Starting an advertising business can be a daunting task, especially if you have no idea where to start. While it might seem like there are hundreds of steps involved in starting your own ad agency, the truth is that most of them are very simple and straightforward. We’ve created a “How to start advertising business” guide so that you don’t need to worry about anything but getting started with your new venture!
Follow our step-by-step process for opening an advertising agency and get on the path towards success today!
- 1 How to start advertising business? Come up with a catchy company name
- 2 Create a business plan for your Advertising Agency
- 3 Analyze your market and determine your marketing strategy
- 4 Describe Your Operations
- 5 Develop Your Financial Forecast
- 6 Make sure you have all the necessary permits and licenses to do the work before starting your own Advertising Agency.
- 7 Join advertising industry trade associations
- 8 Create an incredible website to sell your Agency’s services
- 9 Find clients for your advertising agency
- 10 Offer your Advertising agency’s first-time deals
How to start advertising business? Come up with a catchy company name
Choosing a name for your company can be difficult. It has to be short, easy to remember, and easy to spell. You also need it to have the right “flavor.” What do you want your company’s personality or ideal clientele to reflect? Are you going after a young crowd? Old money? Is someone in-between? Your name might need to reflect this.
The Advertising Club is a great place to start for company names, but there are some other tricks you can use as well. If your last name is White, then you might want to come up with something related to “white.” If your first name is Henry, how about using the word henry in a creative way? A lot of company names are a combination of different words, like Driveway Advertising.
Create a business plan for your Advertising Agency
Once you have a name, then it’s time to get serious about your business plan for your Advertising Agency. You need a good idea of what you’re going for and how much investment it’s going to take to get there. Your business plan should be around 10 pages long and include:
Begin the plan with a summary
Because you’re a startup, you need to acquire start-up capital. The capital can be invested by an investor. Most investors and lenders are inundated with potential opportunities. You need to make a focused and brief summary — about one or two pages in length to attract them. Your summary will give them a first impression of whether your business is worth further scrutiny. A business plan is unique to your company and, accordingly, the approach used and structure of plans vary considerably.
Describe your business’s goals and objectives and your types of advertising agency
It is critical that you present a thorough picture of your company — a description of your business with your key goals and objectives. When you decide on the type of advertising agency business that you’re in, you’ll know the types of products and services you need to provide, the market that you should target, the competitors that you are up against. For instance, if your Advertising Agency focuses on email marketing, your goals should offer customers the best methods and tools in planning and implementing a successful email campaign.
Also include your company history, current business conditions, industry trends, and what makes you unique. To help you with your business description, ask yourself the following questions:
- When and why was your company formed?
- What is the nature of the product/service that you provide?
- What successes have you experienced over the years?
- What is your competitive advantage?
An example of a business description is:
“Promerit Advertising Agency will offer marketing services to companies that are looking to employ email marketing techniques as the cornerstone of their marketing program. It is estimated that in Year 1, over 250 billion emails will travel across cyberspace. Email marketing is quickly becoming a cost-effective method to reach a target audience. According to Jupiter Communication research, email ad-response rates currently averages between five to 15 percent. At the same time, the report noted that only 15 percent of Web users read all email messages in their entirety.”
Analyze your market and determine your marketing strategy
It is critical that you understand your market. A good service is not enough to guarantee marketing success. For example, your Advertising Agency may offer the best Email marketing service in the world, but this doesn’t matter if there aren’t customers to buy your service. This is one of the most important sections of your business plan. It will be scrutinized carefully, therefore, your market analysis should be as specific as possible, focusing on believable, reliable, achievable projections.
You may want to introduce this section with a one-page summary highlighting the key elements of your marketing plan. Follow your summary with the information that will support this page. Finally, include additional information and evidence that you feel is necessary for the appendix.
- Potential Market: Present a picture of your customers. Convey your broad understanding by describing relevant characteristics such as their demographic breakdown, buying habits, interests, special needs, and geographic location.
- Sales: Include your forecasted sales volume. What do you expect to achieve in the next three years? Make sure you specify sales in dollars.
- Competitive Analysis: consider your competitors, how they market their products, and why people buy from them. Determine their strengths and weaknesses, their position in the marketplace, and their status (growing, maintaining, scaling back). Investors sense danger when an entrepreneur suggests there is no competition for his product/service.
- Market Feasibility: State why the market will support your business. Include trends in your industry, an economic analysis, and “optimistic-pessimistic-realistic” scenarios.
- Marketing Strategy: Explain how you will sell your product(s), and how you will move into new markets. Identify the specific marketing techniques you plan to use
Describe Your Operations
Describe how you plan to operate your business. Go into detail about a location, facilities, equipment, workforce, hours of operation, and methods of recordkeeping.
Develop Your Financial Forecast
Most forms of business financing require forecasts. These forecasts serve to demonstrate not only the need for funds but also the potential future value of equity investments or debt repayment. Developing the proper financial forecasts is, therefore, a critical factor in obtaining capital for your business. It may be the most crucial task in determining the viability of your business. You will need to:
- Establish the need for funds in the amount requested.
- Demonstrate your ability to realize investments or repay loans.
- Indicate your understanding of the financial implications of your business’s growth plans.
Make sure you have all the necessary permits and licenses to do the work before starting your own Advertising Agency.
Depending on the nature of your services, you will need to secure different permits from Federal, State, and Local authorities. If your Advertising Agency is located in Singapore, you will need these licenses and permits to kick off your business venture:
Incorporating your Advertising Agency On ACRA
Register a company in Singapore with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority is the first step to kicking off your business venture. Successfully registered, your company will receive a Unique Entity Number (UEN), which is required when making applications for other licenses and permits.
Advertising Agency Licensing Requirements
After obtaining your business license from ACRA, you may need one, a combination, or all of the licenses listed below, depending on your advertising agency’s operations:
For displaying billboards in Singapore, approval from the following authorities is necessary:
- the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), if the ads will be placed on various buildings
- the Land Transport Authority (LTA), in case of companies placing ads on their car fleet
- from relevant property associations, if the boards are placed on private buildings
Online Digital Advertising: Internet Service & Content Provider Licence
Currently, in Singapore, Internet Content is regulated as Broadcast Media Content and therefore all services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet Content Providers (ICPs) require licensing. However, Internet content providers are already automatically class-licensed under the Broadcasting Act, so a separate license application is not necessary. A class-licensed advertising agency is required to comply with the Class Licence Conditions and the Internet Code of Practice.
Other Formalities to Consider
- CPF Employer Registration
- Work Permit
Join advertising industry trade associations
Joining a trade association allows you to continue your education, keep up with trends and technology, meet with your peers at trade shows and conventions, and enter awards contests to add to your credentials.
While there are many niche organizations for specific types of advertisers, you might consider joining one of the following organizations for general advertising and marketing professionals:
- American Advertising Federation
- American Marketing Association
- Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
- Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
Create an incredible website to sell your Agency’s services
Your website is your primary communication with potential customers. It is the virtual front door to your business. Think of it this way: how many people are carrying around a stack of business cards, but they travel everywhere with their smartphones? Your website should be designed to cater to the needs of mobile users.
Professional web design can make an enormous difference to your potential clients. Visitors who are already thinking of doing business with your Advertising Agency may just leave if they can’t find what they’re looking for on your site. Your website is one part of the overall impression that you want to make on visitors, so you should hire a professional web designer who specializes in designing websites for Ad Agencies.
Find clients for your advertising agency
There are three ways to find clients: establish a network of contacts, advertise and market your services, and freelance.
Start networking with potential advertising agency customers
You can start building relationships by attending trade shows and conventions related to the type of business you anticipate serving. You can also attend networking events or schedule informational interviews with executives from advertising agency companies you want to attract as clients.
Market your services to local advertising agencies
When marketing your new agency, be sure you’re targeting appropriate companies and presenting a professional image of yourself and your business. You can market by emailing or mailing samples of your work, sending press releases about your new agency, placing ads in trade publications related to the type of work you plan to specialize in, and attending trade shows and conventions related to your type of business.
Freelancing for advertising agencies
If you’re just getting started and don’t have a network of contacts yet, or if you want to start generating income before you establish your own company, consider freelancing for an existing agency. Develop a portfolio of work samples, and then contact advertising agency companies to ask if they need a freelancer.
Offer your Advertising agency’s first-time deals
Many clients are interested in using an advertising firm, but resist because they’re unwilling to spend a lot of money for a first-time consultation. A good tactic for gaining clients is to offer either a free or low-cost introductory session. In this meeting, you can talk with your client about what services you offer, what you’ll charge, and show him samples of your work. The small financial cost of offering a free consult will be a worthwhile investment if you gain a client out of it