Paradigm is still a young whippersnapper in the big wide world of creative, but in the short time we’ve been around, we’ve learned a few things about running an agency that we’d like to share. Cos we’re nice like that.
1. There’s never a right time to start
If you’re considering starting an agency, don’t wait for the magic moment. There isn’t one. The best time to start is now. Of course, have a rough idea of your business plan. Make sure you know what you’ll be doing on the first day and who your clients are going to be. But it’s more important to seize the moment. You’ll figure out the rest pretty quickly.
2. Look after your clients
An obvious one, right? Relationships are key to the success of any agency. Always be nice, even when you’re having a rubbish day. Do favours for your clients. Meet up for lunch from time to time rather than relying on email and phone calls. Treat them how you’d want to be treated. They’ll remember you in the future.
3. Be prepared for long hours
Especially at the start. And then later on. Ok, so the first few years are definitely hard graft – they’re also very rewarding. Oh, and if you have a partner, make sure they’re aware of the late nights and travelling involved in your new business venture. Trust us, a well-timed ‘spontaneous’ dinner date goes a long way.
4. Be nice to your people
The world doesn’t need ‘just another creative agency’, it needs special places to work. Make sure yours is one that people want to be a part of and treat them with respect. In turn, they’ll help you when you most need it.
5. Embrace your inner geek
A successful agency is just as much about IT and data as it is about creativity. A good workflow system and infrastructure is vital to service clients effectively. Test out new processes and ways of doing things, from archiving projects to sorting out holiday requests. Learn from what works and evolve. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice from people that have been there before.
6. Make lots of industry friends
It goes without saying, collaboration is crucial. No small business is an island, especially in the creative industry. Establish a strong network early on and it will lead to more opportunities, especially if you know other agencies that offer complimentary services to yours.
7. Take time off
Running an agency can feel all-consuming but it’s important to take time off when you can, otherwise you’ll burn out quickly. Book a holiday abroad, go to a spa, visit family and friends, hike a mountain or go on a yoga retreat. It’ll give you give you a fresh perspective on things, which is usually when you get the best ideas.
8. Stay alert
Opportunities can come from anywhere, sometimes when you least expect it. The clients you thought were sure to give you work may never come to fruition whereas a random conversation in the coffee queue could lead to huge long-term contracts.
Above all, never lose the passion for why you started this in the first place. That’s why clients will choose you over other agencies out there.
Have you got any tips to share from your own experience in agency life? Let us know in the comments below.
And if you liked this, you can stay up to date with our ramblings by following @paradigmcrtv on twitter.