Episode 26: Agency Mergers & Acquisitions with John Burns

John Burns provides mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and financial advisory services to companies in the digital advertising, marketing, and business services industries. He has over 15 years of financial management and investment banking experience, which includes the completion of over 20 M&A transactions in these industries. He founded Clare Advisors, LLC in 2014 because he is passionate about using his M&A and financial expertise to assist owners and operators of creatively driven businesses.

“I take a lot of great pride in being the finance guy that helps with agency owners and acts as an advisor on the financial side to creative people to help them realize the value of what they’ve created in their companies.”

– John Burns @ClareAdvisors

Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

  • The most proactive questions to increase sales in the 1st, 5th, and 10th year of your business
  • Why there is no rule of thumb for revenue growth and how to navigate that
  • Why you shouldn’t get entrenched into one area when starting an agency

“Creative people should not be spending their time working on accounting and the transaction…someone like myself brings the experience and expertise of how to run that process…so they can stay focused on their business and do what they do really well.”

– John Burns @ClareAdvisors

Sellers & Buyers


  • How making sense of the business side helps creativity flourish
  • Not waiting too long to sell before becoming unsalable in a changing market (the sooner the better)
  • Why high revenue concentration turns off buyers (diversified vs big fish clients)


  • Why a portfolio of clients and profitability needs the most attention
  • If seeking a board of advisors as a young management team is necessary
  • Targeting ongoing client relationships and goodwill when buying businesses

“If you want to retire at sixty five you should really be thinking about selling your business almost a decade beforehand.”

– John Burns @ClareAdvisors

Where to learn more and reach John:


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