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How to Start an Agency: Step-by-Step Guide to Success

Junun Saleh

Are you looking for a way to start your own business and be in control of your own future? If so, starting an agency might be the perfect option for you.

However, it’s also going to be a lot of hard work. There are many things to do to get your business up and running.

This article will discuss the steps you need to become a successful business owner of an agency and everything you need to know to get started, from choosing a niche to set up your finances.

Let’s dive in!

What it takes to start an agency

The role of an agency is to bring expertise to solve a problem that any organization or business can’t. . .”  Mark Iremonger

There are a few things that you will need to start an agency. The most important thing is a good idea.

You need to have a service or product to offer to businesses.

You should be able to provide something unique or better than what is currently accessible.

There are three essential items to consider before establishing your marketing agency. You’ll need capital for the initial stages of your business. Even if you set up an agency yourself, it will still cost money.

You will need to pay for office space, equipment, and marketing. You may also need to hire employees or contractors.

To be successful, you will need to be able to sell your services. You need to be able to convince businesses that your services are worth the cost. 

You also need to be able to build relationships with clients and maintain those relationships.

You will need to be organized and have a plan for how you will operate your business.

It would help if you have an idea of what services you want to offer and how you will sell them.

You need to set up some goals and objectives for your business.

And finally, you need to be patient. Building a successful agency takes time. You won’t see results overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, and determination.

But if you stick with it, you can achieve success. So, if you’re ready to start an agency, keep these things in mind, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful businessman.

How to choose the right services for your agency

When starting an agency, choose your services carefully. You want to make sure you provide a service that your target market needs and is willing to purchase.

Here are a few tips for choosing the right services:

1. Do your research. Find out what services are in high demand and which businesses are seeking for it. This can help you narrow down your options and focus on services with the most potential.

2. Choose services you’re good at. Offering a service that you’re knowledgeable about and passionate about is key to running a successful agency. 

When clients see how excited you are about your work, they’ll be more likely to trust you and hire your agency.

3. Consider your target market. When choosing services, it’s important to consider who your target market is and what they’re looking for. 

Offering services tailored to their needs is more likely to result in sales than offering a generic service.

4. Ask your clients what services they’re interested in. This can help you better understand what services you should offer.

5. Offer a variety of services. This gives your clients more options and makes finding what they’re looking for easier.

6. Stay up-to-date on industry trends. Keeping up with the latest trends in your industry is crucial if you want to offer the latest and most sought-after services.

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Set the price 

Once you’ve chosen the right services for your agency, it’s time to start thinking about how to set the price. 

Pricing your services too low can result in financial problems down the road, but pricing them too high can turn potential clients away.

When pricing your services, it’s important to balance making a profit and not price them too high. One way to do this is to calculate how much it costs you to provide the service and then add a markup to cover your costs and make a profit.

When setting the price for your services, it’s important to make sure that it aligns with your overall business strategy. For example, if you’re trying to be aggressive and penetrate the market or acquire a new client, you might want to lower your prices temporarily. Profit 5-10% on services is a good rule of thumb.

Here are a few more tips for pricing your services:

Charge what you’re worth

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth. If you provide a high-quality service, clients will be willing to pay the price.

Charging too little for your services can be damaging to your business in the long run. You want to make sure you’re covering your costs and making a profit.

Stay competitive

Keep an eye on your competition and make sure your prices are in line with competitors.

Offer discounts sparingly

Offering discounts can be a great way to attract new clients but don’t do it too often or you’ll devalue your services.

Have a package pricing structure

This makes it easier for clients to understand how much they’re paying and makes it easier for you to calculate your costs.

Another thing to consider when pricing your services is how much value they provide to the client. If the service you’re providing is something that the client can’t easily find elsewhere, you can charge more.

Finally, keep up with the competition and adjust your prices accordingly. If another agency in your area charges significantly more or less for the same services, you’ll need to change your prices to stay competitive.

How to market your new agency

After you figure out how to start an agency, how do you market it?

  • You may want to look into how other companies have marketed themselves in the past. If your marketing tactics differ enough, you should find a way to get those differences highlighted.
  • The key is to use originality and creativity without overdoing it. If you’re trying many things and none of them are working, it’s not going to help if you start doing even more things.
  • Keep an eye on what people are interested in on social media sites. Try to make content that interests them. 

But be careful not to post things that make your company look bad. 

You should re-read your draft before posting/uploading it several times. For example, is it not racism? Is it could have a positive impact? Etc.

Avoid what happened to Adidas in 2017 when sending emails to their subscribers about Boston Marathon:

Most people see this as in-sensitive because subscribers think this is related to the bombing tragedy in 2013. At last, Adidas made a tweet to apologize for this email.

Industry Highlight

Let’s check some industry-specific tips on how to start your own agency. The list below are 8 favorite agency businesses that you can consider as your own agency business:

Start an agency in a digital marketing business

Any business will always need marketing agencies to help them reach a larger audience and scale its business.

When you own a digital marketing agency, you can focus on helping these businesses with social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, and other creative agency services.

The barriers to entry for owning a digital marketing agency are relatively low. You don’t need a lot of money to get started, and you can quickly learn the skills you need by taking online courses or reading books.

To be successful, you’ll need to be able to market your services well and build a good reputation with clients. It’s also essential to keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing so you can offer the latest and most effective services.

​​Start an agency in the advertising agency

Advertising agency specializes in creating and placing advertising for its clients.

Advertising agencies provide various services, including market research, advertising campaigns, media planning and buying, creative development, and production.

There are two types of advertising agencies: full-service agencies and specialized agencies.

]Full-service advertising agencies offer a wide range of services, while specialized advertising agencies focus on a specific area, such as digital marketing or public relations.

Many advertising agencies are owned by holding companies that also own other marketing and communication businesses, such as PR firms and event planning companies.

Start an agency in the entertainment business

As a professional entertainment agency, you work with a wide range of clients to help them book the ideal entertainers for their events.

You should understand that every client is different, and you take the time to get to know each one so that you can provide personalized service.

You also believe that your clients should have access to the best entertainment options.

Whether they’re looking for a musician, comedian, or something else entirely, you can help your client find the perfect act for their event.

Start an agency in the public relations business

A public relations agency is a professional communications firm that develops and implements strategies to help organizations achieve their unique business goals.

By aligning an organization’s communications with its business objectives, a public relations agency can help create a unique value proposition that sets the organization apart from its competitors.

Additionally, a public relations agency can provide counsel on issues management, crisis communications, media relations, and reputation management.

By partnering with a public relations agency, organizations can improve their overall communications strategy and achieve their unique business goals.

Start an agency in creative business

A creative agency can be a great asset for any business. These professionals can help you develop the right strategy for your marketing and advertising needs.

They can also create eye-catching and effective campaigns that will reach your target audience.

In addition, a creative agency can provide a fresh perspective on your business, helping you to see things in new and innovative ways.

If you are looking to take your business to the next level, a creative agency is worth considering.

Start an agency business in talent human resources business

Starting an employment agency can be a great way to tap into the human resources market.

By providing a service that helps businesses find the right employees for their needs, you can build a successful and rewarding business.

There are a few things to keep in mind when starting an employment agency, however. First, you will need to have a strong understanding of the human resources market.

This includes knowing where to find potential employees, how to screen candidates, and how to negotiate contracts.

You will also need to build strong relationships with businesses in your community. By establishing yourself as a trusted resource for employers, you will be more likely to win their business.

With these factors in mind, starting an employment agency can be a great way to build a successful business.

Start an agency in the travel business

The first step is to decide what kind of agency you want to start. There are many different types of agencies, from those that specialize in cruises to those that focus on adventure travel. 

Once you’ve decided on the type of agency you want to start, you’ll need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. 

In most cases, you’ll need to have a Business License and a Travel Agent License. You can usually obtain these licenses through your local Chamber of Commerce or Department of tourism

Start an agency in an insurance business

Starting an insurance agency can be more complex than starting other agencies.

You’ll need to obtain a license from your state’s insurance department.

Once you have your license, you’ll need to find an insurance carrier to partner with. After that, you can start building your clientele by selling policies directly or through independent agents.

These are just some examples of starting an agency in different industries.

The most important thing is choosing an industry you’re passionate about and building a solid foundation for your business.

With hard work and dedication, you can make your agency a success.

Industry Risks

Agencies, just like other businesses, face potential risks. Before you start an agency, you need to understand the risks associated with the industry and how to mitigate them.

The first step is to research your industry inside and out. This means understanding the current landscape, the history of your chosen field, and the future trends that will impact your business. Only by understanding these things can you hope to navigate the risks inherent in your industry.

Digital marketing agency risks

For example, let’s say you want to start a digital marketing agency. Some of the risks you need to be aware of include:

  • The way people buy and sell things has changed because of the internet. More and more people are buying and selling items online. This has changed the way businesses need to market their products and services.
  • The potential for clients to leave at any time
  • The high cost of acquiring new clients

When starting a digital marketing agency, these are just a few risks you need to know. But don’t let these risks scare you off – they can all be mitigated with proper planning and execution.

Travel agency risks

Another example is the travel agency, such as you will be competing against travel apps and websites that allow people to book their travel.

That is a considerable risk, but there are ways to mitigate it.

There are ways to mitigate it, such as providing services that travel apps and websites cannot offer.

Insurance agency risks

There are a few significant risks that agencies face when starting.

One of the biggest is not being able to attract enough clients. This can be due to several reasons, such as not having a strong enough marketing strategy or not offering a good service.

Another significant risk is having financial problems, which can be caused by things like overspending or not being able to generate enough revenue.

Lastly, another risk that agencies face is not being able to keep up with the competition. This can be due to not being innovative enough or not having the right team.

One of the most significant risks is liability. An agency can be held liable for the actions of its employees.

The company might be sued if an employee makes a mistake.

Another risk is financial. An agency can go bankrupt if it doesn’t manage its finances properly.

This is why it’s essential to have a good business plan and know how to budget appropriately.

Now that you understand the risks of starting an agency, it’s time to plan your business.

The importance of a business plan

A business plan is a roadmap for how your business will operate. It outlines your business goals, how you plan to achieve them, and how you will measure success. A business plan is also required to secure funding from investors or a bank.

When starting an agency, your business plan should include the following:

  • Business description: what services do you offer, and who your target market is?
  • Marketing plan: how will you reach your target market and marketing budget?
  • Financial plan: how much money do you need to start, and how will you make money?
  • Management team: who will be responsible for running the day-to-day operations of your business?

A business plan is a crucial part of starting an agency. It will help you track progress, secure funding, and attract talented employees.

Getting the clients

The best way to find clients is through networking. 

Get involved with industry associations, attend trade shows, and attend business events.

You can also use social media to connect with potential clients. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for finding businesses that may need your services.

Another way to find clients is through referrals.

Ask your current clients if they know anyone who could benefit from your services. Referrals are one of the most powerful marketing tools because they come with a built-in seal of approval.

Finally, you can also use cold calling and email marketing to reach potential clients.

Cold calling can be challenging, but it’s a great way to directly get in front of decision-makers. Email marketing is a more passive approach, but it can be effective if done correctly.

Now that we’ve covered how to find clients let’s move on to the next step in starting an agency: building your team.

Building your team

As your business grows, you’ll need to add employees to your team. The first step in doing this is to identify the skills and experience that you need.

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start interviewing candidates.

When interviewing candidates, ask about their experience with similar businesses and their understanding of your industry.

You should also ask about their availability and how they handle challenging situations. Once you’ve found a candidate that meets your needs, be sure to extend a job offer as soon as possible.

The final step in building your team is to create an onboarding plan. This plan should include an overview of your business, an introduction to your team, and a training plan for new employees.

Creating an onboarding plan will help ensure that your new employees are productive from their first day.

Creating a brand

Your brand is how your customers perceive you. It’s how they identify you and what they expect from you.

When creating a brand for your agency, you should start by defining your target market.

Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you can create a unique selling proposition that sets you apart from other agencies.

You should also create a visual identity for your brand. This includes choosing a color scheme, creating a logo, and developing a style guide.

Your visual identity should be consistent across all of your marketing materials. This will help customers recognize you and remember you when they need your services.

Let’s move on to the next step in starting an agency: developing your website.

Developing your website

Your website is how you’ll reach the majority of your customers. It’s also how you’ll generate leads and close sales.

When developing your website, you should start by defining your goals.

Are you looking to generate leads? Sell products or services online? Provide information about your business?

Once you know your goals, you can start creating your website.

If you’re not a web developer, plenty of resources are available to help you. WordPress is a popular platform that offers templates and plugins to make website development easy.

Once your website is live, track your progress with Google Analytics. This will help you understand how customers interact with your site and what changes are needed.

Marketing your business

There are many ways to market your business. The most important thing is to choose the right mix of marketing activities for your target market.

Popular marketing channels for agencies include paid advertising, social media, content marketing, and email marketing.

Paid advertising is a great way to reach new customers quickly. Social media is a great way to connect with potential and current customers.

Content marketing is a more passive approach, but it can be very effective. Email marketing is also a great way to reach out to potential and current customers.

Set reasonable targets and a budget for each activity while developing your marketing strategy. This will help you track your progress and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts.

Now that we’ve covered how to start an agency, let’s recap the main points:

  • Build a great team. This includes finding the right employees and creating an onboarding plan.
  • Create a strong brand. This starts with defining your target market and developing a unique selling proposition.
  • Develop an effective website. WordPress is a great platform for this. Be sure to track your progress with Google Analytics.
  • Market your business effectively. This includes setting realistic goals and budgeting for each activity.

Tips for keeping your agency running smoothly

Starting and running your agency can be a daunting task, but you can make it a successful business with the right tips and tricks.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure you have a clear vision for your agency and stick to it.

When starting an agency, it’s important to have a clear vision and stay focused on it. This helps keep you and your team on track and makes it easier to make decisions.

2. Stay organized and keep track of your finances.

Running an agency requires a lot of organization, especially when it comes to finances. Keep track of every penny you spend and make sure you’re charging enough for your services.

3. Build a strong team of talented professionals who share your vision.

A successful agency consists of talented professionals who share the same vision. Find the best people for the job and make sure they are a good fit for your company culture.

Maintain high-quality services

When you start an agency, how do you keep clients happy? The answer is simple: quality.

And the best way to maintain high-quality service is by doing your homework and planning ahead of time.

This means that before you take on a new client, either as their exclusive agent or just for one specific project, make sure you know how to deliver what they need.

For example, if you’re starting a digital marketing agency, you should understand how to create and execute a successful marketing campaign.

This means researching the latest trends, studying various marketing strategies, and knowing how to measure and analyze data.

Similarly, if you’re starting a travel agency, you should have deep knowledge of your destination and understand booking travel ins and outs.

In short, do your research and be prepared to deliver quality services from day one. This will help you attract and retain clients and build a successful agency, others will follow like:

  • The clients are happy, and you can continue to provide them with high-quality services.
  • The client may promote or refer to your products/services, increasing revenue for you and your company.
  • You will be able to establish a good reputation as an honest seller of products/services who deliver on their promises.
  • It is easier, cheaper, and more time-efficient to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones via marketing campaigns or by looking for new clients who might not value our services as much due to how we treat them initially. 
  • First impressions last: how you treat people at first contact with them is how they will remember us if we deliver on what we say we will do.

Growing your agency and scaling your business

When your business starts running well, that might be the time you are strategically planning to scale the business.

You want to make sure that everything is in order before taking that step. Ensure that you have a good team in place and have the necessary resources to support the growth.

You’ll also want to have a solid marketing strategy to attract new clients.

And finally, you’ll need to make sure that your finances are in order and that you have the cash flow to support the growth of your business.

With all of that in place, you can start to think about how you want to grow your agency.

You can choose to grow organically or through acquisition.

  • Organic growth is when you grow your business by adding new clients and employees.
  • Acquisition growth is when you buy another agency or merge with another agency.

Both have pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh your options and decide what’s best for your agency.


Now that you know how to start an agency, the next step is to think strategically about how you can scale your business and make it a success.

This means setting goals, planning out your marketing strategy, and creating systems that will help you manage your agency more efficiently.

In brief:

  • Understand what type of services you will offer
  • Do your research on how to deliver those services
  • Be prepared to provide quality services from day one
  • Attract and retain clients to build a successful agency
  • Stay up to date with industry trends
  • Offer competitive pricing
  • Build a strong team of experts in your field

If you can do all of this, you’ll become a successful business owner.

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