Martin Waxman

Spin Sucks AMA with Darryl Salerno: Agency Planning and Profitability

By: Martin Waxman | September 4, 2019 | 
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SpinSucksAMARevenue is important and you always want to grow your business year over year.

But is your agency as profitable as it could or should be?

Maybe you’re overservicing clients, have the wrong team in place, or the right team doing the wrong things.

Should you be spending more time on client work, new business, or agency management?

Business owners like you face these challenges every day.

Yet, you’re often too busy to step back, make adjustments, and change your planning and processes.

That’s what we’re talking about with special guest Darryl Salerno on our next #SpinSucksAMA, September 23 at 1 pm ET: How to Streamline Business Planning and Be a More Profitable Agency.

Introducing Darryl Salerno

It’s safe to say Darryl Salerno is one of a kind.

He’s someone we know well—and respect a lot! 

Darryl has spent more than 40 years in the management of PR agencies.  

He’s president of Second Quadrant Solutions, and works with professional service firms to improve their business performance, profitability, systems, and management training programs. 

Previously he was CEO and COO at Magnet Communications (now Havas PR,) CFO at both Edelman and Ruder-Finn, and CAO of Burson-Marsteller/New York.

Darryl is also a member of Mensa (so yes … he’s super smart).

And his current passion is performing stand-up comedy.

Plus, if you saw him on the street, you might mistake him for Kenny Rogers—but only in looks, not in his attitude.

How Do You Pronounce Forte: ‘Fort’ or ‘Fortay’?

The first time we met Darryl, was at PRSA Counselors Academy.

Darryl was leading a workshop in English language usage, grammar, and pronunciation.

The participants were seasoned professional communicators and writers.

So of course, we believed we could answer any question Darryl threw at us and ace his test.

Easy-peasy, right?

Wrong!

One of the questions Darryl asked was how to correctly pronounce the word forte, as is strength.

He gave us several options.

Most people responded with ‘fortay’.

But Darryl explained that was wrong.

Forte is a French word and needs to have an accent on the ‘e’ in order for it to end in an ‘ay’ sound.

It should be actually be pronounced fort.

In case you’re interested, the highest mark that day was 50%. (And no, I did not achieve even that!)

So, in addition to advising agencies, planning, and finance, Darryl is also a raconteur and probably the most knowledgeable person you’ll ever meet when it comes to the proper way to use the English language.

But I digress.

What’s Your Biggest Business Planning Challenge?

Darryl won’t be talking about English on the upcoming #SpinSucksAMA (though I’m sure he’d entertain your questions).

Instead, he will delve into some of the common traps of running a business and offer strategies on how to change the way your approach planning, staffing, and operations, become more profitable and achieve better business results.

And you’ll have a chance to ask Darryl your questions—and get some honest and insightful answers.

Here are a few examples of what you’ll hear.

Q: When it comes to planning, what are the biggest challenges most agency owners or entrepreneurs face?

Darryl:

It’s difficult to change staff on a particular account, but as you anticipate promotions and raises, it’s important to prepare for changes that are required to maintain profitability. 

As you build your budget, you need to anticipate what level of new business you will be able to achieve during the year. The accuracy of this number will help you determine the appropriate level of staff that’s required. 

Knowing your level of servicing on all accounts is critical as you negotiate new budgets with clients for the upcoming year. The challenge is capturing accurate information.

What About Sticking to Your Plan?

Q: It’s great to have a plan, but often hard to stick to it. What tips do you have that will keep agency leaders on track? 

Darryl:

It’s very easy to ignore your long-term plans as you feel compelled to deal with the exigencies of daily agency life. You need to always focus on what you feel is most important to your long-term success and spend the time on those second quadrant activities that will help you get there: staff development, networking, critical client relationships, controlling over-servicing, proper staff utilization, etc. Don’t allow the apparent urgency of emails, texts, phone calls and interruptions to draw you into unimportant activities that eat up your day. 

#SpinSucksAMA—How To Sign Up

That’s just a taste of what our conversation will be.

But in order to sign up for the #SpinSucksAMA, you have to be a member of the free Spin Sucks community on Slack.

If you already are, we’ll be sharing an RSVP form and more details about the webinar.

If not, here’s how to join our community.

Once you’re in, you can RSVP to the webinar, add your questions, and also join in the conversation with our smart, helpful, and fun group of communications pros.

See you there!

About Martin Waxman


Martin Waxman, MCM, APR, is CMO of Spin Sucks and runs a consultancy, Martin Waxman Communications. He leads digital and social media training workshops, conducts AI research, and is a Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning author, and one of the hosts of the Inside PR podcast. Martin teaches social media at McMaster University, UToronto SCS and Seneca College and regularly speaks at conferences and events across North America. Find him on Twitter @martinwaxman.