Greatest hits: Top takeaways for agency owners from our virtual summit, Bandwidth

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We’re so glad you had the bandwidth to join us at our free virtual summit for agencies. We couldn't have asked for a better bunch of people to attend, so from all of us here at Teamwork, thank you for taking part!

We kicked off our virtual summit with powerful and awe-inspiring words from New York Times bestselling author of Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, Gary John Bishop. We were then joined by multiple incredible guest speakers who shared all of the practical tools, tips, and tricks your agency needs to get more productive and profitable. 

For those of you who couldn't join us, don't worry—we’ve got you covered with this post! Let’s get into some of the best and most notable moments from throughout the event in case you missed it. 

We’ve made it easy to watch all of the Bandwidth sessions on-demand. Just head over here and sign up to receive the access link and you’re in!

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Get out of your own way with Gary John Bishop

Gary left us all with our jaws on the floor as he spoke about his life-changing work and the role personal development plays in professional success. There were many takeaways from this epic keynote, and we all walked away feeling incredibly inspired and ready to tackle our biggest obstacles (at work, and in life).  Here’s a look at what stood out the most:

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Takeaway #1: Lead authentically

If you want to lead with greatness there's only one way to do so—and that’s authentically. This means acknowledging your mistakes and being strong and courageous enough to correct them.

As an agency leader, you must be able to tell yourself the truth and be authentic with yourself. Why? Because any inauthenticity within yourself will actually start to show up throughout your organization.

Being true to yourself as a person and as a leader is largely intertwined with fear. Gary shared that we must continue to go beyond our fears and constraints if we want to lead authentically because every business in the world is grounded in the fears of the person who started it.

Takeaway #2: Your growth as an organization is intrinsically linked to your personal growth

If you want to be an effective leader you need to begin the process of self-mastery. You can’t reach new levels of performance and do the old you. 

We might not think that our personal development has an impact on our teams or organization, but they go hand-in-hand. As much as we'd like to think that we can separate the two, if you want to grow your organization you've got to turn inwards too. As Gary said:

“You cannot be up to big things in life and do it comfortably—the old you can't survive this process. You need to keep reinventing and going deeper. Keep going beyond the constraints of who you've become.”

Find out what’s holding your agency back with Brooke Sellas

Brooke B. Sellas, CEO and Founder of the award-winning digital marketing agency, B Squared Media, kicked off the session by taking us through five of the most common issues that hold agencies back:

  1. Lack of communication

  2. No software for the organization of resources

  3. Leaving billable hours on the table

  4. No automation or systemization of processes

  5. Not being selective about clients you choose to work with

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Takeaway #1: Communication should be worked into your core values 

Brooke shared that as a business owner or leader, you hold the power to weave strong communication into your agency's values. If you do this from the start, your team and clients will intrinsically understand how important communication is from the get-go. 

One of Brooke’s tips for keeping the lines of communication open? Leave words of encouragement on tasks or assignments at least once a day. This lets people know that you're watching, listening and that you truly care and value their work. Giving your team these small but impactful words of encouragement can make a big difference in lifting them up.

Takeaway #2:

Know your outputs, inputs, and operations

When it comes to managing processes at agencies, Brooke called out these three key areas of focus: 

  1. Outputs: These are any of the outputs you produce that help you make money. Think about all of the processes that you have for your outputs and then figure out how to make templates for them. The best processes are repeatable, transferable, and measurable

  2. Inputs: These are the supporting tasks that don't necessarily make you money. Often business owners and leaders underestimate the importance of the inputs and focus primarily on the outputs–but inputs are what get the wheels turning.

  3. Operations: This is where the coordination of the inputs and outputs takes place, planning, monitoring, and overseeing everything that runs your business.

Decide when to grow your team during our panel

At our first fireside chat, we were joined by agency pros Asia Orangio, Founder, CEO, CSO, Demand Maven, Brittany Bosco, Founder and Creative Director, SLUG Global and Paula Celestino, Founder, SPRK, who shed light on when it might be time to scale your team and how to keep them on-board for longer.

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Takeaway #1: Diversity should play a key role in your hiring process

As all three of our panelists echoed throughout the conversation, if you aren’t building a diverse team, you’re missing out. Asia also spoke about how diversity in mindset, ideas, and thought improves the way your team functions, thinks and works together, which is critical for any agency that is looking to make a splash and get creative.

Paula also added that agency owners who aren’t focused on diversity are missing out on opportunities, not only to acquire new clients but also in the work that you’re producing to reach audiences. Paula started her first agency 15 years ago with her sister, and at the time, female predominant agencies were not as common as they are now. They capitalized on that opportunity and realized that by being a diverse agency they were able to bring their clients a lot of value. 

Brittany spoke to the importance of understanding the true DNA of who you’re speaking to when running an agency. “We bridge the gap between the client and the community. We’re able to be a liaison and speak for them and speak authentically to our core audience. If you don't have diversity, then you can't hold people accountable for the correct information that's being distributed.”

Takeaway #2: Keeping the right people on your team comes down to truly caring 

Brittany kicked this off by sharing that her team at SLUG Global is like a family—she keeps them feeling seen by truly caring for them and their overall well-being. One of the ways she delivers on this is by offering mental health days for her team when they need it. 

Asia told us that her leadership style is what keeps people staying on her team. According to Asia, she cares greatly and challenges directly. Asia thinks of herself as more of a “spirit guide” as opposed to a boss and this means she only steps in when it's time to course-correct.

Paula talked to us about the importance of knowing each team member's needs and what their goals are in relation to their career path. When you know what each individual wants, then you can carry them through that path and this is why people stay.

Get set up for profitability with Steph Hermanson

If you weren’t excited about numbers before listening to Steph Hermanson, you were after listening in! As Chief Revenue Officer at Atomic Revenue, Steph led this session with fun and finesse, leaning on her more than 10 years of experience as a globally recognized revenue operations leader. 

Did you know that only 40% of small businesses in the US are profitable, 30% lose money continually, and 30% break even? Here are Steph’s top takeaways for being a part of the less than half of small businesses in the US that are profitable:


Bandwidth: Are you set up for profitability

Takeaway #1: Know your three profit types: Gross, operating, and net

These three types of profit should be what you’re tracking in your business:

  1. Gross profit = Net sales - the costs of goods sold

  2. Operating profit = Gross profit - selling and admin expenses

  3. Net profit aka “the bottom line” = Operating profit (+ any other income) - any additional expenses - taxes

Now, what’s a good gross, operating, or net profit you might ask? Steph says, this does vary quite a bit within the industry, but as a general rule of thumb, marketing agency profitability is typically anywhere from 10-20%.

Takeaway #2: Review your sales, operating profit, and cash numbers, weekly

Steph shared a great quote from Marcus Lemonis that highlights this: “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.”

Agency owners can get away with reviewing numbers like gross and net profit here and there. However, you’ll need to know if sales are on track, if you’re operating within margins or operating profitability, and how much cash is on hand—weekly! Things happen. Businesses fluctuate and you can’t make the best decisions to set yourself up for profitability without these key factors.

Learn when to ditch your current client during our fireside chat

Perhaps our most talked-about session was our fireside chat featuring Elizabeth M’balu Oke, President, PivotPath, Gabriel Marguiglio, CEO and Founder, Nextiny Marketing, and Talia Wolf, Founder, GetUplift. They spoke about how to identify when it’s time to say goodbye to a client, and tips for (gracefully) breaking things off, too.

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Takeaway #1: Identify clients that aren’t a good fit from the get-go

While the panel acknowledged being selective about what clients you take on really does depend on what stage your agency is at, the group unanimously agreed that it's always best to identify potential problem clients at the start of the process. Pay close attention to communication during the sales process. Is there already a lot of pushback? Are you not aligning in more ways than one? Do they add to your values and your mission? If not, they may not be the best fit for a client, and will likely continue to pose problems so long as you’re in business together.

Takeaway #2: The only risk to not letting a problem client go, is not doing it

Talia kicked things off with the question: What is the biggest risk involved with letting a client go? With a much-praised response: “The only risk is not doing it at all.” The panel at large couldn’t agree more. If you’re thinking about letting a client go, you already have your answer. When a client becomes more of a problem than a partner, everything within your agency is affected–communication, delivery, employee happiness, and so much more. And if you do choose to let them go, be direct, lead with compassion, and know that it's best for both parties. 

Find out how Teamwork can help your agency grow and scale

If you missed our surprise product demo, have no fear—we’ve got you covered here! If you’ve ever wondered whether using a project management platform like Teamwork is just the thing your agency needs, drop us a line, and a Teamwork Account Executive will work with you 1:1 to understand your workflow and provide solutions, just for you. In the meantime, here are a few takeaways you missed:

Takeaway #1: You need a project management platform to start you off with success

We “train the trainer,” training a cohort of your people to become experts at using the platform. We’ve found this to be incredibly valuable for agencies looking to scale and grow so user knowledge is passed on to new team members and no one gets left behind. Teamwork also does role-based training, training every member of your team to make sure all are up and running successfully so they can get into the (work)flow–fast and focus on what matters most. 

Takeaway #2: We streamline your workflow processes for ultimate productivity

We’re all about working smarter, not harder. Our agency clients love templates and our resource planner to help them achieve peak productivity. Teamwork has custom templates and pre-built ones for all kinds of client work. While our handy resource planner helps you understand the capacity of your team on a granular level, so you can make data-backed decisions as you grow and scale, all while ensuring employee happiness too! 

Getting your bandwidth back is easy, with just a little Teamwork

Whether it's getting out of your own way, getting your finances in order, kicking that troublesome client to the curb, or evaluating if it’s time to grow your #dreamteam, there’s really no better time than now to improve how your agency operates. And lucky for you, Teamwork is here to help.

We’re in your corner, cheering you on and helping you fix what’s holding your agency back from growing and scaling. You’ll start to see sweet success, happy employees, and happy clients. too. It’s time to face the elephant in the room—take a look at how your agency operates and plug in these power-plays shared by our amazing speakers and you’ll be well on your way!

P.S. Want more of the scoop on Bandwidth? Hoping to re-watch a certain session or tune in for the first time? Simply head over here and sign up to access all the content! 

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