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Starting a business can be a difficult prospect, so starting a marketing agency is no different. There is no exact formula for success - no matter what anyone tries to tell you - so working out the best course of action is down to you. Which means, unfortunately, there are a lot of hard lessons to learn along the way.
But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a heads up about some of the difficulties heading your way in the next twelve months or so. After all, we’ve been there and done that; why not put pen to paper on the subject?
So, what are the ten things you should learn before you set out on the treacherous road of marketing startup?
1) Set Clear Goals
This is so important and something that we failed to do from day one, making it the number one thing to do on this list. What does your startup look like in twelve months? What are your goals moving forward?
If you want to be earning a certain amount by this time next year then make that clear, put it in an outline or, even better, a business plan. The more clear your goals become, the more traceable the path towards them.
2) Get a Website
A mistake made once, you can forgive yourself for. Make it again and it becomes an unfortunate pattern. At the outset of our business we put off making a website, by the time we did we needed it fast and got some butcher web designer to make us one as cheaply as possible. It was impossible and something we regret to this day.
As such, you would think lesson learnt and now we have a shiny website with all the whistles? Not quite. We are in the midst of putting it off yet again. Why didn’t we learn our lesson? Well, no in fact we learnt a valuable lesson.
So much so that we are waiting to have a substantial sum in place in order to pay a proper development company to create our next attempt at a website. The point is, get a website but make sure that it is fit for purpose and not a mess of code.
3) Focus on a Niche
Marketing is made up of many different sectors: SEO, email, content, social and PPC. To be a complete agency from day one is a bit of an ask and can be a big stretch on your resources.
4) Brand Yourself
Not knowing who you are can make it very difficult to sell yourself as a company. And a company with nothing memorable can be very hard to sell, a factor which comes down to branding in many instances. So you need to ensure that your branding stands out above your competitors and beyond.
A brand, at the end of the day, is how you tell the story of your business. So, making it as vibrant and brilliant as possible should be your obvious goal.
No one wants to go out there in the world and schmooze. And if they do, they are the perfect people to be salesmen and should be send into the world to promote your brand. But, whether you are a salesman or not you need to meet new people. Connecting can be the easier way to grow your marketing startup as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Social networking online can also be beneficial, especially on professional sites such as LinkedIn. The connections you make online are just as important as the ones in real life, so don’t be afraid to send connect requests; you never know what business opportunity might come as a result of it!
6) Package System
Don’t sell your services bit by bit, on a one-off basis or will nilly. Not only does it make your accountants head spin, but it can be very difficult to work out where money is coming and going in such a structure.
Creating a package system for your business can be one of the best way to keep your income steady and simple during the first year or so of your business.
7) Cut Costs
Saving money as a new business is integral and even more so as a marketing startup.
Some things are easy to save money on. As a marketing company it’s simple to market yourself, write your own website copy and other such obvious necessities. Don’t print, keep your technology to as small a number as possible and don’t spend a penny on software in your first year (the free alternatives may even serve you well long after your first year!).
8) Find Clients
Of course, in order to make a success of yourself as a business you need someone to pay you money. Finding clients can come across as a scary prospect, but it can also be simple if you know where to look.
Your website should be your first and last line of defence when it comes to generating new leads, so firstly you should ensure that it is as optimised as possible in order to ensure you are getting those vital leads. Next, you shouldn’t be afraid to use social media and other online mediums to also find clients for yourself. Twitter could land you a big contract, you never know!
Until the clients are coming to you, which may be sooner than you think, you may need to look in unusual places in order to find clients. But, it will be worth the effort once you have a full roster of interesting clients under your belt!
9) Hire People
The only way to expand is with a team of efficient and talented individuals. The more talent you inject into your agency, the better your results will be and ultimately the easier you will find it to get and retain clients. It seems simple, but it can be difficult as a new venture.
After all, what job security will this new hire have and - realistically - what kind of compensation can they expect from a company in its infancy. The solution may lie online.
Even if you only expand your workforce via the virtual world, it’s still less everyday tasks for you to do and more time for you to spend in your business. Content marketing is particularly good for this type of outsourcing as there is a world of talented freelancers out there willing to pick up your slack.
Although, it must be noted that you should probably avoid the cheap and cheerful solutions. Yes, that person is willing to work for peanuts but that doesn’t mean you should hire them. Someone on an abysmal wage will never put in their full effort
10) Get an Office
Client meetings your spare bedroom can be fun, but not exactly practical. Nor will it make the kind of impression you are searching for. Finding the right property can mean hunting for a good business rates appeal, as you need to save all the money you can as a marketing startup.
It can also be the best way to attract new clients, as having a physical space gives you much more authority.
Get the expert advice of commercial property agents Manchester, as doing so can save you time and money when it comes to your hunt! As an expert is the best way to not run into any problems or people taking advantage.
Overall, there plenty of lessons for you to learn when it comes to the first stages of your marketing startup. Every day can be a new learning curve. But, that doesn’t mean that this should deter you! Lessons learnt means happy clients, which means more money and business growth, which means you will be out of the startup funk in no time!