Alice 2

Don’t Fall Down the Agency New Business Rabbit Hole Without a Plan

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If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there – Lewis Carroll

Developing an agency new business plan can seem an overwhelming task.

Like the quote above, it really doesn’t matter which way you go, if you don’t know where you want to go.

So where do you want to take your agency?

I think all agencies begin a new business development program thinking they want to gain X number of new clients, generating X percentage of an increase in billings.

But are you actually taking a hard look at your company and where you want to drive your business in the next five years?

Or are you simply taking a hard look at your bank statements along with your payroll?

Developing a new business strategy doesn’t have to involve a fateful fall down the rabbit hole.

Here are five things you should consider when you go to develop your new business plan:

1) Prepare a SWOT analysis of the sector/s you play in. What are the strengths/weaknesses/opportunities and threats for your prospects? Knowing this will help you tailor your new business plan to identify and attract new clients that are prepared to withstand the economic challenges facing us all in 2012.

2) Review your agency’s capabilities. Now that you know where the market and your future clients are headed, do you have all of the necessary resources to provide those new clients with the service they need?  Are there any resources you need to expand or decrease?

3) Develop a timeline with actionable tasks.  This is crucial.  It’s one of the basics of goal setting.  Develop a timeline and put down on paper just how you’re going to go about signing up these four new accounts and triple your billings.  Sending out one brochure and a few emails probably won’t cut it.

4) Identify a top 10 list of companies you want most to work with. Use the information from your industry SWOT analysis and the review of your capabilities to determine the top five, ten or even 20 companies that would most benefit from your services.  And be realistic with your selections.  Everyone wants to work with P&G – few agencies actually do.  Select companies you can actually help.

5) Engage help where necessary. Like many agency principals, you’re tasked with a never-ending list of client phone calls to return, creative briefs to approve, invoices to pay.  Where are you supposed to find time to identify the marketing contacts for you Top 10 list and then get their contact information?   There are people who can help you with this, from interns, to full-time new business managers to third-party providers such as RSW/US.  Clearly, we have a biased opinion on which option we think is best, but whichever route you chose, realize it works better when you have a support team.  Even the Queen of Hearts has a court surrounding her.

Follow these tips and hopefully, like Alice, your agency will grow “more than a mile high.”



Beth Finn is a New Business Director at RSW/US.