To understand me is to know I'm big on productivity and using tools to improve efficiency, communications, automation, and more in my agency business. But I've also learned that you can be over-leveraged in this department AND it can be costly.
Take my chat this past week with a friend. We had a great Zoom conversation about business and starting an agency. He's interested in starting a new digital marketing agency focused on a specific niche or vertical.
But one of the items that struck was that (and I don't know what the name of this tool or solution is) he had invested in this tool that was supposed to do ‘all this stuff'. He had actually hired or got help to even figure out this tool. It sounded very complicated.
This tool sounded like it was pitched to basically run the perfect agency or business. “These are ALL the things you need! From automation, email, marketing, helping clients.. this thing does EVERYTHING.”
But the problem is there's a high cost of entry and you don't need it. You have no business, no clients.. no traffic. Not even a website or brand! The only one who has the benefit is the person that sold you the tool. 😉
I could tell the shift and a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders when I gave him some advice on this.
He asked me, “What do I need to get started?”.
My reply was 2 things. And one could argue you don't even need to get that fancy with these two things.
NUMBER 1 – A Way to Collect Money
I use Freshbooks (have since I started my agency – not a big investment), but you don't even have to invest in a tool. You could just create a simple invoice or email you send and then collect payment through PayPal in the beginning.
The point here is you don't need to get fancy to collect money from clients when starting out. 😉
NUMBER 2 – A Domain & Website
And of course you'd want to choose a name for your agency, but honestly.. no reason you couldn't just pick something and change it later.
And by website, I just mean a destination to a place where you have content about what you do and any other info that could help close a sale you have on hand today.
Go get business!
Forget about what you got above.. just go get business. Whether that's on foot, door to door .. or through advertising, word of mouth. You go get business!
GET YOUR FIRST CLIENT!
Then.. take care of them. Get another and another.
EXPAND as Your Needs Expand
Even at this stage of my business (over 2 years in) I still didn't have a way for people to contact me 24/7, 7 days a week. It was never requested or needed. Or was taken care of by my partners or in other ways.
You know what? I just signed a client this past week where we do need to implement this. And with that I'm going to add a chatbot to my sites. (still working on this.. but this is the plan)
We're going to soon have the ability for anyone, for any reason, to contact us at any time of day 365 days a year.
It is an investment, but it's justified and we're ready for it.
Protect Your Costs
A big part of this too is protecting your costs.. not letting them get out of control. Especially in the beginning.
I'm always assessing what tools we're using to make sure we still need them too. We just canceled a tool/service after I asked my VA a simple question, “Are we using it?”. The answer was ‘no'. 😉
Keep It Simple – Go Get Business First
You shouldn't be putting the cart before the horse as they say.
Why are you going to spend so much time, energy, headaches, money on tools or services.. when you don't have any traffic or deal flow? To me, that's just common sense.
Don't be so fancy in choosing your productivity tools 😉