Say No! S1EP2 with Ian Finch (Mando)

Show notes



Mando are Microsoft technology specialists, Episerver, Sitecore, and Azure, at the heart of the work. And they focus on regulating industries. They weren’t always deep specialists, and it took them the last seven years to transition. In the process, the agency lost almost two million pound turnover, because they needed to get rid of the distractions. Making tough decisions to let clients and team members go, were at the heart of the change. Let’s find out how Ian Finch the founder of Mando learned to “say no”.

Download the transcript here



Ian Finch
Founder of Mando

Today, I talk to Ian Finch, founder of the Liverpool based agency, Mando. He joins us to share how his specialism has helped him grow his agency to over four million pound turnover. Ian started the business with fellow band members as a means to support his effort to become the next U2. After buying one of his co-founders out for just £800.00, which was an incredible deal, in the first year, and turning over £150,000 after two years, it became clear that building his agency was a better investment than attempting to become a rock star.



43:35 – 45:52
The sooner you do it, the better.



“We pride ourselves on people who don’t use our sites much, because they can get in and get out as quick as possible.”

Whenever you grow as an agency, you have that watershed moment, that the customers you worked with then aren’t maybe what you want now, and that’s hard.”

“It’s a good project. But, it’s not going to bring long-term value. It’s not going to bring recurring revenue. It’s not going to be forecastable. And we it’s not in our sector focus.”

“That’s not your audience. And we know it’s not your audience because we did this six years ago, and this happened. And we’ve got three other customers all going through this now, and actually people don’t want that kind of design.”

You have to accept, people have employed us for our expertise and they want to be led. And so, if you’re going, “Oh, maybe,” and, “Oh, we’ll see,” or, “I suppose,” you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Customer: “I hate it when you say: I think! I hate it when you look like it. I just want you to know.” 

Ian: “You know that’s unreasonable don’t you? But that’s, like, your de facto.”

Customer: “I accept it’s unreasonable about everything, but on matters of anything that can be processed and can cause risk, I want you to know.”

Ian: “Well, that’s a good challenge. That’s fair enough.”

Sometimes you have to divorce what’s best for the business, from what’s best for you. Don’t let your ego get in the way. But still be passionate about the principle reason for the being of your agency.”



Test Automation Engineer

ISO – International Organisation For Standardisation






Azure Cognitive Services – Microsoft AI



Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO)

United Utilities

Peak: Secrets From The New Science Of Expertise by Anders Ericsson

Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Good To Great by Jim Collins

The Hedgehog Concept

My Autobiography by Alex Fergusson




James Bishop

Kasra Firouzyar

Daniel “DanTheAgencyMan” de la Cruz



We are the world’s best peer support community for agency owners. Find out more about The Agency Collective here