EP19: Planning for exit | Tony Walford | Green Square

July 25th, 2018

Right at the beginning of this podcast series we talked about the importance of setting objectives for growth that in turn, guide the new business & marketing plan and activities. But what if those objectives include a sale or exit? We need a different level of planning altogether.

 

In this episode I am joined by Tony Walford – founding partner of Green Square and one of the leading M&A and corporate advisory voices in the marketing communications, media and tech sectors.

 

Tony offers advice on what agency owners need to plan and prepare for, including the often tricky process of demonstrating ROI to clients (awards are critical!), why incentivising your staff is essential, along with key attributes in client relationships that are attractive to potential buyers.

 

Mentioned in this episode are:

 

The Diagrams Book by Kevin Duncan

Sad Men by Dave Roberts.


Details on the Green Square Ascension Day can also be found here.

 

Not only that we have our monthly competition! Listen in to find out how to win a copy of Tony’s recommended book ‘Sad Men’ by Dave Roberts.

 

Just in time for the holidays, this really is a really is the perfect sunlounger episode,  so put your feet up and kick back with a G + T. Stay cool gang.

 

EP18: Small Spark Theory Live Part Two

June 29th, 2018

Small Spark Theory Live was recorded in front of a live studio audience at White City Place in May. In Part One, we were joined by agency board advisor Felix Velarde and Joanna Brassett, founder of Studio Into to discuss the challenges faced by agency leaders at various stages of growth. 

 

In this, the second of two episodes recorded on the night, we gain a client perspective by speaking to Head of Marketing and Creative for Dishoom – Sara Stark. Sara discusses her experience of working with agencies and offers advice for approaching potential clients, along with invaluable tips for a building successful client / agency relationships. (Hint: send Sara flowers!) 

 

As always we have a competition for you. Listen in to find out how to win a copy of Sara’s recommended read: Winning in Your Own Way: The Nine and a Half Golden Rules of Branding by Robert Bean.

 

Thanks again to our lovely co-hosts YCN, everyone at White City Place and to photographer David Townhill. 

EP17: Small Spark Theory Live Part One

June 13th, 2018

On a balmy evening in early May, we took to the stage at White City Place to host Small Spark Theory Live along with our friends at YCN. This was an opportunity to bring together some of our previous podcast contributors, some new guests and an invited audience of agency founders, leaders, and new business practitioners.

 

In this, the first of two episodes recorded on the night, we hear from Felix Velarde – back by popular demand following our growth planning discussion in episode 4 last year – together with Joanna Brassett, founder of Studio INTO. Since 2011, Joanna has been building a global design research and innovation business and over the past 5 years has been implementing Gunpowder’s Small Spark Theory philosophy. Felix and Joanna joined me to explore the challenges facing agency leaders at various stages of growth, from prioritising new business and marketing activity, getting to grips with cold outreach, when to delegate and when to hire.

 

Special thanks to our co-hosts YCN, the super team at White City Place, photographer David Townhill and to Ugly Drinks, Propercorn and ABInBev for providing our drinks and snacks on the night.

 

EP16: Pricing Creativity | Blair Enns

May 2nd, 2018

Following the success of the Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns’ much anticipated book – Pricing Creativity: A Guide to Profit Beyond the Billable Hour was published earlier this year.

 

I’ll admit, I was worried how this transformative approach to pricing would fit into this series, where we explore how we can implement small changes to our sales and marketing toolkit and processes, but rest assured, as Blair explains in this episode, there are changes you can make today that will reap tangible rewards.

 

I know I say this every time but this is one episode you really won’t want to miss!

 

You can hear more about mastering the value conversation in Blair’s discussion with David C Baker in this episode of 2Bobs.

 

Blair and David will be reprising their new business summit for one time only this summer for the DBA. You can find details of tickets here, but be quick, this is likely to sell out fast!

 

We have a phenomenal prize for one lucky listener, tune in to find out how to win.

 

Also mentioned in this episode Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 

 

EP:15 Social Media | Alex & Claire Blyth | Red Setter

April 9th, 2018

Anyone who has been to one of my talks, listened to Small Spark Theory or worked with me on increasing new business performance will know my feelings on LinkedIn by now. I stand by my well-worn edict “if you do nothing else, get to grips with LinkedIn” and will continue to do so, until such time as the platform implodes, or is superseded.

 

But what about the rest of the social media maze? Making the connection between social channels and new business results is troublesome for many and even when we think we should get involved, it’s easy to then lose momentum and enthusiasm.

 

Late last year the team at PR & new business agency Red Setter examined the social media presence of 200 agencies and interviewed 50 agency leaders and a range of experts to understand the barriers, benefits and secrets to winning at social media.

 

I invited Red Setter founders Alex and Claire Blyth into the Pod to find out about the results of their study, and get some top tips for our listeners.

 

You can download their report: The Guide to Agency Growth through Social Media here.

 

As always we have a competition! We’re giving away a copy of Alex’s recommended read, The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Listen in to find out how to win.

EP14: Intellectual Assets | Erica Wolfe-Murray | Lola Media

March 6th, 2018

Let’s be honest. These are uncertain times.

 

Even those agenciy owners who are highly proficient in keeping the new business pipeline bubbling, will probably have had a heart-stopping moment or two over the last 18 months. An unexpected decision by a client, the surprising cancellation of a new project after the green light has already been given, or as one observer recently described to me – client paralysis.

 

So far in the Small Spark Theory we’ve been examining all the parts of the sales and marketing process to understand where we can make marginal gains.

 

But understanding not only how we sell but, what we sell, has never been more important.

 

In this month’s episode, we chat to Erica Wolfe-Murray, of Lola Media. With a unique mix of experiences from finance and the creative sector, Erica is an established thought leader on the subject of business growth through creative use of IP.

 

This is our first eye-opening episode from Erica who’ll be joining us later in the year to discuss revenue models.

 

As always we’ve got a competition and will be giving away a copy of Erica’s recommended read: A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

EP13: Agency positioning | David C Baker

February 13th, 2018

In previous episodes we’ve touched on the importance (or not) of agency positioning and over the last year it’s a subject that’s been popping up more frequently in my discussions with agencies.

 

So I was delighted to meet David C Baker at a Design Business Association event late last year. David is an author, speaker and leading thinker on agency positioning. Over the last 25 years he has advised hundreds of creative businesses across the world to help them make sense of what comes next.

 

I managed to persuade David to join me on Small Spark Theory to chat about his latest book, why positioning matters, and how to get started.

 

We’ve got a signed copy The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight into Impact & Wealth, to give away to a lucky listener, simply join in the conversation at @gunpowdertweets #smallsparktheory.

 

You can hear more from David at 2Bobs, his fortnightly podcast with Blair Enns and read more at www.ReCourses.com

 

Also recommended in this episode are:

 

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott

A Beautiful Mind

 

To find out more about New Business Roundtables at YCN contact Nick Defty.

 

EP12: A client perspective | Katie Pattison | Hammerson plc

December 5th, 2017

In episode 10 we gained some fantastic insight into best pitch practice from Tony Spong at AAR. Tony’s intermediary experience – seeing the process from a client and agency perspective, got us thinking how useful it would be to involve some clients in our future episodes.

 

So, we finish the year with the first of our client perspective episodes. Katie Pattison has been managing marketing budgets at FTSE100 businesses for 25 years, during which time she has hired agencies of all shapes, sizes, and disciplines.

 

In this interview, Katie shares her experience of agency new business approaches, lasting agency relationships, and her top tips or gaining and retaining clients.

 

As always, we’ll be giving away a copy of Katie’s recommended read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

We’ve loved producing Small Spark Theory this year and have been overwhelmed by your feedback. We’ll be back in the New Year, chatting with more clients and experts and will be unveiling details of a very special Small Spark Theory event. For more details, sign up for our newsletter here or for more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch here.

 

Have a wonderful festive break and see you in 2018.

 

EP11: Negotiation | Hilary Gallo

November 6th, 2017

Whether going into battle with procurement to defend agency day rates, or agreeing the scope of a project for the available client budget – our ability to confidently and effectively negotiate can make a tangible difference to our bottom line.

 

In this episode of Small Spark Theory, I’m joined by ex-corporate lawyer, author and negotiation expert Hilary Gallo. Hilary and I met earlier this year at a Business for Bohemians workshop run by the brilliant team at the Idler.  I realised that his approach, honed over 25 years of solving complex, multi-million pound corporate deals and explored in his book; The Power of Soft, was ideal for the many agency teams I have worked with who continually struggle when faced with the negotiating might of larger client organisations.

 

Luckily, I managed to negotiate my way into Hilary’s busy schedule to find out his top tips. So grab a cuppa and tune in – it’s easier than you think!

 

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving a lucky listener a copy of The Power of Soft. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

 

For more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch.

 

EP10: The pitch | Tony Spong | AAR

October 7th, 2017

Losing a pitch is just bad news all round. It costs an agency big; in time, money, resource, morale and confidence. So as new business performance improvement goes, there is surely no better place to make tangible impact than in the pitch itself.

 

The good news is that the opportunities for making marginal gains in the way we approach, plan and conduct our pitch activity are not only plentiful but often relatively simple.

 

In this episode of Small Spark Theory I chat to Tony Spong, Managing Partner at the original client-agency intermediary, AAR. Tony’s career has spanned both client and agency roles before settling squarely in the middle, where he has led hundreds of agency pitches. Who better to provide a unique insight on what works, what doesn’t and why?

 

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving away a copy of Tony’s recommended read ‘The Shallows: How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember’ by Nicholas Carr.  So listen in to find out how to win.

 

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

 

For more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch.