Forbes Experts Speak on How to Run a Successful Digital Agency

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Running a digital media agency can be difficult especially if you’re new at it. Even when you’re putting 100% effort in obstacles arise to knock you down. Forbes.com compiled a list of advice from 8 members of the Forbes Agency Council, for new digital marketing companies, and we want to share this advice with you.

1. Time is Money

It’s difficult to feel confident about approaching big clients or charging them for consulting with you, but a successful agency values its time.

“You don’t want to be the high bid in an RFP, but you also don’t want to be the ‘cheap’ agency option either. Value your time and the client will also.” – Dan Kahn, Kahn Media Inc.

2. Be Patient

You can’t expect to open your doors and have clients suddenly walking in. You have to market and network and build up a list of clientele.

“Always focus on operations and bottom line profitability, which will allow you, in turn, to be able to think creatively and service your clients well.” – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne

3. Be Persistent

Opening a business will be tough, but it can also be rewarding, the key is to stay determined and motivated through it all.

“Always look to gain market intelligence and expand your business and your services. The first three years will be the toughest but stick with it.” – Daniel Lazarz, Life of Dad Agency

4. No Freebies

Creating a sample using the latest marketing trends for a client is a nice gesture but may lead to nothing.

“It is tempting to think that if someone sees your work, they will be impressed and hire you for a paying job. In my 35 years in the field, it never helped.” – Nikolai Mentchoukov, LIQWID(R)

5. Focus on Your Strengths

Hire someone who can do what you can’t and work on making your skills the best they can be.

“Determine what services you are an expert at and refine your skills, services, and capabilities around those deliverables.” – Amanda Stein, EXPAND

6. Don’t Do, Teach

If you want things done a certain way, teach the people you work with to do it that way.

“You can’t scale your agency if you’re still doing everyone’s job — you have to focus on growth and let your staff shine. If you don’t create defined processes, then they won’t be able to do them without you.” – David Ward, Meticulosity

7. Don’t Break Even

You need to make more than you spend to pay your staff and yourself.

“You can start an agency with little to no money, but the importance of knowing your financial model and how you will make money, and then pay yourself, is key to success.” – Suttida Yang, Fastmarkit

8. Remember Who You Are

Knowing who you are is essential to creating a healthy business.

“When launching your agency, it’s critical to establish your culture and core values early on. Doing so will help to ensure that you attract and hire the right type of people. – David Lewis, DemandGen International, Inc.

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