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4 Free Agency | Business Plans | PDF Templates & Examples

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Advertising Agency Business Plan

Looking for the perfect business plan for your new advertising agency You are at the right place We have created this sample Apex Solution Advertising agency business plan to help you get started with your business plan writing

creative agency business plan pdf

Entrepreneurs spend months building great products, but imagine what if it does not reach the right audience? Can the startup taste success?

The answer is simple, No.

That makes marketing and advertisement the most important part of the business. But when owners do not have expertise in this domain themselves, they usually hire professional agencies to handle the marketing part of their business.

A marketing agency, advertising agency, creative agency, or ad agency , is a business directed to creating, planning, and executing marketing campaigns and sometimes other forms of promotion activities for its clients.

If you want to start a new advertising agency business, the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our sample Apex Solution – Advertising Agency Business Plan  created using upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new advertising agency, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of  service-related business plans .

Reading sample business plans will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for and also it will show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.

We have created this sample Apex Solution – Advertising Agency Business Plan for you to get a good idea about how perfect an advertising agency business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Advertising Agency Business Plan Outline

This is the standard advertising agency business plan outline which will cover all the important sections that you should include in your business plan.

After  getting started with upmetrics , you can copy this sample business plan into your business plan and modify the required information and download your advertising agency business plan pdf  and doc file . It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

creative agency business plan pdf

Business Planning Resources

We have plenty of  free business planning resources  available to help you with your planning. You can download our resources to learn all about business planning.


Not found what you are looking for? Explore our 200+ sample business plans to find match for your business.

creative agency business plan pdf

DISCLAIMER: The business plans, templates, and articles contained on are not to be considered as legal advice. All content is for informational purposes, and upmetrics makes no claim as to accuracy, legality or suitability. The site owner shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions or for damages of any kind.

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FREE 10+ Advertising Agency Business Plan Templates in PDF | MS Word | Excel

When is a business plan needed? You would probably say during the planning process of your business, which is partly right. The whole truth is you need a business plan all the time as long as you have a business. A business plan must be ready before the business actually starts its operations.

Advertising Agency Business Plan Templates Pdf Word Excel

5+ business plan cover letter samples sample templates, 7+ sample bar business plans sample templates, 9+ sample film business plans sample templates.

Business plans are specific to the type of business where they are going to be used on, especially on some details where necessary. Advertising agency businesses, like all other businesses need a business plan. Here we have advertising business plan templates that can be used as reference as we learn about business plans.

Sample Advertising Agency Business Plan

advertising agency business plan

Size: A4, US

Advertising Business Plan for Model Agency

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Winning Advertising Agency New Business Plan Program

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Size: 124 KB

Virtual Advertising Agency Business Plan

virtual advertising agency business plan 1

Size: 824 KB

Confidential Business Plan for Digital Advertising Agency

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Size: 612 KB

Graphic Design Business Plan Proposal

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What Is an Advertising Agency Business Plan Template?

When you need help promoting your business, you can turn to advertising agencies to help you. And advertising agency is a creative business that offers advertising services, marketing services and other forms of promotions for its clients. They do all the creative work, content creation, planning and handling of the advertisement to ensure that you get what you pay for. So if you do not have talent when it comes to this kinds of things but only know how to manage your business, then hiring the services of an advertising agency business would be a good decision.

An advertising agency business, just like all other businesses, started with preparation and creation of a business plan. This business plan is the fundamental tool that helps the business operate the way it should so that it can accomplish its goals for for the future and become a successful business venture. It is also being used by the business for a number of things like the following:

Writing an advertising agency business plan is expected to take some time as there are a couple of things that must be included in it. That is why there are advertising agency business plan that are now made available to make the task easy and convenient. Most business plans contain the same components and the variations would then be based on the type of business being planned for. With a business plan templates, you can spend more time on working with the specific details as the template will already provide you with the common ones.

You may find other business plan related articles, like Restaurant Business Plans and Bakery Business Plans on our website.

What Services Are Offered by an Advertising Agency Business?

We already know that an advertising agency business does advertising activities for their clients, but remember that they also do other related services. And what are these services? In case you want to know, here are some of the services that are being offered by an advertising agency business.

Other advertising agency businesses offer more or less services depending on their specializations. There are now more advertising an marketing options than there were before, like digital marketing  and content marketing .

Tips in Writing an Effective Business Plan

Having a hard time making that business plan you are writing better? Well, we bring you good news as we have here tips that you can use to help you.

You may also check out  How to Build a Business Plan That Actually Works to help you with writing a business plan and  Elements of a Business Plan so that you can have guide on what things you must include. There are also other related articles where you can gather templates, like  Sample Professional Business Plan Templates and  Short Business Plan Templates .

Detailed Sample Business Plan for Graphics and Advertising

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Size: 163 KB

Advertising and Marketing Plan Template

advertising and marketing plan template

Radio and Advertising Media Plan Template

radio advertising media plan template

Size: 10 KB

Printable Advertising Business Plan Samples

printable advertising business plan samples

Size: 131 KB

Internet Advertising Business Plan

internet advertising business plan

Size: 118 KB

Advantages of Business Plan Templates

The advantages of a business plan templates that you should know are as follows:

Who doesn’t want to finish their tasks quickly and conveniently? Templates are made for everybody, whether they are busy or not. And if you still need more templates, we offer a variety of them on our website, like  Business Plan SWOT Analysis Template and  Service Business Plan Templates .

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3+ Advertising Agency Business Plan Templates – PDF, Word

Every single day, we are treated to an endless flow of advertisements wherever we go. There’s ads on television and radio. When we connect to the internet, we see ads online before watching the video we want to watch. Sometimes it is found at the bottom part of the website that we are surfing on. Businesses go more than just an extra mile to promote their products. Sales shoot up to high numbers, proving to be beneficial for the company and its consumers. This is made possible by advertising agencies that make promotional content for companies.

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Advertising Agency Business Plan

advertising agency business plan template

Advertising Agency Business Plan Template

advertising agency business plan template

Writing an Ad Agency Business Plan

1. write the background, 2. expound your goals, 3. state the finances, 4. include appendices and proofread, digital advertising agency business plan.

digital advertising agency business plan

The Money-Making Process of Advertising Agencies

1. getting clients, 2. conducting market research, 3. creating advertising campaigns, 4. promotions, how advertising agencies are paid, 1. hourly rate, 2. fixed pricing, 3. value-based payment, 4. hybrid payment, more in plan templates.

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How to Write a Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan (with PDF Template)

Digital Agency Business Plan

Table of Contents

Why do you need a digital marketing agency business plan, typical business plan structures, how to construct the business plan, building out the business plan, market research findings, unique selling proposition (usp) and service offering.

Go-T0-Market (GTM) Plan and Org Structure

Goals & Sales Forecasting

Tools & Tech

Creative Agency Business Plan Slide Deck PPTX Template

SEOptimer now serves over 2,000 digital agencies around the world and through the years we’ve had the chance to connect with many of our agency customers to understand their early days in starting their agency. This is incredibly interesting to us because it helps us understand where and how they plan to grow so we can help build the features they need in SEOptimer.

This article is the 3rd in our series focused on starting a new digital agency. For some useful prior reading be sure to check out our previous articles:

Don’t be dismayed if it feels like there’s a lot of other competing digital agencies in your city. This is perfectly normal. Digital marketing services like local SEO, for example, are dominated by small agencies. Search Engine Land reported that over 50% of local SEO agencies have 10 or fewer clients. Forbes Council Member Jon Hall says, this keeps the industry “weird” – aka diverse as its not dominated by a small handful of big agencies.

Agency Business Plan PPTX

The first step in launching a new digital marketing agency is to write a plan. In this guide, we’ll cover two of the more traditional ways to define a business plan document with handy downloadable templates:

The days of mandatory 50+ page business plans are long gone. The choice is now yours as to whether you define your digital agency business plan in an in-depth strategic document or not. Some agency founders find it useful to brainstorm this way and document their thought process in a long-form fashion across many pages. Other founders prefer creating shorter slide decks, others opt for a 1-page lean canvas version or some even write their plan in a wiki or business planning tool.

There is no right or wrong way to document your plan. You need to find the documentation method that suits you best. If you’re unsure what suits you best, the following factors may help you decide:

Consideration #1: Who is the audience?

Think about who this document is for. Who will read it? In some cases it will just be you and the founding team. If you are raising money, obviously your investors will be a key audience.

You might also have business partners or board members who may be an audience too. When thnking through all these different groups, work backwards from the most optimal presentation format.

Consideration #2: Seek an unbiased third-party opinion

Devin Schumacher is the Founder of SEO agency SERP and says it’s easy to get swept up in your own overly optimistic projections.

“Ask an experienced agency founder you trust or admire to sanity-check your plan. Seeking an objective opinion from a third-party detached from your new business is vital.”

Devin Schumacher

Devin makes a great point. This type of peer review methodology is commonplace in other industries but sometimes lacking amongst agency founders. Make sure you get at least 1 other unbiased opinion from someone who has already achieved success in your niche.

Don’t fall into the trap of asking a friend or your accountant or someone you know personally to review your plan. Doing so will give you a biased opinion. You need an unbiased opinion from someone willing to give you objective feedback.

Consideration #3: Stand your ground

The whole point of a business plan is to take the time and effort to research the market, your competitors and potential clients. This document will distill all your insights into a strategic plan you can operationalize. As is always the case, unexpected distractions masquerading as opportunities (rightly or wrongly) will pop up in your field of view demanding your attention.

Perhaps it’s a new client opportunity with a project slightly adjacent to your niche. Perhpas a hiring opportunity for a role you didn’t plan to hire yet. Sometimes the hardest thing is to say no, when you’re in the mindset of taking every opportunity for growth.

During these situations, revisit your agency business plan and remind yourself of your focus area niche and how you planned to grow within that niche.

Consideration #4: But, be ok with change

Rebekah Edwards

In fact this balance between sticking to the plan and pivoting the plan needs to be navigated by every digital agency founder. It’s not easy and often you will be second-guessing yourself.

“Every agency owner I know has had to massively adjust their target audience, pricing structure, competitor analysis, and service offerings based on the way they grow over the first 2-5 years.”

Rebekah says that founders need to be prepared for change, afterall, digital marketing is in constant flux and evolution, so change is the norm and we need to write business plans with flexibility in mind.

Trust your performance metrics and continue to do the things that have the biggest quantifiable business impact.

We mentioned previously that there’s no right or wrong way to document your business plan. So with that said, let’s look at some typical marketing agency business plan templates that you can use. After considering all the factors above, choose the structure that works for you and your stakeholders best. We’ve outlined six of the more common options below:

Option #1: Written business document

This is the more traditional (and still valid) way to describe your business. A written business plan document in MS Word or Google Docs is still the most common way to document your digital marketing agency business plan.

Business Plan document

This type of business plan is considered “long-form”, ie: longer in length and suited to more descriptive language. Expect to write longer rationales, longer explanations with plenty of space for evidence, research, insights and strategy. This type of plan will likely be 30+ pages and feel comprehensive. This comprehensiveness is especially needed if external investors or business partners are involved who need to be convinced of the robustness of your plan.

Option #2: Slide deck

The PowerPoint Presentation (or Google Slides or Keynote) has become the go-to corporate communication format. Digital agency founders spend most of their time communicating to staff, clients and stakeholders in PowerPoint so it makes sense to use this format for the purposes of communicating the agency’s overall business plan.

Business Plan PowerPoint

The fundamental difference between this option and the written document, is that a slide deck is a presentable format. So typically you might be in the room with your business partners, walking through the presentation on the screen. Whereas in option #1, a written document is not a compelling way to present an idea. It’s much more suited as a sent document to be consumed in isolation. That’s not to say that a slide deck can’t be utilized this way, it’s just more common that you would be presenting and talking through your plan with the slides serving as a visual backup to what you say.

There’s also a good argument for doing both (ie written document AND slide deck). It comes down to who all the stakeholders are (eg investors, business partners or just you) and whether you intend to present your plan or just document your plan.

Option #3: Lean canvas

The Lean Canvas developed by is a business plan on a page split into 10 boxes. This planning document has become very popular in the tech/startup world and has since been adopted in many other industries, including digital agencies. Be sure to check out our previous article explaining how to use a Lean Canvas for your agency .

SEOptimer - Digital Agency Lean Canvas

The entire business plan fits on a single page which means you obviously need to sweat on every single world and ensure only the most important details are included. We are big supporters of this format because this helps you prioritize and focus your efforts down to the fundamental aspects of your new business.

Option #4: Wiki

In the context of a business, a Wiki is usually an internal website with multiple interlinking articles. The biggest Wiki in the world is Wikipedia and if you want to get really meta, check out Wikipedia’s wiki about wikis :

“A wiki (/wɪki/ WIK-ee) is a hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its own audience directly using a web browser. A typical wiki contains multiple pages for the subjects or scope of the project.”

Wiki’s are generally perceived as internal knowledge bases so if your business plan has executional detail, this might be a good format for documenting processes and methodologies for staff.

Option #5: General Planning tool

Tools like Notion and Trello have grown massively in recent years as more people are working remotely and more work in general is being done collaboratively online.

Notion Business Plan

These types of planning tools are designed to be multi-purpose and fall somewhere between a wiki and a specialized business planning tool.

Now that we’ve covered the typical business plan structures let’s look at the specifics of how you actually go about constructing the business plan and each of the main tasks you need to perform and sections of the business plan.

Market research & data gathering

Customer/client research.

Rebekah Edwards, who we spoke to previously stresses the importance of market research with as many potential clients as you can. She interviewed several businesses in their target market when developing their service offerings and pricing. Some of the questions she thought were most helpful included:

Answers to these questions are invaluable as they help you position and market your new digital agency based on customer insight.

Competitor research

The importance of competitor research goes without saying. It’s vital you have a good understanding of how your competitors are going to market, how they sell, who they target and what their rough price points are. If you have a friend who owns a small business, ask them to mystery shop at a competitor so they can report back to you what the sales process was like.

Competitor types

The way you position and sell your services should be informed by a combination of both customer insights and competitor insights. Addressing client needs whilst maintaining a unique selling proposition will set your new digital agency up for success!

Download our template!: Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Document

To make edits to the document make sure to download our DOCX template which you can edit directly in Microsoft Word. However if you would prefer a printable PDF, we also provide this option too. Use these templates as a starting point to help you draft your digital marketing business plan:

Business Plan DOCX

Below are some of the highlight areas of the plan:

We suggest conducting three types of research to inform your marketing agency business plan:

Market Research

Nailing your USP will be tough especially if you are in a competitive industry / city. Use the previous market research tasks to discover where the gaps are in the market and leverage these insights to position your new agency to be competitive AND different. Perform a SWOT analysis based on your new USP. Then you can determine your actual service offerings and pricing strategy.


Go-To-Market (GTM) Plan and Org Structure

Define your target market – the exact client types who you want to sell to and list the marketing and advertising activities that you will perform that would be most effective in reaching these types of people.

Also list your people (this might not be many on day 1!), sources of advice and support as well as the strategies you’ll use to retain your staff and build their skills and knowledge.

Go To Market Plan

This marketing agency business plan template includes goal setting for the next year and goal setting for the next 3 years. This page is structured to help you set SMART goals.

SMART goals are:

Use the Cash flow forecast table as a simple way to visualize cash-on-hand in your first 12 months. Add rows to estimate your monthly expenses like payroll, rent, utilities, subscriptions, insurance, fees and other ongoing costs.

Goal setting

Tools and Tech

Finally, list out all the tools and technology your new agency will likely need to run an efficient operation. We’ve listed SEOptimer for you already because it’s one of the best, low-cost lead generation tools for your agency. Over 2,000 digital agencies use SEOptimer to generate white label site audits and embed an audit form on their agency website to capture new lead details.

Tools & Tech

If you prefer a slide deck template, use this creative agency business plan example in PowerPoint format:

Business Plan PPTX

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Creative Agency


1200 Forester Drive Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Oceania Creative is in the business of providing premium consulting, brand communications, and visual design services. The Oceania mission is to provide consulting and graphic production services to selected prospect clients primarily in the manufacturing industry. Through the application of knowledge, business relationships, and effective service delivery and continued success of Oceania clients, we will become recognized as a premier industry provider of communications services.


Target market, company team, competitive landscape, projected 5-year financials.

Purpose of the document is to provide a high-level, executive overview of Oceania Creative Print and Interactive business plan for the year 2001-2005. This document is to be used as information and business planning purposes in attaining a second round of credit-based capital.

Description of the Business

Oceania Creative is in the business of providing premium consulting, brand communications, and visual design services.

The Oceania mission is simple. Oceania will provide consulting and graphic production services to selected prospect clients primarily in the manufacturing industry.

Through the application of knowledge, business relationships, and effective service delivery and continued success of Oceania clients, we will become recognized as a premier industry provider of communications services.

Business Problem

The manufacturing industry, particularly, old-line heavy equipment, agricultural, and transportation have difficult business issues related to high-end communications services.

In the manufacturing environment, companies are striving to be competitive in all aspects of manufacturing. This means processes and technology must work together harmoniously and must be integrated. Even world-class companies have found many improvement opportunities in communications processes and market perceptions.

Communications services supported by proven concepts, tools, and methodologies by our experienced designers and consultants, our process accommodates the client's needs. Our communications and marketing experts help the client manage operational change and focus on integrated resource management.

We are committed to creative concepts and tangible results, evaluation, and continuous improvement. With the client's leadership, OC's business approach helps them achieve their vision of world-class market communications.

Examples of our service offerings:

Target prospect market companies include the following list of companies with primary locations and/or headquarters based in the Midwest. The Midwest is defined as a six-state area including, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and northern Kentucky. The states of Minnesota and Missouri will be considered a secondary market due to time, travel, and budgetary requirements in pursuing business in these areas. However, for the right prospect with the right project, with the right level of revenue commitment, we will consider investing in pursuing the business in that geographic area.

Target companies listed below are primary targets:

Market Size

The current market size analysis, based on identified prospects and selected categories of current and projected spending, has estimated this market at more than $750 million in current communications spending.

Note: Detailed industry and analysis methodology information available on request.

Revenue Model

Oceania revenue will be based on client needs and market competitive service rates.

Examples of client billing models include:

Expected margins are estimated at 30-35 percent for graphic production services and 50-65 percent for consulting services. Production services are required to align our companies with client to provide ongoing management and design services to carry projects from concept to delivery.

The Oceania team is comprised of seasoned design, consulting, and management professionals. Experience is our hallmark. The Oceania team has an average of 10 years of experience in communications, marketing, and related disciplines, and 12 years in professional brand and executive communications strategy consulting experience.

Each team member brings industry relationships. Oceania has an expectation of its sales and consulting personnel to leverage these relationships in a meaningful manner and to demonstrate a direct relationship to revenue contributions.

We intend to continue to compensate our entire team with an outstanding package of ongoing salary with individually based bonus and fringe packages. These packages will be based on performance and return to the Oceania enterprise, primarily revenue-based packages for sales professionals and relationship-expansion-based incentives for our consulting professionals.

Note: Professional profiles available on request.

Market Awareness

We plan to achieve industry and client recognition and establish a market reputation by providing superior service delivery and enabling business performance for our clients. Achieving our strategic vision will play a major role in our long-term success and ongoing profitability.

Community Involvement

Oceania Creative will play an active role in community-based organizations to support important arts-based programs as well as continued involvement in business-based professional organizations. Participation in community and business organizations is critical to business success and employee satisfaction. We are actively researching and engaging leading organizations to determine which organizations will best serve the goals of the community at large, our organization, and associated business community partners.

The following is a short list of professional organizations we have sponsored or have participated in.

Each year competition in this market space gets stronger and stronger. Our competitive advantage will be our superior service delivery and client satisfaction; however, in this environment it may not be enough. Thus our focus on leveraging industry and client relationships will become tantamount to continued revenue growth.

This market has a unique competitive model. Companies we will compete against in our dayto-day operations and sales pursuit will range from 3-person high-level consultant partnerships to established, multimillion-dollar advertising agencies such as Ogilvy and business management consultancies such as Accenture and Deloitte & Touche. However, members of our team will exercise high-level relationships particularly with the business management consultancies. Our leadership team has participated with these organizations within high-level engagements—a true win/win environment for revenue generation.

Success to Date

Oceania has had many successful engagements and client experiences to date. Two of which address attainment of strategic intent.

Tangible Results

Client Acquisition Over the first 16 months of our business operations, Oceania has engaged 35 companies at the Senior Manager through Vice President level with business engagements resulting from 15 percent of those pursued relationships. This has resulted in a 50 percent win rate for sales pursuits. Market Awareness Recently, our company has been asked to participate as speakers at several communications/ marketing/design industry conferences. Attaining speaker-level positioning at these conferences is a preliminary indicator or our success in achieving market-leading (topof-mind) executive perceptions. Organizational results Over the past 18 months we believe we have assembled a team of 18 highly focused, nimble professionals. Our continued success will be predicated on the basis of our ability to work comprehensively as a team with a high degree of individual performance successes.

All financial projections are estimates and further detailed information and individual services-level reporting are outlined in additional documentation. All financial expectations are based on current level of success, sales performance, and a robust economic environment. A five-year expansion in the U.S. economy has contributed to a robust environment for communications services. This economic environment cannot be predicted or expected for years upcoming. All dollars are listed in millions.

Creative Agency

Note #1: This table does not represent distribution of partner and investor profit distribution. Nor does

it represent financial impact of financial institution operating capital interest.

All issues related to Note #1 shall be conducted in detail with written approval of officers on the company.

Other articles you might like:

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Advertising Agency Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

How to Start an Advertising Agency

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their advertising agencies. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a advertising agency business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your advertising agency business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a advertising agency, or grow your existing ad agency business, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your advertising agency business in order to improve your chances of success. Your advertising agency business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Advertising agencies

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a advertising agency business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the advertising agency will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for social media marketing businesses.

How to Write a Business Plan for an Ad Agency

If you want to start an advertising agency business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your advertising agency business plan template:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of advertising agency you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a advertising agency that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of advertising agencies?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the advertising industry. Discuss the type of advertising agency you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of advertising agency you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of advertising agencies:

In addition to explaining the type of advertising agency business you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the advertising agency industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the advertising agency industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your advertising agency business plan:

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your advertising agency business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: start-up companies, large corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of ad agency business you operate. Clearly, a well-established business looking to expand operations would respond to different marketing promotions than a small start-up, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most advertising agencies primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other advertising agencies.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes marketing agencies, graphic designers and freelancers.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other advertising agencies with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be house flippers located very close to your location.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a advertising agency business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of advertising agency company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to advertising services, will you include public relations and/or social media management services as well?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your advertising agency company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your advertising agency business located in a busy retail district, a business district, a stand-alone building, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your advertising agency marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your advertising agency business, including marketing your services, obtaining new clients and launching new services.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to have X number marketing campaigns completed, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your business to a new city.

Management Team

To demonstrate your advertising agency business’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing advertising agencies. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in overseeing advertising campaigns or successfully running their own advertising agency.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you obtain two new clients per month or five? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your advertising agency business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a advertising agency business:

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or sample advertising campaigns.

Putting together a business plan for your advertising agency is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the advertising agency industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful advertising agency business.

Advertising Agency Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my advertising agency business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Advertising Agency Business Plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of advertising agency you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have an advertising agency that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of advertising agencies?

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