Selling your agency may not be the first thing on your mind when starting one up. But maybe it should be.
In many founder’s cases, their end goal is expressly to sell it on. But how do we ensure that our agency is an agency that people actually want to buy? What should we expect as part of the M&A process? How do we keep our existing clients happy and confident that their needs will be met under the new owners?
Making Our Agency Attractive
Darren Low, CEO of Low&Behold has been through a fair few acquisitions over the last few years. We sat down with him to find out more about the process of both selling and buying an agency.
So the big question is – what do we need to do to make our agencies attractive to a prospective buyer?
“What’s appealing is you’ve got to look like you’re viable. So there’s some real functional stuff. If you’re running all your business and all your numbers in Excel, that’s really worrying. What technologies are you using? Is your tech stack nailed on? Have you got really good systems processes?”
The Importance of Process
“I know agencies, particularly creative agencies, are quite resistant to process.
And I would say that if you are, that could be a challenge. Because actually, process is the thing that frees you up the scale. It’s really hard to scale a business without process. It creates space to be creative, to be entrepreneurial.”
Although a “gentleman’s agreement” may be enough for you as an agency owner, this can prove to be quite offputting to potential buyers.
“It’s really dicey if you’re looking at acquiring a business where they’re like: ‘Oh, we don’t have contracts and just do it all on a handshake.”
I’ve left the building by the time you said “handshake”.”
Selling Your Agency
Having our numbers, our contracts, and our whys and whats in order are a hugely important part of the process. Even if selling is something far off in the distance, it is probably something we should get a handle on now.
If you found this blog helpful, check out our other strategy blogs!
Darren Low is CEO of Low&Behold and has 25 years in the marketing and advertising industry. Over 13 years running agencies, investing in growthand 5 acquisitions between June ’20 and May ’21
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