acquiring these customers. Then, have a playbook for optimizing the relationships and keeping them forever.
5. Tune your playbooks.
Every customer interaction, positive or negative, should add to your knowledge of how to be an incredible agency.
Figure out which customer interactions are repeatable and build playbooks around them. Then, update them regularly with the newest, best approach.
6. Compete with yourself.
Your competitors mean nothing. They’re out of your control. Talking about them makes you look weak. And trying to keep up with them traps you in second place. Plus, it takes the focus off of the customer.
But you have all the dirt on the 2023 version of your agency–everything that isn’t awesome. And you have the power to fix or improve all of it.
If 2025 crushes 2023, your competitors will long since have vanished into your rearview mirror.
Your life, your schedule, your environment, and your mind are too busy. You need to be able to optimize yourself for your most important efforts. Things that only you can do. Things that stretch you and force you to think strategically. To think hard things and innovate.
You can’t do that if you’re trapped in chaos. Start letting go of things.
The version of you that’s much more successful than you are now will not be doing the things you are doing now.
8. Do the math.
How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer?
How much is a customer worth to you over the lifetime of the relationship?
If you don’t know those two things (Customer Acquisition Cost and Customer Lifetime Value), you’re swinging a bat blindfolded.
You need to understand which of your marketing activities produce the most profit and long-term market share. Then, focus on those activities.
9. Optimize Market Share vs. Profitability.
You can have a ton of customers and make no money.
And you can have high-profit margins but not much business.
You’ve got to get the right balance of these two things. Most agents I talk to obsess over getting more customers, even if it means losing money on massive customer churn.
The more profit you have, the more you can invest in getting more of the right customers and improving your agency’s talent and capabilities.
10. Focus on the journey.
This isn’t a cliche or a platitude. It’s how you’re neurochemically wired. Your dopaminergic system exists to help you pursue things. Once you’ve got them, the dopamine boost ends.
And besides, it’s in the pursuit that you change, grow, and become a better, more capable person.
- You don’t become a perfect leader, you pursue it.
- You don’t become a perfect entrepreneur, you pursue it.
- You don’t become a perfect spouse or parent, you pursue it.
These are all lifetime (or at least career-long) journeys with no destination. And thank goodness for that. Who wants to get to the top and have nowhere else to go?
The journey is the best part. Savor it. Relish it. Be grateful for it. Even the hard parts. (They matter the most.)