Full Service Agency Vs Specialist


This question comes in from Thais and Thai says, I started my business in January 2020 with a focus on lead generation and finding new customers for my clients. I noticed there were enough agencies who are running Facebook and Google ads and doing some SVO. But not many agencies who are doing the whole strategy. From Web site, Tessio adds. Conversion optimization. Well, movement and analytics, all the analytics tools and running into CRM with good dashboards and reporting. There's too many specialties for one agency, in your opinion.

My first clients love the single point of contact. OK. So there's nothing wrong with doing this as a service provider ties the the issue you might run into in the future. Is that as you try to scale this beyond one or two clients, you just run. You spread yourself so thin that you can't really do this for more than one or two clients, because basically what you just described is the execution arm of the CMO role for these organizations.

That's basically the person who's in charge of all of marketing. If you're doing all that stuff, you are their CMO. And so you're you're taking on the role of a CMO. And there's very few organizations where one person could be the CMO for three, four or five different businesses. And so the problem ends up becoming that if you do really well for your first two clients, the third one, you might do well for them as well. But you're going to suffer. The other ones are going to suffer. You're not competing. Give them as much activity.

And so at some point, things break down and either you break down or the relationships break down because you just took on too much and you couldn't do anymore. And so usually the temptation that case is for somebody to hire employees or hire some people underneath them to take on certain things. So you might have one person who does the CRM, Paasschen, some person does reporting and you basically hire a specialist for each one.

And as you can probably imagine, if you hire those specialists, that goes from one person who's paying themselves a salary from the company's revenue to then having all these people on the payroll. And you need to have way more clients in order to do that. And so you basically need to have 50 clients instead of three and you need in order to support a team of 10 plus people. And so, yeah, it is it is a weird transition where as an individual you can do all these things. But if you want to take yourself out of the doing part, which is usually a very good business move for almost anybody, if you want to scale your business, you're basically trusting that other people, having to train them, taking yourself out of it. And then also having to float all those salaries in order to make sure you have an A team in place.

And so what you'll see often is that there's people like you who can do a lot of stuff and do a well, which I really call that a consultant, or there's somebody who's there's the true agencies which have 50 plus people like my agency, and they they offer more than one, you know, many services. And those many services have individual teams or teams of individuals or or, you know, teams of five people who do that area well. And they're sort of they have their own functional areas. And so it's a weird transition between a couple of people or just you. And having those 50 people. And oftentimes that's why you don't hear about a five person full service agency, because it's really hard for five people to be full service. And so you can be a full service consultant, which is which is sounds like what you are right now.

Or you can be a full service agency. But when nobody ever really talks about is that middle game where you go from you to having two people to having three, four or five, then to having 10, then to having all the way up to 50. And so this is where you see the advice all the time about niching down or choosing your niche niching down usually as somebody is advice for somebody like yourself who's doing a lot of hats. Just choose one thing to expand on where you can get good processes in place. You can get a team in place. So you're not having to hire 10 different roles because you just described 10 things you do. You just outsource it.

You just have you just focus only on the one role. So you are the one that's selling that role so that it is paid media or Facebook ads. And then you hire an understudy who's just the specialist who does all the work in paid media, Facebook ads, Google ads, whatever that is. Now, what's happening is you're selling one thing. You have a very clear message to people. You have one execution team that you can afford because you're not paying a 10 person team. You're paying just that one extra person. And you can go from, you know, three full service clients to to 10, 20 and not really break down nearly at the same level as if you were doing everything. And so that's where that niche down advice comes in.

And so I actually say I don't tell people they need a niche down unless their question is how do I how do y scale my revenue and profits of my business? Because my aspiration is to form an agency versus just doing it on my own. That's the only time that you'd want a niche down, is when you want to go from just yourself or you in an understudy to being something that can really get a lot of traction. And so my agency, what we did was we had a handful of people in the organization. I was number five that came in and. Then we basically built out teams are on each of the things we did, we built one around CRM, we built a team around paid search, one around SVO, and that's how we built the company from five to the 50 employees, was just fleshing out each one of those functional organizations. And the more we did it, the more we became more full service.

But we actually rejected the idea of full service for a long time. We said we're a niche agency. We are marketing automation and search marketing. That's basically what we did and focus only on those areas. And it wasn't until we saw the revenue opportunity where our client, again, saying that they want a single point of contact. It wasn't until that revenue opportunity became so great that every time we added a unit, we added a Web development unit, which we didn't have previously. But once we added that or we added content, creative copywriting, all those things, we actually got paid by those clients enough to hire those people. So we had the revenue pretty much guaranteed. And that's when we went to full service.

And so it's sort of a weird thing where I think everybody should start out as full service as they're capable of doing, because that shows you what you're good at, what you like to do, where you can get results. And it makes clients happy. But it is. But eventually, at some point, you probably want to go really focused for a little while so you can build up that one team and do a well. And then once you have that, you want to expand those client relationships into the things that you're either capable of doing or capable of hiring to do. And that's where you become full service again.

And so that middle game is really weird where, you know, between two, three, four, five or so people in the organization and the point where you decide to go full service are 20 people, 30 people, whatever it is, wherever it ends up being, you're going to find that you actually want to be specialized in the middle part and then eventually you can expand again because there's a lot of revenue there. And you have the economies of scale where you can afford to hire new employees and you can afford to invest in a team because the revenue will support that almost right away because of your relationships. And so hopefully that helps you understand what the difference differences between them.

There's nothing wrong with staying on your own the whole time and and just doing full service and having, let's call it three really good clients on retainers of four or five, six thousand dollars a month. Ten thousand dollars a month. That's a good living. Nothing wrong with that. I'll never tell you not to do that. But just know that if you want to aspire to go beyond that, you might need to actually be more focused for a little bit before you become more general again later in the game. All right. Hopefully that helps. Look forward to continuing to have these conversations well into the future ties.

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