I know many of you reading this have at least a little entrepreneurial blood coursing through your veins. I want you to tap into that side of yourself and consider the following proposition: I have an idea for a start-up business.

Here are the ground rules

First of all, you can choose absolutely any kind of business you want, but you can’t develop your own product. You must rely on someone else’s.

In other words, you have no control over what you deliver to your clients.

  • If your “product partner” decides to change the product design, you’re stuck with the new design and it’s up to you to break the news to your clients who bought the old version.
  • If that partner decides to eliminate versions of the product altogether; yep, you guessed it, you and your clients will just have to deal with it.
  • That partner will also allow every one of your competitors to have access to the same product. And you’ll have to deal with that, too.
  • You’ll have no influence on product pricing. If the partner decides to increase the price by some ridiculous amount, guess what conversation you get to have with your clients?
  • And, if that partner decides to go with another distribution strategy entirely, you’re left with absolutely nothing to sell.

The second ground rule has to do with how you will get paid for selling your partner’s product.

  • Your partner will get to determine how much you get paid for selling their product; you get to take it or leave it.
  • If the partner decides to cut or even eliminate your compensation, once again, you get to take it or leave it.
  • To be blunt, you will have no control over your revenue.

Your investment

Of course you can’t start a business without making an investment.

  • You will have to make significant financial investments and will likely have a good percentage of your personal wealth tied to the business— and at risk.
  • You will have to build the infrastructure of the business and hire a team.
  • You will likely have to make even greater investments in third-party resources as you look for ways to differentiate yourself from all of your competitors— who also have access to the same product and price.
  • In addition to the financial investment, you will make a significant investment of your time, blood, sweat, and tears. You will have to put all you have into a business over which you won’t be able to control what you sell or how you get paid for it.
  • Oh, and there is every possibility that the government may sweep in and completely take it all away.

Who wants in?!

I’m guessing not many. I mean, who would be willing to put everything into a business for which they can’t control the two most critical aspects every business needs to control – what they deliver to their clients and how they get paid for doing so?

Yet, many of you reading this are owners of, or employees of, the exact type of business I described above.

Yes, it’s probably a very scary reality to see it written out, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

As soon as you embrace the fact that you can no longer be in the product business and commit to reinventing your agency as being in the advice and results business you will be moving in the right direction. And, the reality is that you aren’t as far away from taking control of your deliverables and revenue as you might imagine. It all starts with a new perspective.

As the saying goes, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change.”

If you’re struggling to bring a healthier agency model into focus, give us a call. We have a few ideas. ; )

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