40 episodes

Conversations with agency leaders about how and why they built their agencies. Each episode is a 60 minute interview with a prominent agency founder or CEO, telling their founder story, their unique approach to client management, hiring, and culture, and the challenges and lessons they have learned over the years.

Agentic Shift David Rodnitzky

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Conversations with agency leaders about how and why they built their agencies. Each episode is a 60 minute interview with a prominent agency founder or CEO, telling their founder story, their unique approach to client management, hiring, and culture, and the challenges and lessons they have learned over the years.

    Jonathan Smith, EOS and The Black Swan Group

    Jonathan Smith, EOS and The Black Swan Group

    We talk to Jonathan Smith, EOS Implementer and Negotiations Trainer and Coach with the Black Swan Group. Jonathan tells us why the EOS system is so powerful, the importance of having an EOS implementer, and how to make EOS work for you for years after your initial implementation. He also tells us how he met and agreed to work with Chris Voss, the founder of the Black Swan Group and the best selling negotiating book, Never Split the Difference, and he teaches us some great negotiating tips from the book. I also share my riveting story about how I used the book to several hundreds of dollars in a car rental negotiation. Enjoy the show!

    • 45 min
    Patrick McKenna, DMI Partners

    Patrick McKenna, DMI Partners

    We talk to Pat McKenna, CEO of DMI Partners, a 100 person agency based in Philadelphia that focuses on affiliate and CRM marketing. Pat tells us why they tend to offer a single solution service offering to clients, why it’s important to maintain quality as you scale, the one sentence that describes his agency culture, what he means when he says you should avoid a zero sum agency, why differentiation matters, and how COVID forced him and a client to make an incredibly fast pivot.

    • 30 min
    Sherrick Murdoff, Former VP of Partner Investments and M&A, Salesforce

    Sherrick Murdoff, Former VP of Partner Investments and M&A, Salesforce

    We talk to Sherrick Murdoff. Sherrick ran worldwide alliances and channels at Salesforce. Over more than a decade, he invested in over 80 different companies across 13 countries. Sherrick tells us why Salesforce was open to making minority investments in service companies, why he always wanted to make sure that everyone involved in a transaction felt it was a good deal for them, why so many of his investments did not have competitive bids from other investors, what he thinks distinguishes great private equity firms, and how he ended by investing in service companies alongside Sequoia Capital. Enjoy the show!

    • 42 min
    Keith McCracken, CEO of McCracken Advisory Partners

    Keith McCracken, CEO of McCracken Advisory Partners

    In this episode of Agentic Shift, we talk to Keith McCracken, founder of McCracken Advisory Partners, an international M&A advisory firm. Keith tells us about his early life in Liverpool, England (yes, he did cross paths with the Beatles on many occasions), his experience growing, selling, and then buying back an agency, as well as buying other agencies as part of a roll-up, why team members leave after an acquisition (and whether you should be worried), why selling a factory is easy, but selling an agency is hard, and why timing really is everything in agency M&A.

    • 38 min
    Jesse Pujji, Co-Founder of Ampush and Gateway X

    Jesse Pujji, Co-Founder of Ampush and Gateway X

    In this episode of the Agentic Shift podcast, we talk to Jesse Pujii, co-founder of Ampush and Gateway X, and the first person to be on two episodes of this podcast. Jesse tells us about the long and twisted path he took to eventually selling Ampush to Tinuiti, including several different business pivots, taking minority investment from Red Ventures, firing himself as CEO, hiring and then firing an investment banker, and working through the most challenging negotiating points to get the final deal done. He also shares what he’s been doing post-acquisition. Enjoy the show.

    • 39 min
    Patrick Patterson, Co-Founder of Level Agency

    Patrick Patterson, Co-Founder of Level Agency

    Patrick discusses his background and how Level Agency was founded in 2010. He talks about their initial focus on the education vertical and expanding to other verticals like B2B, financial services, home services, and e-commerce. Patrick emphasizes the importance of being experts in a specific vertical while also having the ability to learn from different accounts. He mentions that agencies have an advantage in learning about channels due to their exposure to various clients. The conversation then shifts to M&A activity, specifically the management buyout of one of their partners. Patrick describes how he approached the idea of buying the agency from his partner and how they secured an SBA loan for the transaction. Overall, it was a smooth process guided by SBA guidelines which required a 100% cash deal without earnouts or rollover equity.

    Patrick discusses the process of selling their company and the involvement of the Small Business Administration (SBA). They explain how they had to follow SBA guidelines, go through a fair market valuation, and come up with a down payment for the sale. Patrick also mentions that they had favorable terms with the buyer and were able to borrow against their 401K for the down payment. They compare the process to buying an expensive house and mention that they had to complete all paperwork within a specific timeline. They emphasize that having experienced advisors was crucial during this process. Later, they talk about how a private equity firm was interested in acquiring their company after nine months of running it themselves. This decision turned out to be one of their best as it led to a successful partnership. Patrick acknowledges that their friend who sold them the company might have felt some regret or envy seeing what happened next but highlights their continued friendship. In terms of advisors, they initially worked with an MA attorney acting as an advisor during management buyout (MBO) due to dealing with an SBA loan, and later set up an advisory board consisting of industry experts when considering offers from potential acquirers.

    Patrick discusses the decision not to go through a formal process when selling their organization, as they believe it resulted in a fair deal. They highlight the benefits of working with agencies and employees that are not actively looking to sell or leave. The speaker shares an experience where running a process led to a higher offer for their company. They express satisfaction with partnering with Dubin Clark, emphasizing their financial expertise and support in mergers and acquisitions. The partnership also provides access to operating partners and financing opportunities. Patrick values Dubin Clark's belief in their vision and appreciates the ability to take risks while receiving guidance from experienced professionals. They stress the importance of assessing how potential partners handle difficult times before entering into an agreement. Lastly, they advise understanding concepts like adjusted EBITDA during the MBO or private equity process and recommend seeking assistance from a reputable sell-side advisor.

    The transcript discusses the importance of structuring books, representing expenses accurately, and understanding valuation methods for selling a business. It emphasizes the need to sell when the business is doing well and highlights the impact of showing a down year on valuation. The conversation also touches on the significance of having succession plans in place and being replaceable as a CEO or founder. It advises against overinflating one's value and stresses the importance of scalability and contingency planning. Additionally, it mentions that enterprise value increases when CEOs are replaceable and have built strong teams around them. The transcript concludes by discussing post-sale changes in responsibilities and the necessity of succession planning at all stages of a company's growth.

    • 46 min

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