How to Scale with the Right Advisors & Investor

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About Our Guest

Anson Sowby started his career working in the mailroom at Universal Studios. He has always wanted to start his own business, but he did not have the guts nor the connections to do it until a few years into his career.

In 2013, Anson started an advertising agency called Battery, honoured as a 3-time Ad Age Small Agency of the Year and ranked as Top 10 Fastest Growing Private Company by the Los Angeles Business Journal 3 years in a row. In 2019, he sold an equity stake in Battery to the Paris-based Havas Group.

Prior to Battery, Anson co-founded one of the first pure play social media agencies called Rocket XL, growing the company to 5 offices across 4 countries before being acquired by the Cossette Communications Group in 2008.

About this Episode

How to Scale with the Right Advisors & Investor

For Anson Sowby, entrepreneurship was in his blood. Born into a family of natural entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, he had formative experiences at both of his parent’s companies. This early business acumen helped him to start his creative agency, Battery.

Having the foresight to know that the company would eventually need additional capital in order to scale up, Anson and his co-founder delved into the world of growth advisors and hung on for the wild ride.

Fast forward 12 months and with additional capital confirmed, the company could push on to new heights and start turning the larger accounts into retainer-focused projects that allowed for:

  • The business to start hiring permanent employees instead of contractors
  • Bigger retainer fees to help cover a larger payroll
  • More credibility with larger clients, which kickstarted a healthy referral program

As someone who is currently in the middle of an earn-out agreement, Anson has the perfect outlook on what it takes to complete an exit transaction.

What you will learn in this episode

  • How to look for the trigger points when a company needs external capital
  • Whether entrepreneurship is natural, nurtured, or a mix of both
  • How to bootstrap a business in the early days
  • Why the leap from project to retainer-based can be a challenge for professional service businesses
  • How and why emotions can play a significant role during the exit process

Connect with Anson Sowby

Show Notes

(5:18) Some people believe entrepreneurs are born with their skills and others believe they are learned. Here’s what Anson thinks about the debate.

(15:00) As Battery started to grow, client projects began to shift from short-term to more retainer-based models. This changed the business for the better in the following key ways.

(20:40) Anson and his partner had the foresight to realise that eventually they’d need external capital in order to keep growing the business. Enter growth advisors.

(30:02) Emotions came into play for Anson during the transaction process and he explains why he found it so hard to compartmentalise them.

(31:58) Anson’s exit was based around an earn-out. Love them or leave them, but first hear why buyers utilise them to better mitigate risk.

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