Business Development for the small-sized ad agency is really a simple process of capturing, cultivating and then taking on new clients. If you are a sole proprietor wearing all the hats or maybe most, then the only way business development is ever going to get done is if you do it. Online or offline, it’s up to you.
One agency I worked with years ago had a really solid base with the agency principal working as both the creative director and primary networker. She was great at both things but had to juggle a lot of plates while overseeing the daily operations of her company. She did great work but was stretched, and thus the biz dev didn’t always get done.
Small ad agencies and sole proprietors can get overwhelmed with having to do everything or almost everything. The thought of adding in another thing like bringing in new business while you have more than enough is almost maddening, but this is when it needs to happen so the funnel always stays full for the dry spells.
It takes focus to get business development done. It’s a long-term process unless you come across an account that falls in your lap. This doesn’t happen very often so you want to be prepared to move forward and start on the journey.
Here’s a simple biz dev strategy you can get started with:
- Take 4 to 6 hours a week to work on developing new business for your agency. Fridays or Mondays are excellent days to work on business development.
- You need a plan so think, strategize, get it on paper, and act now! Start small but set your initial goals based on action and activity.
- You’re in the creative business, so get busy, think outside the box, and attract clients to you that you’d like to work with. Use your website, physical mailings, networking, email, referrals, the phone, and even channels like press releases, article marketing, text ads, blogging, forums and social media.
- Create testimonials as soon as possible and let them do the selling for you. Social proof can be the one thing that builds your credibility and helps to jumpstart the biz dev process.
- Stay consistent. Once you get started, keep moving and do the work every week.
- Follow up, Follow up, Follow up and keep in contact with your prospective new account. Send them something every month that keeps you in front of them.
Business development can be the lifeblood in many small agencies and what enables the firm to stay in business year after year. Is your ad agency working on business development or do you continue to struggle wondering when someone is going to arrive on your doorstep?