Tips for Creatives: Access to Credit

Big jobs can bring lots of opportunity, but also lots of cost. If you need to cover large third-party costs, or hire a bunch of freelancers, it helps to have a dependable line of credit.

Don’t wait until you need it. Find out how much credit you can get now – and ask how quickly you can get it – so you’re always ready. It will help you act with confidence.

Getting going is easy

With a low barrier to entry, a lot of creatives try setting up their own agencies. After all, you only need a laptop and the gift of the gab to get going. Suddenly, with a couple of quick wins under your belt, you’re in business building an agency.

But getting going is the easy part. Maintaining momentum takes more effort and planning. That’s especially so for client services businesses, where you have to manage relationships. Unfortunately, it’s where many small businesses, creative agencies included, come unstuck.

Having a point of difference helps

A unique service proposition (USP) can help businesses manage their growth. It gives owners a strategic focus, which makes it easier to identify priorities.

Coming up with a USP isn’t always easy when you’re in a crowded market. There are probably competitors doing similar things to you. But you should give it a shot.

Dave Prince, a co-founder at Ply Creative, came from a digital background and he wanted to stay in that space when building an agency with business partner, Mark Campbell. 

Client service is critical

Ply Creative delivers digital and branding solutions for software providers, entrepreneurial ventures, and established companies. The niche has been profitable, and Dave believes the agency’s commitment to client service has helped fan the flames.

“Customer service is at the heart of our business. It’s our main point of difference – we spend extra time with our clients to make sure they are receiving the attention and service they deserve.”

The challenges of building an agency

Scaling up a client services business can be hard. Attracting new clients diverts your attention from looking after existing ones. As more business comes in, it gets tougher to manage workflows and deliver on all your commitments.

Dave and Mark faced this challenge in Ply Creative’s third year. Positive word-of-mouth reputation was feeding strong agency growth, but resources were being stretched thin.

“Our business had been building bit by bit every month,” Dave says, “and our workload grew by 30%.” With all the new projects coming in, he was worried about letting down the clients they already had.