With 2020 almost upon us, it’s time to start setting your New Years Resolutions. For some, your professional goal may be launching your own event agency, so why not take the first steps to make it happen?
Scott Cullather and Kristina McCoobery, the co-founders of global live brand storytelling agency INVNT, which has APAC offices in Sydney and Singapore, know the ins and outs of launching and expanding an agency.
In their new book, Challenge Everything™: The Battle Cry that Blew Sh*t Up and INVNTd Live Brand Storytelling™ , the duo shares anecdotes and advice for marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Here are six things they suggest you consider if you’re looking to launch your own business or agency.
1. Plan to Compete
Maybe you can’t compete because of your contract. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan to.
Don’t just sit there stewing in what you already know. You are your own exit strategy.
2. It’s Who You Know
Look around your office, your inbox, and your circle. Construct your dream team of creative partners and legal/financial advisors based on the super awesome geniuses with whom you already do your best work. (And ask them for attorney references if you don’t already have that covered.)
These are the people you’re taking with you. For now, forget about what you’re going to call yourselves, who’s designing the logo, or which espresso machine communicates your mission statement. In our industry, the people are the whole point.
That’s right, you heard us. If you’re unhappy and you know it, get “the hell out of Dodge.” Go out on your own or take a breather and regroup.
4. Go Jerry F**king Maguire
We’re not saying break the law, because you’re way too talented to get waylaid in legal proceedings. But if you built the campaign, if you brought in the business, if you manage the relationship and the account … don’t just slink into the night when you go.
Let each and every one of your clients know (preferably at the last minute and from your personal phone or computer to sidestep fallout). If your lawyer says it’s okay, contact your clients after you leave, and if at all possible take them with you. Who knows? They might even choose to follow you.
5. IP Is Your Superpower
Besides its people, the biggest asset any service-driven business has is its intellectual property. Our name may be INVNT, but we don’t invent hardware or software—we invent ideas and brand positioning, both of which, turns out, are just as stealable and replicable as patented “stuff.”
So anytime we have the opportunity to actually trademark or register, we spend the money and do it. And we strongly recommend this to every one of you. The value of this practice is worth its weight in gold, because IP is a key differentiator that nobody else can claim. Don’t just make great shit. Own it!
6. If you start your own thing, get every single employee to sign a contract
Don’t be naïve! If you took all your marbles with you when you left, you know exactly how it’s done. If you don’t want it done to you, you must set healthy and professional boundaries with your team.
Challenge Everything™: The Battle Cry that Blew Sh*t Up and INVNTd Live Brand Storytelling™ is available for purchase through retailers such as Amazon.