Do you want to grow your agency through an acquisition? Would what it would look like to merge with an agency offering complementary services? What if you could expand your team by acquiring another agency's talent? An acquisition might feel impossible, but done right can be an amazing growth strategy. Today’s guest never thought he would acquire not one but two agencies. He saw acquisitions as an impossible growth strategy that required enormous amounts of cash. In the end, it was just about finding the right partners. He is on the show to share his experiences buying out his partners and eventually making two acquisitions.
Todd Neinkirk is the co-founder of Four Kitchens, a digital agency that makes websites for organizations that educate, advocate, and reform. Their team builds digital content platforms, design systems, and apps for ambitious organizations. After nearly selling his agency and then growing back stronger and expanding his team and offering through acquisitions, he shares some of the changes he made to get to this point, as well as some of the unexpected challenges of the acquisition process.
In this interview, we’ll discuss:
Taking a big risk to rebuild after a failed acquisition. 3 big structural changes to grow your agency. Why acquisitions aren't an impossible strategy. Subscribe Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM
Sponsors and Resources E2M Solutions: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design, and development agency that has provided white-label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.
Podcast Takeover!! Get to know your Smart Agency Guest Host: Darby Copenhaver is the Agency Scale Specialist at the Agency Mastery 360, which provides agency owners with the coaching, community, and tools needed to scale and find their freedom. He helps agency owners scale through a proven framework for growing their agencies faster and connecting with other amazing agency owners. Today, he’s helping Jason bring something new to the Smart Agency podcast audience by interviewing a special guest and bringing a new perspective to the show.
Taking a Big Risk to Rebuild the Agency After a Failed Acquisition Todd started the agency with several partners he met working for a student publication. With over 16 years in the business, they worked with large media companies and small non-profits, education reform groups, and universities. Over the years, however, his other partners wanted out of the agency.
At the start of the pandemic, he still had one partner left. They were coming out of a rough year and Covid affected the agency much earlier than other organizations in the US and Canada. The agency kicked off 2020 with a massive gap to fill with clients, with things only getting worse later that March. Luckily, they didn’t have to adjust to remote work, since they’d made that transition years before. However, they weren’t at all sure about their chances of pulling through.
They started looking for a way out and reached out to an agency that could acquire their business. The acquisition didn’t work out and with PPE loans starting to take shape, it suddenly seemed there was a way out. Todd took a risk and made his business partner the same acquisition offer in order to assume 100% ownership. It was a bold move at such an uncertain time but he is thankful he took the risk.
It took a lot of readjusting, rethinking the way they did business, and making pretty significant changes in early 2020. However, he got his investment back by the end of the year and went on to have a very successful 2021. Not only did Todd and the team manage to get the agency profitable again, but in 2022 they acquired several other agencies to expand the business. He is the sole owner of the agency which is the largest it has ever been.