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Posted by: In: Digital, Ideas 04 Oct 2013 Comments: 0 Tags: , ,

Digital Agencies are amazing businesses. They are creative, fun and you often get to work with great brands.

But… whilst fun, project based work is such a damn hard way to make money, and even harder to grow an Agency sustainably.


Got a digital agency? Want it to make £1M in turnover a year? Read on

As an advisor to 30+ Digital Agencies and Startups, we’ve been working together on a super simple model that can help Digital Agencies get to £1M in recurring revenues.

20 * 5 * 1K
What does that mean?

20 clients paying for 5 services @ £1000 per service per month

That gives you a £1.2M potential turnover which gives you space to lose a couple of clients along the way and you still come in at £1M per year (every year).

But what recurring services can I offer my clients?
If you’re short on ideas of recurring services you can sell, don’t worry- see my post here on generating recurring income (there are 14 of them)

A quick example:

A Digital Agency could offer the following 5 monthly recurring services to 20 clients in the Entertainment niche @ £1000 per service.

  • Design discounted retainer
  • Development discounted retainer
  • Support contract
  • Conversion services
  • SEO services

So how can you do it?

Here’s some tips to get you started;

Start with a list of 200 prospects in a given sector. (Ideally one where you already have a case study – it will be much easier to sell to more of them).

Make sure all the prospects have a turnover of £2M+

Why? You will be asking them to part with £60K+ per annum so they need to have a decent turnover to allow a marketing budget of that size. (£60K is 3% of a £2M turnover so therefore affordable)

Side note – This is why it is difficult to get recurring revenues from startups or small businesses! (unless they are well funded)

Companies with £2M revenues are not huge businesses and therefore very approachable (typically 20 – 40 employees) and there are 1000s just in the UK. (Many more in the US!)

All you need to do is make 10% of the 200 prospects on the list your customers – Simples.

For clarity, I’m not saying that you start at £5K per month for each client.

I would suggest finding 5 clients @ £1K per month, providing an amazing service, building a great relationship with them and then expanding the relationship to provide additional recurring services to them.

Remember the 20 * 5 model is just a guideline.
For example, 40 clients @ £2.5K per month also works but remember you will need more staff to deal with the additional project management overhead of managing more clients. (In plain english – you will take less cash home at the end of the year).

So far so good?


Here are some things you need to consider next;

  • How you find clients that need recurring services
  • How you price recurring services
  • What you say to prospects to sell recurring services

Article by Steve Penfold. You can find out more at http://www.smartdigitalbusiness.com/