It’s that time of year again – about to close out the end-of-year and start to think about next year.

frost road

Find a new direction for growth.

Ad agencies are trying to maintain, and grow, their piece of the client’s budget. As clients spend the last of their marketing dollars for the year, it’s time for your agency to put into place a new business plan.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get into planning:

Review past efforts: Evaluate everything in your new business plan each year. Is there any low hanging fruit your agency can go after? Are there any markets that are no longer viable? Are there any new markets that have potential? Is your brand still relevant? Are your new business tools still effective? Do you need any new tools? Conducting a new business review encourages new and better thinking and ideas.

Reward key players: Recognize and properly reward those around you who really helped in generating new business this past year. Build a culture that loves new business. Your staff is a key element in any agency growth plan. Get them involved. Rewarding those who really helped land some business can boost employee spirit moving into the new year.

Identify new prospects: Do you know exactly what the perfect client is for your agency? Has it changed over the past year? What is considered the perfect size or profile or budget for you? What exactly are they looking for and how do you deliver that? What are the key benefits from working with your firm? Build a strong prospect profile and make sure your new business efforts tap into their needs. Always be adding new names into your list.

Plan for flexibility: New business always involves some guesswork. You may find new opportunities, or a defining moment, that could change everything. Be ready to go off script and invest in a new direction. What happens if you land a whale? What happens if your largest client walks? Be prepared.

Build in action: It’s more important to have a “good enough” plan, well executed, over the “perfect” new business plan months down the road. Agencies are known for over-thinking. This is a fatal mistake when it comes to new business. Plan on doing something, anything, everyday on new business – map out action steps for you and your staff to do regularly that will grow your agency. Keep it simple and focus on consistently nudging prospects and building awareness!

Don’t forget clients: Install a strong organic growth plan. This requires planning, people and processes. First, double check and make sure your client’s expectations are being met. Next, generate a list of business building ideas, value-based initiatives, and value-added services for each client. Keep the list handy and plan on delivering them to clients on a regular basis. Stress to your agency that organic growth not only matters, but it is critical to their success in the future.

Planning New Business

The biggest hurdle for growth is often getting the plan right from the start. Once an agency understands how to set up and run a proper new business program, few or little changes are needed down line.

Need help getting a plan together for next year? Drop us a line and let’s chat. We can act as both facilitator and trainer to help develop new business plans that are focused on your unique situation.

Let me close with this note we received from one of our agency friends, a full service regional agency:

I just wanted to take this opportunity to recommend Sanders Consulting Group. After working with them we’re now developing tools internally to better brand our own agency and build a strong new business development program. It’s ironic that we provide most of these services to our clients, but never focus on ourselves. I’m also certain that if it hadn’t been for them, we would have never taken the necessary time to analyze where we are, where we want to go, what our strengths and weaknesses are, our resources, and focus on growing the agency. We’re very confident that Sanders Consulting is the best firm to take us where we want to go.


And Happy Holidays!


Outstanding photo by Tomasz Kaluzny