Starting a new agency, whether for content development, logo design, or other aspects of digital marketing, is never easy. You can, however, get off the ground much faster if you follow the appropriate steps and use the right tools.
What is An Agency?
A firm, institution, or organization that performs a certain service is known as an agency. Agencies frequently, but not always, work on behalf of another organization, corporation, or individual.
Most agencies either offer a single service or a variety of services, like:
- Web development
- Content writing and SEO
- Social media marketing
- Logo design
- Influencer marketing
- Digital marketing like Google Adwords and Facebook ads management, public relations and more.
How To Start An Agency In Five Steps
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start an agency:
1. Determine Your Niche
The first step in launching your own agency is to figure out what kind of business you want to run.
Identifying a niche enables you to comprehend:
- The field in which you work.
- The services provided by your company.
- This is the type of customer you should have.
It's ideal to go with a niche you're already comfortable with. If you're good with social media, for example, you could establish a social media marketing firm.
- You will have a shorter learning curve which helps you focus on other aspects of growing your business.
- Potential clients will trust you more if they know you have experience and expertise in the field.
2. Decide If You’re Going Remote Or Not
One of the most crucial business decisions you will make is this. It will influence your cost structure, personnel acquisition strategy, and other aspects of your business.
While some agencies feel that having a wholly remote workforce is more cost effective, others require a physical office.
The following are some of the benefits of working from home:
It involves fewer costs as you don’t have to pay rent and other office overheads.
- It’s great for productivity since employees can work flexibly.
- You can recruit employees from a global talent pool as you’re not location-limited.
Small firms and organizations can benefit greatly from remote teams. Most business owners, however, feel the need for a physical office once they begin to expand.
A. How The Team Functions Best
Start with a full-time in-office workforce and allow your employees work from home a couple days a week to see what works best for your company. This way, you'll be able to find a solution that works for you.
B. The Type Of Services
Before they primarily covered online marketing, creative agencies such as marketing agencies and digital agencies might have remote teams. You do not need to be physically present because everything is web-based.
Other agencies, on the other hand, may struggle if they go remote.
Real estate agencies, for example, cannot have agents working from home since they must prospect houses.
3. Decide A Suitable Business Model
The next stage in starting a new business is to figure out how you'll handle your invoices. Here are some ideas for how to go about it:
This entails charging a monthly or yearly fee for your services. Your client will not have to pay you for the number of hours you work or the number of jobs you complete this way. To use your services, clients only need to pay a one-time fee.
Analyze client wants and the amount of work you'll have to put in to get the project done to calculate a flat-rate for your services.
When clients desire to scale up, however, this business concept may not work. You'll get paid the same even though you'll be doing more work! Always review contracts before renewing them to avoid this. To begin started, you may readily obtain an agency contract template online.
You are only paid when your clients make a profit on a sale.
For example, if your SEO firm enhances a client's website, you may be entitled to a share of the money generated by that page.
However, there are a few flaws with this model:
- It isn't appropriate for all services. For example, there is no way to get paid for developing a client's website banner.
- It's difficult to bill your clients if you don't maintain track of their sales. If you're a marketing agency, for example, you'll need to know exactly how much income your methods created in order to calculate an accurate commission.
C. Hourly Rates
This business model is ideal for start-ups.
You bill clients at a fixed hourly fee for the time you spent working on their projects.
While manually keeping track of your work hours might be very consuming, time trackers can assist you. Billing clients on an hourly basis becomes straightforward because they automatically track the hours worked by your personnel on each assignment.
4. Hire a Small Team At First
Employees are an important aspect of every agency's operation.
It's advisable to hire a small team of employees when you're first starting out. This allows you to perform customer work without having to supervise a large group of people.
Begin by filling up the essential positions that every creative agency requires, such as:
- Web designers who are well-versed in contemporary principles such as responsive web design. Remember that the majority of your clients and consumers will interact with you through your website, therefore fine-tuning it is critical.
- Marketers that are capable of analyzing data and developing strategies to engage new clients or customers.
- Individuals who possess the necessary skills to deliver the services you provide. If you run a content marketing agency, for example, you'll require content writers.
Once you have enough clients, you could hire more employees to grow your agency.
5. Find Your First Clients
The next step is to find clients for your business.
When it comes to finding clients, you'll need to network extensively in order to find as many as feasible. Isn't it true that people need to know more about you and your firm before they consider hiring you?
So, what's the best way to go about it?
A. Online Networking
Create a LinkedIn profile for your company to begin. Describe the service you offer and any prior experience you or your workers have in the industry. Also, make sure your business has a website that clearly states what services you provide.
Make sure your company's profile and website are added to all of your online profiles and social media accounts, and encourage your staff to do the same.
Then, contact your existing connections and inform them of your services. These people will be more ready to collaborate with you because they know you or may have previously worked with you.
B. Offline networking
Another wonderful strategy to discover clients is to go out and meet people in person. Getting on Eventbrite or Meetup.com and attending relevant events in your area is a wonderful method to do this.
These are gatherings where entrepreneurs and founders may network and share business ideas, experiences, and proposals. It's a great approach to meet folks who can help you with either:
- Become a client
- Refer you to someone in your network who could become a client
Another simple way to find folks who need your services is to use freelance markets like Upwork and Freelancer. Simply respond to job advertisements on these websites to discover a position for your company and get started!
These markets are wonderful for finding a lot of job prospects, but they only function if you have some past work experience.
Remember, these are folks that have never worked with you before, so show them some examples of previous work!
Once you've established a client base, ask them to recommend you to their contacts.
This is one of the simplest ways to quickly locate new clients because you aren't doing all of the legwork yourself!
Furthermore, because they are businesses that your clientele are familiar with, they are likely to be more trustworthy, and you will have no problems working with them.
4. Local Ads
Using Google AdWords and Facebook to post local advertisements might be a simple way to receive leads from people searching to work with someone in your area. For example, you could use AdWords to target keywords like "web designer in South London" or "business owners in South London."
Begin by setting aside a little sum of money and experimenting with various options. You can boost your budget if you start getting leads.
Four Tips to Remember When Running Your Own Agency
While establishing an agency might be challenging, with the correct tools and processes in place, it becomes lot easier.
Here are four pointers to make running an agency a breeze:
1. Use The Right Tools
Using the proper workplace software may improve your business processes and increase your profit margins, whether you run your agency remotely or from an office location.
Here are some resources that can assist you:
A. Communication Tools
Meeting client needs, analysing job progress, and cooperating on projects all require effective communication.
Fortunately, messaging apps like Fleep and Slack allow you to connect with your colleagues in real time. To keep everyone on the same page, you may also share project updates and files.
Furthermore, video conferencing solutions such as Zoom and Skype are ideal for in-depth conversations about specific projects and weekly meetings. They also assist with team-building events to make any remote employees feel like they are a part of your organization.
B. File Management Tools
You'll need tools to assist your staff collaborate on files and save them online if you're working on many projects at the same time.
Google Drive and Dropbox are file management applications that allow you to easily save, share, and collaborate on data. Because this is cloud-based software, you can access all of your project files from anywhere.
C. Performance Tracking
Maintaining staff productivity is one of the most difficult challenges that businesses confront.
You won't know if you don't keep an eye on your employees:
- Who is working on what task and how long are they working on it?
- If someone is passing off idle time as working time.
- What websites and apps they use while at work.
Fortunately, performance management software such as Time Doctor makes staff monitoring a breeze.
What’s Time Doctor?
Large corporations such as Apple and Verizon, as well as small businesses such as Firehouse Subs, use Time Doctor to track employee performance.
Here's how it can assist you in managing your agency's personnel:
- Project Reports — Know who worked on what project and for how long.
- Timesheet Reports – Track the time an employee worked during a given period.
- Web & App Usage Report – Identify what websites and apps were accessed by each employee during work hours.
- Distraction Management – Helps your agency staff avoid distractions with pop-up alerts.
- Inactivity Timer – Ensure that your employees don’t pass idle time as hours worked.
- Payroll Management – Easily bill your clients or customers for tasks completed within Time Doctor.
2. Keep Your Best Clients Happy
While gaining new clients is critical for your business to grow, keeping your present clients pleased is equally important.
Clients who are happy become loyal, and loyal clients can help your agency's cash flow and bottom line by bringing in more projects.
They can also provide client testimonials and refer you to their contacts, resulting in new business for your firm.
3. Implement Proper Workflows
Once your company is up and going, you'll need to set up efficient processes management systems.
If you own an advertising agency (ad agency), for example, your personnel should be aware of client preferences for project deliverables. They should also understand what the client dislikes, how to clear up any misunderstandings, and how to deliver the finished result.
What are the advantages?
- Because your staff will know everything there is to know about a task or project, they will be able to accomplish it promptly.
- There will be fewer mistakes now that everything has been defined, saving you time and money.
You can focus more on building your agency when you're not wasting time and money addressing repetitious actions.
4. Keep Your Employees Happy
Aren't your staff your most valuable corporate asset?
They'll be more productive and provide your clients their best if you keep them satisfied.
You might do the following to keep your employees happy:
- Give them the freedom they need to strike a healthy work-life balance.
- Providing incentives for good work is a fantastic idea.
- To fix any concerns they may be having, encourage open communication and a feedback culture.
- To make people feel like they're part of a team, provide a collaborative work environment.
- To create a more inclusive workplace, encourage diversity.