· Should I have a partner when starting an agency?
Depends. Having someone to share the journey and the responsibilities can take a lot of pressure from you. But it needs to be someone you can trust completely – after all, you’re putting your future in his or her hands. If you can’t find this person, or is okay by yourself, then there’s nothing wrong with going solo.
· What should I consider when budgeting to start my business?
Consider the basics that you’ll need to get the job done: a computer, licensed software, desks, chairs, and office supplies such as paper, pens and pencils, a printer, and perhaps another landline if you’re working at home. Then there are utilities (gas, water, electricity, heating), even if you’re working at home. If you won’t work at home, then you’ll need a place where you can work and receive your clients. Don’t forget to consider you might stay in a limbo for a while (that’s when you have little to no clients and aren’t making much money) – can you afford to keep the company opened during these months?
· What are the best ways to advertise my company?
There are the traditional channels – ads on magazines, newspapers, flyers, etc. You could – and should – have a blog, where you can post about this new business and what it can offer – and why not use this to show a bit of your universe to your clients? Post about your influences, current events in the area, things that get you going; make it as interesting as you’d like you agency to be. Social media is also a good mean to reach people and engage them in your world. There are plenty of platforms to choose from; focus on where you target audience/prospective clients are.
· Do I need to get a loan?
You probably already have the basic stuff you need to start. You’ll need enough to cover your expenses with domain name and Internet host, if you start small and from your living room. When you get enough clients and are ready to expand, then it might be a good idea to present a business plan to your bank and invest in your brand –like renting an office and hiring someone to take care of the boring stuff (like answering the phone, booking appointments, keeping all the documents in order, you know), or getting a better computer.
· Is there room in the market for yet another design company?
Yes, there is. You just have to find your niche – you know, the thing that makes you distinct from all the other companies (because if you try to do something someone else’s already doing, you’re going have a hard time). Your “thing” could be typography, exclusive tools, all black-and-white, I don’t know, the possibilities are endless. Knowing your thing will also help you connect with your target clientele, and choose the most appropriated channels to reach them, as well as formatting your blog and social media platform accordingly. It’s your “thing” that’ll find you room in the market; it’s your talent and commitment that’ll keep you there.