Starting an Advertising Agency – Sample Business Plan Template PDF

Interested in small advertising agency ideas? If YES, here is how to start an ad agency service company with no money and no experience. How much does it cost to start up?

How to Start an Advertising Agency Business

Are you considering starting an advertising agency? This business idea is just exploding with lots of possibilities. Starting an advertising agency can be very rewarding and can be run from a home office.

If you have advertising experience or you have worked in an advertising company before, you can start a successful advertising agency of your own. Though the competition in the industry is high, but with smart marketing strategies in places, you can always scale up.

As advertising agency makes money in different ways, it is very important as an entrepreneur to decide what type of advert agency you want to run. An advertising agency can be started with a small capital budget as it doesn’t sell products but services.


If you are willing to endure through perseverance teamed with dedication and the ability to take risk, then you have enough potential to start up an agency.

Here are possible steps you need in starting an advertising agency:

Decide on Your Goal of the Business

Before starting your advertising agency, you will need to decide if you want to build the next big advertising agency or you want to run it as a part-time business. your goal will determine how you will run your business entirely.

Decide the Types of Advertising Agency You want to Run

Like I said earlier, advertising agency makes money in many ways. Traditional agencies create advertising copies to be used in television, radios, billboard etc. Other advertising agency just focus on web advertising which includes search engine optimization and keywords research tactics.

So, you have to decide the types of advertising you want to run and list your services. Most big advertising agencies offer a wide range of services while other specializes on two or three services. Figuring out a specific niche will help guide you in areas you should concentrate your efforts in.

Create a Business Plan for Your Advertising Agency

In starting an advertising agency, you need a detailed business and operational plan. This is essential if you intend getting loans or getting angel investors to invest in your agency. Aside that, you need a business plan to run your business.

A good business plan for an advertising agency should contain:

  • Executive summary of the business.
  • A projection of the profitability of the firm.
  • Operational cost.
  • Expected capital.
  • Marketing strategies etc.

When you have a business plan, it gives you instructions on sticking with the goals in mind.

Obtain Business License and Permits

Before you can start an advertising agency, you will need to visit the Internal Revenue Service to acquire the license and permits to run such a business. Without these documents, your business operation will be disturbed and brands may not want to work with you thinking your agency is not legit.

Get an Office Location

After your agency has been granted the permit and license to operate, the next step for you is to go get a location where you will site your advertising agency. Set the office up with office equipment like computers, dedicated fax machine and phone, printers and furniture.

Even if you want to be running your advertising agency from home, your home office still need to be equip with office supplies and equipment.

Build up a Portfolio

For potential clients to trust and want to work with you, you will need to show them your portfolio because it is your selling point. Your portfolio is a collection of your past work in the advertising industry.

Most people that end up starting their own advertising firm have worked in the industry before as an employee. But, if you have not worked in the field before, you will need to start taking small work from small clients so you can use to build up your portfolio.

Another option is to go work as an employee for an advertising firm so you can gather experience and credentials that can be used in your portfolio to get potential clients.

Build a Website

If a business doesn’t have an online presence, then it will be hard to reach out to potential clients. Your business website is your only business card. If you don’t have a professionally-designed website, you are invisible to a large market.

Make your website very attractive. Include your company contact information, why clients should work with your agency, testimonials from past satisfied clients and also add a blog to it where you will be publishing contents that will be valuable to your clients.

Don’t forget to always keep your website updated with advert campaigns and articles.

Start Building Your Clients Base

This is the most important part of the business. You need to decide who you want to market your services to depending on the advert services your agency specializes in. Consult local and regional businesses who may be interested in your services and pitch them.

Also ask your contacts for referrals. Focus on contacts who work with big businesses and agencies. If you have worked in advertising before, you should have a list of contacts to pitch.

Introduce Your Agency to Media Outlets

It is also important that you introduce yourself to media outlets that you will want to use so you can know their advertising rates, demographics and specs. Discuss benefits your agency will get using their media outlet for your clients advertising jobs. Most media outlets offer 10% discount to agencies.

Offer First Deal as a Bait

This is one best way to win customers to give your agency a try. You know most businesses will not want to try a new company because they feel they are inexperience do execute their work. To get these kind of potential clients, offer a low cost first time rate to build trust between you and the customers.

Run Powerful Campaigns to Create Customer’s Awareness

Your campaign may use elements of direct mail of marketing materials, emails and phone calls or the internet. Facebook and Twitter ads can be used to create awareness of your agency on social media. Always do this to stay on top of your advertising game.

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