6 Secret Ingredients To Establishing Your Own Advertising Agency 

“You can’t bake a cake without all the ingredients”

You are a young media enthusiast with a dream to build your own advertising agency. The business opportunities are galore, in the ever-evolving post-pandemic era, but unfortunately, more than 50 per cent of start-ups fail in the first 2-3 years because the important pillars of business are not strengthened and sustained.  So, how do you need to shape your dream? Let us look at the 6 essential ingredients for the recipe for the cake a.k.a start-up agency business model.

  1. Arrive at your own plan:  If an entrepreneur doesn’t articulate the business plan themselves and hires someone else, the perspectives would be different and would not align with the core ideas planned initially, eventually not meeting the end goals. Before meeting experts & consultants, pen down your own plan, in your words.  Conduct market research and feasibility studies. A detailed survey of competitors, government regulations, and key players in the market will help your business survive for a longer tenure.
  2. Build your skills and confidence through Internships & Projects: Digital, technical, management, soft skills need to be developed. Explore various aspects of agency business through internships & projects for an already established marketing agency. Based on your interest area, enrol yourself in obtaining relevant professional certifications which will help to showcase your commitment to the business in the long run. Read & research to understand best practices in the industry. Meet like-minded people, join online communities, and network on relevant forums. You no more need to travel to network, your community is just a click away.
  3. Partner-up and Protect: To offset your limited industry exposure, create an advisory board consisting of industry experts. Join agency clubs and also consider partnering with your seniors for sound advice. Beware of sharing your advertising ideas and creative work without registering for Intellectual Property rights (eg. Trademark, Copyrights, Patents, etc). Investing time and appropriate money on clearing the legal documents will go a long way for your start-up agency business.
  4. Determine Funding needs: These days most of the agency work is virtual and as a young entrepreneur, you can also save by hiring project-based remote teams and redesigning your home to look like a comfortable workspace. However, understanding the finances involved in your business is very important for billing and payment recovery. Funding is one of the most crucial parts of building a new company. Young media professionals may want to take up a short-term crash course online to understand finances. Continue with part-time work initially. Having a job/project that pays helps immensely but is quite often overlooked. They may also plan to create at least a one-year backup fund before devoting themselves 100 per cent to the start-up
  5. Personal Image branding and Walking the Talk:  Build the social media profile appropriately. You are a brand. Leverage self-image to build your agency brand with a relevant creative name, website, design & passion.  First impressions matter but you need to also back it up with consistent performance & service delivery.  Your strategy and recommendations should be well crafted, mastered, and then recommended. Network and leverage online branding communities to get inputs.  While charging few first clients reasonably less is advised, doing free jobs is a definite discouragement.  Create your personal brand first before you jump to help others brand!
  6. Define your niche without pressurizing yourself: To make client onboarding easier, competitive advantage, and strengthen your skills, define your niche. Don’t get seduced by the prospect of working with any business. For example, you may concentrate on a definite type of advertising business (eg creative boutique, social media specialist, digital marketing expert, influencer management expert, etc) client (eg Food, Fashion, Hospitality, Education, etc) or based on industry. You could also focus on a specific geographical area, appealing only to people in your city or state.

It’s crystal clear that a sound business plan, a safe financial backing,  a bit of hustle, a boatload of passion and determination is the recipe for success. It is also crucial to ensure this does not lead to rapid meltdown and burnout. Only you define the marker of successful agency business. 

Last but not least, the most important part of baking a cake is - the topping.  

Top your cake with tons of layers of positive attitude, conviction, and determination.  Handle your cake by managing expectations, relationships, satisfaction, and happiness to enjoy your priceless and sweet piece of agency start-up success.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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advertising agency Media Student media entrepreneurship

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