10 years, 10 lessons: our agency journey


5 mins read

Telescopic is ten years old this week. We’ve been around the block, tripped over a few curbs. Now we’re here to give advice—unsolicited, but possibly priceless?

For those starting up or hitting a wall in agency life: we’ve already banged our heads against most obstacles. Yours to heed or ignore, here are the lessons from our decade of, let’s say, “growth experiences.”

1. Use the experts

Relying on outside experts? Sounds like a no-brainer. Yet, those among us have tried to single-handedly balance finance, marketing, and everything in between. The kicker – you often don’t know what you’re overlooking.

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A sharp finance team makes sure your accounts aren’t haemorrhaging cash and wards off those unexpected tax problems. On the flip side, marketing experts craft effective campaigns, and perhaps make it so your brand isn’t trending for the wrong reasons. These dedicated teams aren’t just for those adverse to multitasking. It’s about precision, expertise, and frankly, self-preservation in the wild world of business.

2. Make hard choices without delay

Decisiveness is a linchpin for success. And no, that’s not the title of our upcoming self-help book. Don’t linger on tough choices. If your intuition is nudging you, give it your ear.

Whether it’s cutting ties with a problematic client, delivering candid feedback, or broaching a challenging pricing conversation, the key is action. Because delay can mean missed opportunities or letting small issues balloon into major crises. A decisive step, even if imperfect, often leads to progress, while indecision can stall growth and strain relationships.

3. Focus on better communication

Good communication builds trust so that every team member, client, and partner believes in and relies on one another. It streamlines strategy, making sure everyone’s on the same path. It enhances team cohesion, promoting collaboration and eliminating silos.

Moreover, winning new business is as much about clear dialogue as it is about showcasing results. James from British Fencing drove this home in our podcast (episode dropping soon). When scouting for the perfect agency match, it’s not just about standout creativity or rock-solid competence. No, it’s an agency’s ability to articulate, understand, and cooperate seamlessly that seals the deal.

4. Make yourself replaceable

A defining trait of an effective agency leader is their ability to be replaceable. Think about it. If the CEO, or any key player, can lounge poolside and the business doesn’t miss a beat, you’ve cracked a critical code.

Invest in processes and your team. Prioritise training, systemise tasks, and promote a culture where decision-making isn’t bottlenecked at the top. Delegation isn’t just offloading work—it’s entrusting your vision. So, cultivate a team environment where every member is both a student and a teacher. The more self-reliant your agency, the smoother the sailing. And perhaps, more pool time for you.

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5. Have fun making connections

The joy in business isn’t just in making money but in forging meaningful connections. Imagine turning those yawn-worthy Zoom calls into memorable coffee catch-ups. Those genuine bonds are your informal board of advisors, your support system, even your muse for new ideas.

When it comes to hiring, it’s essential to tap into that same spirit of connection. It’s less about the glittering accolades on a CV and more about the gut feeling that says, “Yes, I’d share my chips with this person.”

6. Embrace small talk

Like it or loathe it, embracing small talk is a necessity in agency life. Those offhand remarks about the weather? They’re the bedrock of rapport. Small talk helps you gauge client feelings, sense team dynamics, and often uncover valuable insights. It’s in these breezy chats that barriers fall and genuine connections spring up. You also never know when a chat about weekend plans could lead to the next big project idea.


7. Plan what you want to say

Written communication in the agency world is like trying to assemble flat-pack furniture—simple in theory, but fraught with potential misunderstandings. While directness has its merits, the absence of tone can turn even benign phrases into potential pitfalls.

Jot down your thoughts first, then refine to maintain clarity without the risk of sounding brusque. Never underestimate the power of a genuine “Hello” at the beginning and a sincere closure at the end. Small gestures, but in the world of emails and texts, they’re worth their weight in gold.

8. Know your numbers

If spreadsheets give you hives, it might be time to invest in antihistamines. From monthly revenue to expenditures, familiarising yourself with every financial detail is crucial when running an agency.

How’s your sales pipeline shaping up? What targets have you set, and how do they correlate with your desired figures? Clarity in your finances eliminates guesswork. As the old saying goes, you can’t grow what you don’t measure. Make sure your agency’s growth isn’t left to chance – measure, adjust, and grow.

9. Invest in marketing

Silence in business is, well, just silence. You could be housing the next big idea or the most efficient team, but if you don’t shout about it, how will anyone know?


Don’t fall into the trap of believing that quality work alone will pull clients. While that’s a lovely notion, in reality, it’s like having a neon sign in a power outage. Marketing isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the megaphone that amplifies your achievements and offerings to the world. If you’re not on the marketing train yet, it’s time to buy a ticket – or risk being the best-kept secret nobody’s heard of.

10. Ground digital bonds in-person

You’d think with all this remote working, we’d become hermits, right? But here’s an insider tip: remote work thrives when there’s a personal connection underpinning it.

While virtual chats and emoji reactions have their charm, nothing beats the rapport built during those face-to-face interactions. It’s the coffee breaks, team lunches, and those “Remember when…” stories that add depth to video calls. So, if you’re all-in on remote work, remember to occasionally go offline with your team.

May your curbs be cushioned

If there’s one overarching takeaway, it’s that growth, both personal and professional, is a mix of continuous learning, the occasional blunder, and always, always investing in the humans behind the screens and strategies.

As we celebrate a decade of Telescopic, we toast to the mistakes we won’t repeat, the bonds we’ve forged, and to those of you embarking on this rollercoaster. Buckle up, keep your sense of humour close, and may your next decade be filled with insights, growth, and fewer unexpected trips over curbs. Cheers!

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