How to succeed as a budding media entrepreneur

If you’re planning a start-up in advertising, marketing or media – follow these essential tips to maximise your chances of business success

The life of a budding marketing, advertising or media entrepreneur is a fast-paced and exciting one.

That said, it can also prove intimidating, so what can you do to make your life in the fast lane as rewarding and successful as possible?

Get social

Social media is a vital part of life as a marketing, advertising or media entrepreneur and can offer a decided advantage over any competition that isn’t utilising it. Think of it as a cost-effective advertising platform, audience builder, brand builder, customer service tool and networking tool rolled into one. Keep shameless self-promotion to a minimum, and concentrate on building your audience by posting a mixture of industry news, company news, visual content and tips and advice instead.

Don’t forget to engage with your audience though. Ask them questions and show that you value their opinion, and always reply to their comments, whether good or bad.

Learn from the best

Whether they are seasoned industry leaders or successful entrepreneurs, keeping your ears and eyes tipped towards the experts is a great way of educating yourself.

Take Debbie Klein (@girlfromafrica), a respected name in the world of advertising and a great source of articles about everything from advertising the Millennials way, to creating viral content. Klein even recently won The Drum’s ‘Woman of the Year’ award.

Speaking of The Drum (@TheDrum), they too are a valuable resource on everything marketing, advertising and media-related. Their Twitter page is full of links to their blog posts and other publications offering invaluable insight into all areas of the sector.

Useful links to start your business

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Of course there is also Richard Branson (@richardbranson) – possibly the most famous entrepreneur of our time. As well as insights into his enviable lifestyle, he is also a great source of inspirational quotes, advice and blog posts for entrepreneurs who are both yet to set up their business or just starting out on their own.

Learning from the best isn’t all about tracking down big industry players though; you can also pick up tips and advice by posing questions to relevant online communities, enlisting the help of a mentor or taking part in a course. Manchester Business School in particular runs both BSc (Hons) Management (Marketing) and MSc Marketing courses that will equip you with the management, research and development skills necessary to reap entrepreneurial success.

Nurture your network

‘Networking’ is a word that conjures up images of stiff, dull dinners and embarrassing schmoozing, but networking doesn’t have to become a cringe-worthy stereotype.

While there is something to be said for working the room and networking in person, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of networking online, and not just with industry leaders and mentors. Utilise things like social media to connect with other entrepreneurs that are at the same stage in their career as you. Ask them questions, listen carefully, learn from them and don’t turn silent once they have handed out important titbits of advice. Keep chatting to them, build a strong relationship and you never know, it could end up turning into an innovative partnership that will come in handy in the future.

The Telegraph recently released a great resource full of useful websites that will help you to network successfully online.

Delve into the past

Making new connections and forging new relationships is great, but don’t forget to draw on previous connections as well.

Did you have a good relationship with a client in a previous job who could benefit your new venture? Don’t be afraid to ask them to come on board. If you did some great work for them before and made sure you kept in touch, chances are they will be more than willing to work with you again.

Stay ahead of the curve

Marketing, advertising and media are some of the industries that are most fraught with change. The shifting tastes and behaviours of consumers mean that to secure success, you need to stay constantly up to date with the newest trends in your industry.

From design trends and cultural trends, to marketing trends and technological trends, they all affect marketing, advertising and media entrepreneurs and could mean the difference between being ignored or embraced by your target audience. It’s like William Bernbach said: “Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.”

20/20 vision

When asked, “How do you think a small start-up of today could build a powerful brand of tomorrow?” Maurice Saatchi answered, “With a razor sharp and precise understanding of the one thing it wants to stand for.” Confusion and indecision can spell disaster for even large brands, meaning your vision as a marketing, advertising or media entrepreneur must be as concrete as possible to ensure success.

Before launching your business, ensure you have a clear plan in place, as well as concrete brand guidelines and an ethos that communicates an infectious passion. Tell your potential customers exactly what you are about and how you can help them, and always keep learning to stay ahead of the competition.

Insider information

The marketing, advertising and media industries are some of the most competitive, and difficult to break into, especially if you only hold a limited amount of experience prior to launching your start-up. The best way to get started and make a name for yourself is to start small, and experience the industry from the inside. As Dr James Hickie, a lecturer in enterprise at Manchester Business School, says:

“Marketing and advertising are very competitive industries in which to set up a business.  Try to get some relevant work experience related to your particular business idea (e.g. in a social media marketing agency or PR agency). Also, try to seek out an entrepreneur as a mentor, who has grown a successful business in marketing or advertising, so you can tap them for advice when you start your own business.”

So there you have it – knowing your market, educating yourself and just being passionate about what you do are fool proof keys to entrepreneurial success. But if you are still feeling intimidated by life as a marketing, advertising or media entrepreneur, just remember what Mark Twain once said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”


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