This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
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So, you’ve started your agency and things are going well. You’ve brought on a few clients, perfected your service or services, and maybe you’re preparing to make your first hire. Now, you want to focus on scaling to seven figures and beyond. The good news is you’ve already done the hard work of creating a foundation and proving the value of your services. Subsequent growth just takes a few strategic tweaks.
To kick your seven-figure scaling into gear, take the following steps into consideration:
1. Niche down.
Agencies are most likely to succeed and scale when they’re really good at one staple service. Find a way to hold yourself and your team accountable to your niche in the beginning stages. Joel Kaplan, founder of seven-figure marketing agency Atlas Digital, recently shared with me that niching down is something he and his co-founder originally struggled with, so they made a promise to each other via an internal contract, establishing that Atlas would only focus on one service for 12 months until they hit seven figures. It worked; in just six months, they were bringing in more than $150,000 every month.
The best businesses can’t be everything to everyone, so go deep rather than wide. Focus your resources, time and attention on perfecting one main offering.
2. Ask for referrals.
The better your are at your one niche offering, the more likely you’ll develop longtime clients. And since the best marketing is done by word of mouth, ask your longtime clients to spread the word. They’re likely to possess a range of industry connections, and they can easily share feedback from their experience working with you. If one of your existing clients does refer new business, make sure to send them a token of gratitude, even if it’s just a handwritten thank-you note.
3. Increase your pricing.
Chances are, you’re charging too little, and if you’re really doing a great job for your clients, they’ll stay on even if your prices grow marginally. To start, consider how your agency makes money. A great way to see if you’re underselling is to investigate your competitors. What are their rates? Workamajig Marketing Manager Esther Cohen advised in a recent blog post to nix the free-consultation call model, unless you know the potential client’s budget and level of interest. Otherwise, she cautions, free consults and audits can waste a lot of time with little payout on non-targeted leads.
4. Hire virtual assistants.
Remember that you can’t focus on marketing, sales and providing services for clients without a little help. If you aren’t yet ready to hire an official team, recruit a virtual assistant (or multiple) in the interim. David Nevogt, co-founder of Hubstaff, has hired around 30 virtual assistants, and in a recent blog post, shared his learnings that virtual assistants work best for scaling when they are given specific processes and blueprints for their tasks. Work with your virtual assistant to make sure the process is clear, and watch it scale from there.
Approached together, these four steps will establish you as the expert in your niche, support your ability to scale, demand your worth and attract more clients. Some steps may work better for different business models, so try them out to see which makes the most sense for you. You may find that hiring more virtual assistants is more helpful than raising your prices, for example, or works better in different seasons of your business. Whatever your path, here’s to seven-figure growth.