Pricing Your Client's Rhythm of Value

Posted by JasonBlumer on May 19, 2016 in

I just had a great coaching session with a client where we were discussing how to price and the timing of sending invoices to your client. We talked through sending invoices on a project basis, every other week, and monthly. Like most agencies, this client would quote a client the cost of the whole project (e.g. "your project will be a total of $100,000.").The more we talked, the more we began focusing on the client. We discussed how they perceive the value they are receiving.Some great thoughts came out of this discussion:1. You don't actually have to tell a client how much a project costs in total. You may be able to just say "the investment will be $25,000 per month." Of course, the client can figure out how much that will be in total if you tell them how many months you expect the project to last. But…

Applying Structure to Your Growth

Posted by JasonBlumer on May 17, 2016 in

So you want to grow now? Very cool. It's important to know what you've agreed to as you embark on the journey to scale up your company. Growth means you want to offer services beyond what you can personally deliver on your own. That means you will need a team to do the work for you, while you focus on growing the business. Growing a business is a full time job, as you learn to focus on bringing in consistent revenue, and applying structure to your growth.What is this 'structure' I'm speaking of? The structure is like the scaffolding to your growth. You set the scaffolding up to keep everyone safe as you build a bigger building, a bigger company. But the scaffolding is not always welcomed when you are going from a 'loose, fun, cool' environment in your company to a 'defined, clear, purposed' environment. Some team members…

Does It Get Harder Before It Gets Better?

Posted by JasonBlumer on May 6, 2016 in

Does it get harder (worse) before it gets better?That is a question I'm posing because I'm not sure. I believe the answer is yes.I have two businesses that are in transition right now. You wouldn't know it from the outside, but people close to me know the changes we are going through, or preparing for. I'm getting a lot of counsel right now. This time of transition isn't changing our whole company, but really changing the people closest to me in my businesses (like my business partner and my wife). While I desperately want what these transitions promise (peace, lighter schedules, time to think and read, etc.), it seems like I'm about to get busier. My partner and I are in the process of documenting our company's processes, our bigger visions, and how each other works. We are trying to find efficient ways to work smarter, and get…

Purpose and Core Values While Serving Agencies

Posted by JasonBlumer on May 2, 2016 in

Our firm has been operating with a purpose and core values for a while now, and it's hard to know what it would be like without the direction of these two simple ideals.Our purpose, also known as a mission statement, is We turn agency owners into mature business owners. This simple statement helps us to know which client is right for our firm, the things we should be selling to firms, and what business we are not in.Our core values are how we live out our purpose on a daily basis. As Coca Cola puts it, they serve as a compass for our actions. You only need 5 to 7 core values to make them effective. Here are our firm's core values:Experimental - we believe the organization that embraces change can become a premier organization. We would rather you try something new and mess up, than do nothing.Authenticity…

Your Niche is "Businesses With Cash" (or How To Safely Implement Serving a Niche)

Posted by JasonBlumer on Apr 28, 2016 in

Let's explore what a niche is. I guess a niche could be anything, but frankly there are some stupid niches. If your niche is "Clients Who Repair Mars Rover Vehicles" then you are going to go broke. It's not a broad enough market for you to serve.It seems obvious, but it's important to first define your niche as "People with Cash." When discussing a niche, most of the time we focus on the horizontal (the limited services you offer) or the vertical (the limited industry you serve). But if I had a preference, I want to focus on industries or offer services to people that have the ability to make a lot of money.When clients have a lot of money in the bank, they have an uncanny ability to find you more valuable than people with no money. Make sense?So you need to ask these three…

ReBuilding a Technical Process

Posted by JasonBlumer on Apr 19, 2016 in

Similar to our clients, our firm has a technical process that is difficult to wrangle. Our design and agency clients have technical processes that involve design and development. One of our internal technical processes is related to tax. I want to explore how we are working through the difficulties of our technical process, but first let me ask 'what makes a process technical?'1. A person with specific technical abilities has to complete the process (or at least a large share of it). You can't just delegate it to anyone.2. There is some level of difficulty in trying to understand the work being completed. A technical process manages a hard thing that only certain people can understand.3. It's often not easily understood by clients. Frankly, its not their job to understand it, but still, misunderstandings from clients is sometimesa reason why a technical process is hard to manage.4.…

Becoming Aware of Your Lenses

Posted by JasonBlumer on Apr 11, 2016 in

I was reading a book from a Christian psychologist recently and he made two profound statements about humans that affect how we view the world:1. As humans, we were made to make sense of the world around us. Thus, we are always responding to our world from our interpretation of the facts, not necessarily the facts themselves.2. We are our own biggest influencers of the sense we make of the world around us, because we are always preaching to ourselves.As I interpret these statements for myself, I see that I live in this world with lenses on. It's okay. We all do it. In fact, we have to do it if we are to make sense of what we see day to day. But it is very important to know exactly what types of lenses we have on. If we are unaware of the lenses we view our world…

Whom You Serve Dictates How You Serve

Posted by JasonBlumer on Apr 5, 2016 in

We all get into habits of taking clients just for the cash flow. This can work short term, but eventually growing agencies or firms must create specific intentionalplans for how they will grow. Once you have a team and are relying on them to serve your customers, you will find that accidental growth will bite you in the butt. This is because subjecting your team to serving the wrong clients, or arbitrary clients, confuses your service processes and makes your team wonder what the purpose of each client is. A strong team needs to align a client with some type of espoused internal purpose.In particular, you lock your company into old, broken, or ineffective service models when you allow your company to serve just anybody. If you fail to be strategic about the clients you keep on your client roster, they will ultimately dictate how you serve…

No One Has it Figured Out (Interview on the Matt Report)

Posted by JasonBlumer on Mar 31, 2016 in

I was excited to be interviewed on the Matt Report podcast recently, andwe talked about how to build a design agency. The conversation eventually got to how this web/design profession reveres other agencies. The design/agency world is very shiny, and everything looks very pretty. Nice brands, websites, and wonderful web copy. But these don't build a business. They are part of how you sell, but running a business is much more complicated than the exterior paint.Few build agencies well because it is so complex.Instead of talking about how to build an agency, let's just remember that no one has it figured out. In fact, running a good business means you are operating in an experimental way. You are trying new things, experimenting with new services, and seeking to increase your value (and prices). Some things work, others do not. That is how you build…

A Letter to Myself When I Was 32

Posted by JasonBlumer on Mar 22, 2016 in

I'm coming up on 13 years of leading my firm, and at 45 years old I've learned a thing or two about running a business. I started running the firm when I was 32, and I thought it would be fun to write myself a letter with advice and encouragement about what's ahead.Jason,Congratulations on taking the leap to run your own company. I know you've wanted to do this many times before, but your wife was right - you weren't ready until now. The excitement you feel today doesn't ever really go away because every day is a new frontier. Everyday is a new challenge, just the thing you were made to enjoy. There will be hard times ahead, but those will be offset with exciting wins for your firm. And they will come when you least expect them.There were a few things you did right, but you…