Why You Should Be Thinking About Your Exit Strategy for Your Digital Marketing Agency as Early as Now featuring Jeff Knauss of Digital Hyve

Nov 10, 2021

Jeff Knauss is the Co-Founder of Digital Hyve, a full-service digital marketing agency that connects brands and their message to targeted audiences online to produce meaningful results for our clients. He is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, and a member of the Current Board of Directors, such as United Way of Central New York, Byrne Dairy, Loretto Foundation, SUNY Oswego Foundation, and many more. Digital Hyve, which ranked among Adweek's 100 Fastest-Growing Agencies and one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States, was acquired by Butler/Till in 2021.

In this episode, Jeff Knauss shares the biggest lessons he’s learned from bootstrapping, scaling, and selling an 8-Figure Annual Revenue Digital Marketing Agency. Also, why he decided to create an employee stock ownership plan for Digital Hyve, the true meaning of freedom, niching down per region, and what it takes to become one of the world’s fastest-growing agencies.

This Cast Covers:

  • Jeff’s journey from getting a job in broadcast television to selling their wildly successful agency Digital Hyve to a 200-person ad agency Butler/Till based in Rochester, New York (02:05)
  • What was the catalyst responsible for Digital Hyve’s massive growth and landing on the Inc. 500 four years in a row? (05:44)
  • Building an ownership culture which led to creating an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) (07:51) 
  • Jeff’s role as the founder-based seller and how he transitioned out of that by building a sales team and investing in serious business development (09:54)
  • The mistakes Jeff made in hiring sales or biz dev leaders that come with a fast-growing agency or company (14:12)
  • A massive opportunity that most agency owners and founders are missing out on (19:34)
  • Why the name of the game is to have a niche (22:00) 
  • How regionality has allowed Digital Hyve to give a depth of experience to their clients (23:34)
  • Jeff’s thought process behind exiting an 8-figure annual revenue digital marketing agency (28:04)
  • Why you can easily be let down if you keep chasing one goal after the other without really thinking about your North star (34:50)
  • Ultimate freedom comes from optionality (35:34)
  • Why Jeff and Joey’s idea of money is freedom (37:33)
  • Creating a value rubric for yourself and understanding what's really important to you (38:56)
  • What’s next for Jeff and how he made the decision to exit (40:23)

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