Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,“what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.
There are a good few reasons why solpreneurs and smaller creative business can keep up with corporate marketing agencies. Solopreneurs and those running a boutique agency don’t have the same overhead costs as bigger firms and can often offer more focused and dedicated services. Solopreneurs and those running a boutique agency owners also tend to have fewer clients. In order to gain corporate level clients, there are a few things solpreneurs and boutique agencies can do to make their services more appealing.
A lot of boutique owners start off working for bigger firms and then end up starting their own business. It’s important to build up a body of work for your portfolio that doesn’t just include projects from prior employers. Consider creating case studies that outline the creative process. Be sure to share success stories.
You can get away with working from home as a boutique agency, especially if you’re a solopreneur. You might have the best luck meeting with clients at their offices and keep your own office expenses low. If you outgrow your home office, consider finding an office space near your ideal client base and not just near your current clients.
Equipment, furniture, and great decor
Even if you’re a solopreneur with a home office, you need office equipment and furniture. If you are going to share an office make sure you’ve considered security concerns. If you decide to rent the business space, consider setting up camera, alarms, or even hiring security guards to check on the location after hours.
A great team
Boutique agencies rely on great teams that work together to deliver the best results. You won’t be able to do everything on your own, so it’s vital to have a few good people you can turn to create better quality work at a fast pace. Whether you hire a freelancer or a full-time employee make sure you’ve accounted for taxes and employer contributions.
To get your fledgling company off the ground, you are going to need clients. Make sure to brush up on your networking skills. Start by attending local business events and get to know people. Ask what they do, and find out who is who in your locale. Put yourself out there, but avoid giving the hard sell every time you meet someone new. People will be interested, up to a point. But it doesn’t take long to pick up a reputation for being pushy.
As a creative boutique, it is essential you portray the image that you are creative and professional. While it can take a time to build up a good reputation, as long as that is your end goal, you will likely be successful. While building your reputation make sure to spend time working on strong communications, marketing, and advertising campaigns for your business in addition to strong campaigns for your clients.
Be prepared to go that extra mile for your clients. This is a good mantra for all aspects of your professional life. Some basic tips include remembering to always be friendly, remember names and spend time getting to know your customers. Don’t overdo meals and gifts. Keep things simple, and make sure you underline how much you appreciate your clients. For example, when clients and customers call a large firm they often have to go through two or three people before getting to the right person. When you are a boutique owner, make sure you – or someone who can help – is the first person a client gets on the phone. That can make a huge difference.