The Other 5 Pointers For Starting Your Own Creative Agency

James Bull (of “Moving Brands”) recently blogged, “5 Pointers For Starting Your Own Creative Agency”, and I (being pragmatic) was expecting advice that was a lot more practical. “Moving Brands” has been around for 18 years. They’re doing something right, but they may have forgotten the often overlooked realities of a creative start up.
C2 Creative is moving towards it’s 6th year, and we’ve compiled our own list of 5 points that we wish someone would have told us all about when we first started out. (Thanks for nothing “Moving Brands”)
1) Contract with a great accountant.
As a creatively run start up; you’re often preoccupied with workflow, rather than cash flow. As you scale; you can’t underestimate the importance of bookkeeping and forecasting. The amount of stress trying to crunch 90 days of invoicing, accounts payable and taxes into a weekend isn’t healthy for you, nor your business. It may seem like an unnecessary expense in the beginning, but having a great accountant as part of your team will pay for themselves many times over in the long run.
2) Set very clear standards for your workflow process, and what qualifies as an excellent finished product at the project kickoff.
This might surprise you, but the people that you are leading can’t read your mind. You will need to set extremely detailed expectations; as far as process, and final delivery. This isn’t about micromanaging, moreover; it’s about getting the client the best work possible without wasting time, or resources.
3) Splurge on the nice business cards.
If you have to cut corners, cut them in ways that your clients, or potential clients don’t experience. Production value matters. Delivering a high quality experience through something as simple as a high end business card can go a long way.
4) Shed clients whom do not appreciate the company’s creative value.
This is tricky because it’s always hard to say no to revenue. However, revenue isn’t everything. If you find yourself in a special relationships where your client has turned you into an order taker – (example: you’re churning out subpar work while you’re continuously working weekends in an attempt to meet an unrealistic deadline for something they’re most likely going to be disappointed with anyway) you may want to distance yourself from this type of relationship. When you do, you may find yourself in a better state of mind, and better yet doing the kind of work that led you to starting your own agency in the first place.
5) Always pick up the phone and say hello with a smile.
Delivering great creative work matters, but in the long run healthy relationships matter more. If you’re a moody, loner creative, (like I was, and you’re starting your own business) get over yourself, and get ready to become an amazing account person as well. It’s probably the most important skill set you’ll need to master because creativity alone will only get you so far.

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