Has your agency reached a plateau? Fortunately, there are ways to reignite your business and regain momentum. Here are some remarkably simple and practical ways to get your agency moving.
Take a time-out
One of the best ways to recharge your batteries is to spend time away from the agency. While no two agency owners are exactly the same, it’s a safe bet that nearly all of them are workaholics to some degree. Time away, even short breaks, are sometimes needed to clear your head, restore your energy and look at your business in new ways.
Take a new direction
Have you ever redecorated a room in your home and felt renewed (at least once the hard work was over)? There’s a feeling of satisfaction when you make simple changes, and they often motivate people to make other changes. It may be time to renovate your business and practices. A good way to start is by taking a long look at your customers’ needs. That’s especially important if your agency has been in business for a long time, because your market may have changed. Often, communities and customers change slowly over time, and those changes happen so subtly that businesses may not notice them.
If your products and services are still working, you may want to consider exploring new marketing opportunities. Perhaps direct mail or cable television will help you reach out to new prospects. Or you may want to plan an active role in networking groups or community organizations such as service groups and the Chamber of Commerce. The opportunities are endless, so identify those that appeal to you and try one or two.
Another way to get ideas for your agency is to look at successful businesses outside your industry. You can identify a company that impresses you and study what it has done to achieve success.
Align with partners
If you feel that your agency can’t move past certain limitations, it may be time to consider bringing your business together with others. One obvious example with that is a merger with or acquisition of another agency in your community or a nearby town. By combining forces, you can increase your potential for revenue while taking advantage of economies to trim your operating costs (for example, paying rent for one office instead of two).
Another approach that may be worth examining is combining or aligning your agency with another business that is not a competitor, but that actually provides services that are complementary with yours and promote cross-selling. Examples of those businesses include financial planners, attorneys, accountants, and Realtors. You may be able to trim operating costs by sharing office space and administrative staff, and to build revenues by developing relationships with the other professionals’ clients.
Infuse new energy
Most savvy business owners are wary of “throwing money” at a problem, and even more hesitant to “throw people” at needs by adding to their companies’ staffs. However, bolstering your team by hiring the right people can give your agency a powerful shot of energy and resources.
Bringing new blood into an agency tends to pay off in two ways. First, there’s the additional productivity or revenue that the new employee tends to generate. But just as important is the emotional impact that someone new can create. That person’s enthusiasm tends to be contagious, bringing renewed energy to everyone else at the agency (including you).
Make an investment
As an agency owner, one of the first considerations whenever you think about changing something is whether you can afford to do so. Even if you know an initiative would benefit your productivity and profitability, you may look at your current income statement and wonder how you can make that possible. But it’s important to shift your thinking so you view such moves as investments in the long-term value of your business, rather than as short-term expenses that hurt profitability. It’s true that making a significant change may cause you to tighten your belt for a few months, but the long-term benefits should more than reward you for making the change.