Stop Scope Creep with Karl Sakas of Sakas and Company

028 Stop Scope Creep with Karl Sakas of Sakas and Company

Karl Sakas agency consultant

Karl Sakas is an Agency Consultant and president of a global consulting firm called Sakas & Company. Karl has advised agencies on 6 continents about operations, strategy, and leadership. He is the author of The In-Demand Marketing Agency and over 200 articles on agency management.

In this interview, Karl shares his secret weapon for combating scope creep, along with many other insights that will help you keep your projects under budget and under control. Karl mentions a bunch of different articles he’s authored in the interview, all of which can be found at the links below.

Karl’s suggested articles from the show
7 magic words to kill scope creep
3 pricing models for agencies
Creating better estimates
Deciding which clients to grow vs. fire
How to fire legacy poor-fit clients
Handling post-launch requests
Advance Retrospective

Karl’s Books on Amazon:
Made to Lead: A Pocket Guide to Managing Marketing & Creative Teams
The In-Demand Marketing Agency: How to Use Public Speaking to Become an Agency of Choice


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Show Transcription

Chris: [00:01:27] Hi Karl, welcome to the show.

Karl: [00:01:29] Chris great to be here.

Chris: [00:01:31] So where are you calling in from?

Karl: [00:01:33] I am in Raleigh North Carolina.

Chris: [00:01:35] Excellent. Excellent. Now your business helps agencies grow. Correct?

Karl: [00:01:41] That’s right. Clients typically run digitally oriented agencies and they are growing quickly typically at least 30 percent a year and they reach out to me when they run into growing pains.

Chris: [00:01:54] So you qualify them that they’re already growing 30 percent per year before you engage with them?

Karl: [00:02:01] My work typically focuses on the agency process and you do you need process when things are moving really fast. I mean well everyone benefits from process. But typically clients at least 30 percent and some clients are growing 100 percent or more.

Chris: [00:02:23] We would fall into that because we grew 45 percent this year.

Karl: [00:02:26] So you probably had at least a growing pain or two.

Chris: [00:02:30] Yeah a few. So you actually have quite a lot of agency experience. You’ve led to business operations at two agencies correct?

Karl: [00:02:43] That is correct. I started in the industry when I was in high school. I started a Web design practice. In fact, my first paying client for web design was back in the days of dial-up. I kept that fairly small. Fast forward to join two agencies as a project manager and head of business operations and then launched my consulting practice in 2013.

Chris: [00:03:21] And you’ve actually written numerous books. I actually haven’t read any of them yet. I did order “Made to Lead” A Pocket Guide to Managing Marketing Creative Teams and our account director just ordered the In-Demand Marketing Agency: How to Use Public Speaking to Become an Agency of Choice (and we’ll swap those out after they arrive).

Karl: [00:03:40] Excellent. I’ve designed them to be quick reads. Made to lead which is about leading agency teams . . . I’ve heard people reading it in 30 minutes to one person reading it in about 20 minutes. It literally fits. It fits in your pocket. Oh nice. The other one on public speaking to grow your agency that I’m hearing from people closer to two hours or so still they quit.

Chris: [00:04:04] So you know when I first started this podcast I went on Amazon looking for books about creative agencies and there aren’t a whole lot out there. So every time I discover one I get excited. So how do you usually engage with an agency?

Karl: [00:04:26] Once I’ve engaged with an agency my overall approach is to begin with the end in mind as Stephen Covey said. Where does the agency own or want to go? One of the key questions is whether they want to run a lifestyle agency or a high growth agency. A high growth agency wants to grow as fast as possible–Typically with some sort of an exit in mind in the next five years or so. Lifestyle is more about getting a good income. You certainly have profits. But really it’s about funding your activities outside of the agency. And most people are somewhere in the middle.

Chris: [00:05:42] Gotcha. So today I wanted to focus on Scope creep. This is a danger that all agencies face and we’ve struggled with it quite a bit here at Murmur Creative. Can you start by describing scope creep?

Karl: [00:05:54] Absolutely. Scope creep is a client service and project management challenge that agencies run into where clients expect the agency to deliver more than the agency has agreed to deliver. Sometimes it’s because the client has requested it and the agency hasn’t said no –either because they didn’t realize or didn’t catch that it wasn’t in scope. Either way, scope creep is when a client is getting more than the agency should be giving them.

Chris: [00:06:31] That’s a good definition. You wrote an article called “A shortcut to increase agency profits: kill scope creep with these seven magic words.” Can you tell us what those seven magic words are?

Karl: [00:06:42] “Would you like an estimate for that.”

Chris: [00:06:45] [Laughs] That is … that is a pretty powerful phrase.

Karl: [00:06:48] It is. It is. It doesn’t have to be the very first thing you ask. You know if a client says, “hey we’re thinking of doing this or that,” you know talk about it first. I spoke at the Ad Week D.C. conference last year and was speaking with someone who is a marketing manager at a client site organization and I said, “you know I work with a lot of agencies, what would you want agencies to know.” And she said “well you know it’s about scope. You know if I ask for something new don’t automatically say ‘that’s not included.’ You know, let me talk about it first.” So that is worth considering, but ultimately you’ll get to a point where you know clients who say, “OK here’s what we have in mind talk through this and that. Now what?” And that’s where the “would you like an estimate for that?” comes in.

Chris: [00:07:35] You know asking this question is super important but it can also surprise the heck out of a client. How do you prepare a client for that sort of discussion? We were just talking about not springing it on them necessarily. Is there anything you can do early on to make sure that it’s not a surprise when it comes up?

Karl: [00:07:53] Absolutely. At the kickoff meeting you want to review the scope for the work you’re doing. It is worth considering that there are three agency pricing models: hourly, milestone, and value based. Scope creep is the biggest problem in milestone projects and retainers: that’s where it’s a fixed bid, fixed scope situation. You know the client is paying you a set amount and you will deliver what you’ve agreed to deliver. With hourly there’s a little bit more flexibility, just the client has to pay the hourly rate for it. But you know ultimately it’s up to you as the agency owner or your client service team/ your project management team to manage client’s expectations from the beginning about what’s included. One of the things you can do in the sales process is a have a section in your proposal, but certainly in your statement of work, a list of exclusions–that is, things that you may have talked about that did not make it into the final scope and have the client sign off on that. That way, later when they said oh you know we were going to do such-and-such celebrity endorsement kind of thing, you can remind them that we talked about that but that didn’t make it into your final, final budget.

Chris: [00:09:11] Well that’s a really good piece of advice. You know we do put things that are not included into the scope. I hadn’t thought of sort of things that were mentioned in discussions, I guess as things that are not included in the scope. Because a lot of times, like if we have … like if we bid a website project, we have in our contract a list of like 20 things that are not included. And once the client sees them, they’ll say maybe, “I want that one, or I don’t want that one, or this is fine.” But yeah there’s a lot of times when you’re discussing with the client and this like while it might be nice to do this later down the line but you gotta to make sure that they don’t suddenly decide that that was included in the scope.

Karl: [00:09:46] Exactly, exactly. And you know whether you want to list it as exclusions or options for phase 2 or something like that, the key is that it may not become a problem but if it does, you will be extremely glad you asked the client to sign off.

Chris: [00:10:04] Now, when Murmur Creative started we pretty much did everything that was asked of us–even if it made the project lose money because we were so afraid of losing the client. How– you know, especially the people who are just starting out–how do you tell them that they need to be brave and push back?

Karl: [00:10:23] I’m not going to judge them for that. When you’re starting out you’re building your portfolio, and things like that. To me it’s okay if you over deliver. And typically you’re not not doing a great job estimating early on. I have an article to share, for the show notes, about creating a better estimate. But odds are, when you’re starting out, you’re going to make some bad estimates. You’re not going to scope things out properly. The key though is that it needs to be a short term temporary thing. You know, any work you’re doing where you may end up losing money, you’ve got to limit what you’re doing there. Certainly, if it’s definitely going to lose money. You do want to think twice about whether or not it is worth it.

Chris: [00:12:47] Now you mentioned a little bit about your article on pricing. I haven’t read it, but I would love to hear some high points from that.

Karl: [00:12:56] When it comes to doing better estimates there are few key things to keep in mind. The first is past experience in terms of doing better estimates. We want to build an estimate library. You know, let’s say you’re doing a website. You know you know you’re going to do a variety of things. One is you’re going to design the home page and then you’re going to do the front end development to build the home page. And there may be back end pieces, well, you should have estimate ranges for those. You know at one agency where I was a project manager, we had standard estimates. You know, designing a home page: 24 hours. Doing front and development: another 24 hours. Doing an interior page was a certain number of hours for design. A certain number for front end, and so on. If you’re doing something over and over again you should have a process for it. And if you’re doing it over and over again you should have some sort of an estimate as well. So build that library. That also means that if you are the person doing the estimate you’re not going to have to interrupt your subject matter expert team all the time with, you know, “hey we’re doing another website you know give give me an estimate for everything.” No it’s your job to sort out most of that and then talk to your subject matter experts for custom pieces that are going to be unique to a particular project.

Chris: [00:14:53] Yeah we’ve actually just recently started well I guess in the last year or so we started using 10,000 Feet to record sort of the number of hours it takes for each sort of phase in the process. And now we can look back and say how many hours did that product take and use that as a basis is very helpful.

Karl: [00:15:11] And you founded has improved things?

Chris: [00:15:13] Yeah definitely.

Karl: [00:15:14] Excellent. So number one–I have four things in particular on better estimates–so number one is using past experience build that estimate library. Second is to do a work breakout which is ultimately a quantitative de-brief.You look at how long did it take, you know, whether you’re using 10000 Feet or are just using a spreadsheet you’re looking at, “OK we assumed it would take this long. Here’s how long it actually took.” And I have found often major mismatches when I go through this with clients. Anywhere from increasing–if you extrapolate their profits–by 50,000, quarter of a million, even two-to-three million dollars a year.

Chris: [00:15:58] Whoa.

Karl: [00:15:58] Yeah. And you don’t have to do a work breakout for every single project. I would start by doing it on a number of projects. But as your profits go up you should be able to cut back on how often you do it. Part three is to get input from your team. That is do ask your subject matter experts for input on estimates. Again don’t ask them every single time about kind of off the shelf things, but certainly, if it’s custom work you do want to get their input because they’re going to stay more likely to stay on budget if it’s work they estimated themselves. They are going to be better at estimating the work than you are, given their expertise assuming that you’re primarily the project manager or the agency owner or you or the salesperson. They can also give you a sense of which things are risky or not. So ultimately you can get that input. The key is you do not want to be interrupting them all day.

Chris: [00:16:56] Right.

Karl: [00:16:56] Maybe you can block in some time. You know it depends on your overall sales estimate volume but maybe it’s a couple days a week. And importantly you know Paul Graham the venture capitalist talks about maker versus managers schedules make sure the time the ask ask them for estimates is not interrupting their day. As a project manager, I like to do either right before or right after lunch when I knew that say a developer or designer was taking a break. That way I wasn’t interrupting the flow of what they were doing in the morning or the afternoon.

Chris: [00:17:31] Yeah, I mean especially … especially in the open office environment, there are so many distractions, to begin with.

Karl: [00:17:36] Exactly. And then the fourth–you know we talked about 1) past experience, 2) that estimate library, 3) do a work break out de-brief and ask your subject matter experts (SMEs)–the fourth one is to look at weighted averages. That is get an estimate for 1) best case, 2) worst case, and 3) likely case. And this works regardless of the pricing model because ultimately for every agency your inventory is your team’s time regardless of how you price for it. So ultimately you’re trying to get a sense of what’s the best case, worst case, likely case and then you can create a weighted average of those and you have to decide what what kind of waiting structure makes the most sense. But the point ultimately is that between that range the the answer is somewhere in the middle. Most likely.

Chris: [00:18:29] So when you’re saying weigh the weighted average that’s the actual price that you give to the potential client.

Karl: [00:18:35] Yes. Although Make sure you add project management and client service time on that. So, for instance if you were to do a an unweighted average maybe the the optimistic best case is something might take two hours. Worst case is six hours. Likely is four. In that case you’d average it. And you know you’d say four hours. But do be sure to to include project management time. My recommendation is take all of the subject matter expert work–designers, developers, copywriters, strategists–and add it up and then add 20 to 35 percent on top of that.

Chris: [00:19:12] Interesting. Yeah makes sense.

Karl: [00:19:14] Because otherwise you’re not going to … In that case you were doing the project management and client service time, but I’m getting paid for it. Which means, you know for instance, say you total things up and the project is 100 hours. You really need to be assuming a 120 to 135 hours. If your pricing hourly or if you’re using using that to inform what what the fixed bid is going to get. That makes a lot of sense. And you know value base is different but ultimately the point is if you’re going to do it you might as well get paid for it.

Chris: [00:19:44] You know one of the guests I had on the show was really against hourly pricing really thought everything should be priced by the day. While I find that interesting and maybe something we can do eventually it seems hard for me because we still … there’s still tasks and projects that don’t take a whole day. So, do you have any advice on pricing by hour opposed to by day.

Karl: [00:20:06] My clients in Europe typically if they are doing hourly based pricing you know we will provide a team or someone for whatever needs to happen. Typically they will do a day rate and that rate is going to vary, you know? A project manager might be one rate, a developer might be another, a designer might be at another. In the U.S. though typically it is more common to do hourly–per hour–under the hourly model.

Chris: [00:20:34] Do you … like we actually just kind of use one hourly rate. We don’t break it up amongst who’s actually doing the work or what their role is. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or if it’s because we’re kind of small. Part of my thinking is that you know everything that we do–even if it’s a junior person’s work–gets looked at and worked on by a senior person so. But it can also see the other side of it.

Karl: [00:21:01] Ultimately that that becomes a values decision. You know whether you’re focused on the cost to you or the the value to the client. In general the trend is toward blended rates. That is one rate for everyone at the agency. So I mean you’re in line with where things are headed. But you know still a significant chunk of agencies, if they are doing hourly pricing, have a different rate for each type of person. You know I think a challenge with the different rate per role is that then it increases the sensitivity of clients thinking about what they’re getting. You know they’re like oh OK that person was 200 but you know that person was 125 and they started that well you know 125 person as good that that kind of thing. So either approach can work. But when you have a separate rate per resource that gets clients thinking about it about what exactly they’re paying for. Not so much the value they’re actually getting from your agency.

Chris: [00:22:08] That makes sense. Good. I feel comfortable [laughs].

Karl: [00:22:11] Yup. Yup.

Chris: [00:22:11] It seems like there’s a limit to how much you can anticipate in an initial contract. I mean, we will have a couple of meetings with the client before we sign them because they’re not huge clients a lot of times are small businesses and we don’t have a ton of leeway as far as you know spending hours and hours with the client before they sign on the dotted line. So you know scope isn’t always as nail down as we’d like it to when they sign on the dotted line. Do you sort of recommend like a continual sort of updating of scope or like a separate scope document that you sort of passed back and forth between you and the client?

Karl: [00:22:51] You definitely want a way to track a backlog of client requests that are not in scope. You know that part of the value of those 7 magic words, “would you like an estimate for that?” is that clients can decide if they want that estimate or not. You know sometimes they’ll say oh it’s extra. Never mind. Sometimes they’ll say yeah give me the estimate and then I’ll decide. And then in a small portion of cases clients may say, you know, estimate? Extra? I thought this was included? And they’re not happy about it, but at least now you can address it. By having that backlog, and also ideally in a way that clients can prioritize the backlog, then you can focus on what’s most important to them. It also gives you a way to handle those incoming requests without having to pause every single time. Scope it out and handle it. So some requests you will but typically not. And then maybe once a week or every couple of weeks you’ve been reviewed with the client and say you know which of these things would you like us to scope out?

Chris: [00:23:52] It makes sense.

Karl: [00:23:53] It is worth considering whether your agency is doing agile versus waterfall project management. Waterfall is traditional, you know, let’s figure out all of the details and all the pieces and planned it out and then do it. Agile is more flexible. There are different flavors of agile, but ultimately it’s what are the overall priorities. We’re going to work through it and we can’t guarantee everything we’re going to complete but we can guarantee we’ll complete your top priorities. That does require a bit more trust from clients because they’re crossing their fingers and hoping you’re going to do everything you said that you will. But you know the reality is waterfall has major problems in the sense that you don’t know everything beforehand. You could spend tons of either billable or not billable time trying to scope it out. But even then you’re going to miss things.

Chris: [00:24:45] Yup.

Karl: [00:24:45] The key is that you protect yourself whether it’s through an agile backlog where you’re working through the list of things or by being very strict about what is or isn’t in scope and in getting change orders.

Chris: [00:24:59] Change orders. Yeah, that’s something that we’ve sort of … you know, I think as an agency, we’ve probably only accomplish like two or three change orders. It’s become something that we’re talking a lot about more with our clients, like, if something changes it creates a change order [laughs].

Karl: [00:25:16] In terms of the client reaction, or you mentioned a couple so far, are there particular challenges you’ve seen?

Chris: [00:25:22] It’s still a little early in the process, what we’ve been doing is we sort of have something in our contract now that says that things outside of this scope will involve a change order. In cases where we have had to sort of create a change order, it hasn’t been super difficult because, um, like, in one case it was a video that was obviously not in the scope of the website and we had to work with the third party and you know that that went pretty smoothly. I think that–and you know other times that’s something that like you said like it gets added to the backlog and maybe we do and maybe we don’t but it’s usually something that happens after the completion of the initial project. But I do see, you know, it is an opportunity to sort of upsell the client but we haven’t been very good at that yet. You know we haven’t gotten to the point where like oh you know we should sell these guys on this would really benefit them. You know we haven’t gotten into the rhythm of doing stuff like that. Do you have any recommendations for sort of upselling?

Karl: [00:26:22] Well I would say definitely prioritize that more that that has the potential to increase your revenues. In my experience 10 to 20 percent a year from the existing clients you know it certainly depends on your client base. Not every client is open to being upsold but you know ultimately prioritize. The key is to think about how is your client benefiting from this? And for that to work you need to know what are their business goals? And also, if possible, what are their personal goals? What are they trying to accomplish in life? You know for instance if you know that their boss is on them about a particular corporate initiative, you may be able to frame your upsell as a way to fulfill that initiative so that their boss is happy they look good to their boss, maybe they get promoted.

Chris: [00:27:10] That definitely that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I think that, you know, our service offering is sort of narrow and we’ve actually narrowed it, so, but there’s always those opportunities to be like, “oh, we can add this feature or we could, you know, build you another website or we could, you know, enhance your analytics set up or something like that so that you can see more data.” There are definitely opportunities, it’s just something we need to be a little more aggressive and there’s always that sort of being crushed under the load of the work that you have that [laughs] sort of makes those things difficult.

Karl: [00:27:48] I do have some clients who will share that they’re afraid to upsell or are afraid to bring in more clients because they’re not sure how they’re going to get the work done. Typically that’s a sign that they have a mix of the team structure problem and some project management challenges. But I mean, you know, as you’re thinking about that a key is if you’re thinking of proposing a new feature, make sure that again it’s from the client’s perspective, you know, it is not compelling to say: “our front end developer really wants to try out this cool new HTML5 thing. And we think you’re the one to pay for it.” Uh, you know, focus instead on, you know, based on the shift to increasing, you know, mobile devices this is going to make your life easier in this way or that way.

Chris: [00:28:40] Gotcha. What what are some of the most common mistakes that you find the agencies doing?

Karl: [00:28:47] Well, I mean that could be a range of things. You know one starting point is running the agency in a way that is contrary to their long-term goals. You know if you are if you want a lifestyle agency you should not be hiring people extremely fast. That is just going to increase your stress levels. And there’s a risk of over hiring. On the other hand if you’re high growth you probably need to be hiring people pretty quickly to keep up with things. So certainly run your agency in line with your long-term direction that’s an important one. Another one is around not tracking things. Part of my intake process with new clients is to ask about certain financial status and one of the questions is related to their billable ratio. And people often don’t know it, you know, and I’d say that’s that’s fairly common. I’ll also ask though what their net profit margin is. And sometimes people don’t know that and to me that’s a big red flag. If someone is the owner of an agency yet doesn’t know their current profit margins.

Chris: [00:29:56] Yeah, I can see that.

Karl: [00:29:57] One other consideration is finding a balance on what I call “warmth and competence” as this concept comes from the book the “Human Brand,” by Chris Malone and Susan Fiske, and the idea is that in every interaction with other people and with companies you’re judging them by their warmth and their competence. So from an agency setting warmth is are you making clients or employees feel special? Are you making them feel valued; that it’s not just about the money? That’s the warmth side. And then on the competence side that’s about getting the job done. You know are you getting things done by the deadline? Are you getting things done in scope? And the challenge is that a lot of agencies focus too much on competence–and to be sure you want to get things done as promised–but they may lag on warmth, so that their clients are thinking “well, you know, they generally get things done,” but the client is going to remember that, you know, for instance, you accidentally embarrass them in front of their boss at a meeting. Because you didn’t plan ahead before that boss facing meeting about what was going on. So ultimately agencies tend to get fired more often for low warmth than for low competence. Although it can be both.

Chris: [00:31:12] Interesting and good advice. We’ve been putting together these gift baskets for our clients when either they do something nice for us or we’ve just landed them as a client. We found a company that will put together this basket for us and everyone in the office chose one item like under $5 that meant something to them and then they all go into the gift basket and then we send it out to the client. They had a list of like all the employees and what they picked and then all the items in the gift basket.

Karl: [00:31:40] Nice. What kind of reaction have you seen on those so far?

Chris: [00:31:43] Really positive. I think that …

Karl: [00:31:45] Excellent.

Chris: [00:31:46] I think it’s … we did one round where we sent out like 10 or 15 of them and now we’ve got we’ve got a bunch more that we’re going to be sending out. So …

Karl: [00:31:55] Nice.

Chris: [00:31:55] It’s just a nice way of sort of saying like, “we appreciate your business. We appreciate you as a company.” Thankfully we’ve got a nice and really great account director who’s always really happy to share love with our clients so …

Karl: [00:32:08] Nice.

Chris: [00:32:09] She’s a … she’s a winner [laughs].

Karl: [00:32:11] One other suggestion on upsells because it sounds like that’s certainly for boomers a priority but I’m guessing for most people listening they’d like to do more upsells. The ideal upsell is one that the client requests themselves. You know they’re upselling themselves. And one way to prime clients for that is to share examples of work you’re doing currently or recently for other clients of your agency. And the key is you need to drop that into conversation in ways that seem natural rather than like a pre-roll YouTube ad or something like that. But that might be saying you know for instance you know you ask whether we’re going to ask how you’re going part of your response might be, “Yeah, we just got back from doing a video shoot for a client who’s launching a such and such, you know, really excited to see how that turns out.” Well now they know that you do video, now they know that you’re helping the client launch something that might come in handy the next time they have that need themselves.

Chris: [00:33:13] Makes sense. Yeah that’s definitely something we could do more as sort of showcase what we’re doing unique for other clients.

Karl: [00:33:19] Exactly. And the key is you don’t want it to … I think clients sometimes have this sense that for your agency they’re the only client. That that’s not true of course. But you know you generally don’t want to create a sense of competitiveness that, “oh you know other clients are getting more attention or things,” like that. But if you’re dropping into the conversation, and in a normal way, that should be fine.

Chris: [00:33:45] Cool. Well, I always like to ask our guests for three takeaways. These would be you know bits of information that you would like to share. You are particularly qualified to offer advice to agencies so what would you like to offer?

Karl: [00:34:02] Hmm. 1) When you run into a situation that a client wants something that’s not included, use those seven magic words: “would you like an estimate for that?” Make sure you–point 2– over time are doing things to improve your estimates. A lot of agencies ask for advice, ask my advice, on how to raise their hourly rate if their pricing hourly. In my experience, you can raise your profits a lot faster by doing better estimates at your current hourly rate, or rates. So get your estimates right. I think we’ll have the creating better estimates article in the show notes. Check that out. And ultimately, think about where you want to go. I have a tool that I’ve created called an “advance retrospective.” You know, a retrospective is looking at the past and in advance, retrospective is looking at the past before it happens. So that is to say, right about the future before we before it actually happens. I do one of those every year. And do those with my clients as well. So I’m writing about, you know, it’s December 31, such-and-such. You know, a year away kind of thing. It’s a great day because of blank. And then I fill it in, people fill it in. There’s no right or wrong answer. But ultimately when you’re visualizing the future it’s easier to work backwards figure out what it’s going to take to get there. That’s the advanced retrospect.

Chris: [00:35:24] Nice. Do you recommend having that 5, 10, 20 year plan in your back pocket?

Karl: [00:35:31] I do. And you know certainly that’s going to vary for each person. I came across something I wrote in high school and it was a prompt for a writing class and the prompt–I was 17 when I wrote it–this was “by the time I am 30 I must do such and such.” And I came across the list, and in fact by the time I was 30 I had completed 83 percent of the goals. Even though I had not looked at it–you know, in 13 years. I am currently writing “you shall do an advanced retrospective for the coming year” with my clients. Sometimes it will be a 1 year sometimes it’s 5 years, say if they’re looking to sell their agency. Other times it will be around a milestone birthday, you know, for them when they’re turning 35 or 40 or 50. So that helps. I am currently writing an advanced retrospective as of my 90th birthday.

Chris: [00:36:32] Whoa [laughs].

Karl: [00:36:32] Which you know is a little crazy, but you know ultimately my thought is well let’s look back at what you know what I’d like to have accomplished business wise personally and so on, because you know then convene I’ll have 55 years to get it done. Otherwise, I guess my view is that if you if you don’t have a plan for where you want to go life is likely life is just going to happen.

Chris: [00:36:59] That’s great advice. It’s been so great talking to you Karl, and it’s also I think can be valuable to our listeners to hear this and know that there’s an agency advocate and consultant like you out there if they do need help with their agencies. Your website is Sakas and company dot com?

Karl: [00:37:19] Sakas and company dot com and if you go there I’ve got over 200 free articles with all kinds of advice. I would also encourage people to sign up for my newsletter to get free advice on a regular basis about improving your agency and also get an instant copy of one of my one of my books. It’s an e-book called “Don’t Just Take Make The Logo Bigger: Taking Clients From Painful To Profitable.” You’ll get that right away when you sign up for the newsletter.

Chris: [00:37:47] That’s excellent and a great title. Thank you. Well, thanks so much for joining me. And yeah I imagine that if our listeners have questions they can reach out and contact you.

Karl: [00:38:01] I am glad to help. Always glad to help people sort out if it is a fit and if not glad to point people to the right resource.

Chris: [00:38:09] Excellent, excellent. Thanks for coming on the show.

Karl: [00:38:12] Chris great to be here.

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