Ned Stevens: Promotion companies are the driving force behind many well-known brands, musicians, and actors, and many of the top firms make millions of dollars a year. If you have a knack for promotions and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, knowing how to start a promotion company could offer you a rewarding career. And though starting a promotion company doesn’t require any formal training, it does require a significant knowledge of branding and marketing, as well as a sound understanding of business principles. By creating a solid foundation and working to market your promotion services, you can soon be on your way to success.
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1. Gain experience in promotional work.
Before starting a promotion company, you’ll want to gain some experience in the area. One way to do so is to spend a few years working in an existing promotion company to learn the ropes and establish contacts. This will allow you to witness a number of large promotional campaigns from inception to end and build your experience, as well as your professional network. You will also avoid assuming any personal financial risk for shows when you work with a large company.
- However, working with a large company is not the only path to success. You can also start with an artist or set of small events and then build your career from there.
- Working on your own places you in charge, with all of the associated risks and rewards that come from that.
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2. Decide which market niche you want to focus on.
Some promotion companies specialize in entertainer promotions, while others specialize in branding and promoting products or companies. Determine whether you want to focus on event coordination, television and radio guest appearances, marketing materials and distribution, or ticket sales. You can also offer all of these services as a comprehensive package if you have the right connections.
- You can also start in one area in which you can find work and expand from there as your career progresses.
- For example, it is relatively easier to get work producing promotional materials than as an event promoter. Once you have established yourself with effective marketing materials, you can branch out from there.
3. Investigate the competition.
Look for other promotion companies in your area that serve your chosen niche. If there are major promotion companies in your area that cover one specific area, you may have to reassess your strategy and choose a niche that still has potential for a new player. You can then look at similar companies’ pricing models so that you can figure out a pricing strategy for your own.
4. Draw up your business plan.
This will not only serve as a blueprint for the start up of your promotion company, but also as a reference tool to periodically review your company’s performance. Include your investment costs, client acquisition strategy, business associates, and projected income for the first two or three years of operation.
- You also need to include your startup costs, services offered, and strategies utilized.
- Your strategy section might include, for example, a timeline of your preparations made before an event.
- Write in a marketing analysis section that includes your target demographic, an analysis of the industry, and an assessment of the local market for your services.
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5. Raise the investment money you need.
Luckily, starting a promotion company does not require a large amount of startup money. You can easily work from home with a laptop and phone in the beginning if you’re willing to meet with clients at their location. You may also need a varying amount of money to buy promotional materials, pay venue advance payments, and for other incidental expenses, depending on your services offered. If you are printing promotional materials, you will also need a printer or money to pay a printing service.
- Reduce your capital needs by looking for venues without large advance deposits, working on word-of-mouth advertising, and keeping ad spending low.
6. Register your promotion company.
Register with you city using a doing business as (DBA) name. You’ll receive a business license, after which you can legally start doing business. Check with your local chamber of commerce to see if there are any special permits or licenses you need. If you are founding an actual company, like an LLC or partnership, you will need to decide on a structure for it. You’ll then have to file articles of organization with your state to officially register the company.
- You may also be responsible for signing up to collect state sales tax and for buying insurance coverage. Check with your local branch of the Small Business Administration (SBA) for more information
7. Purchase business equipment.
Buy a computer and a phone that you can use for business purposes. Make sure to use a dedicated phone for business purposes, rather than just using your cell phone. If you need any other office or production equipment, be sure to purchase them as cheaply as possible to reduce your startup costs.X
8. Get acquainted with industry contacts.
You will need to have a network of industry professionals that you can use to support your events or create materials for you, particularly if you intend to offer a full suite of services. Make a list of contractors such as printers, caterers, event organizers, and luxury limo services. Look through reviews and local listings to find the best services. Their professional service and products will make your promotion company look good as well.
9. Create an online presence.
Set up a website with links to your social media profiles on social networks so clients can always reach you. Make sure your website looks professional, as potential customers can be quickly turned off by an amateurish or unhelpful one. On social media, make profiles for your business that are separate from your personal profiles. Then, fill them with posts and content that reflect your “brand.” Update your profile pictures, information, and other profile features regularly as changes as required. Make sure to keep your image consistent across platforms as well.
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10. Reach out to potential customers.
Market your promotion company with email campaigns to potential customers, flyers, posters, and ads in trade magazines or entertainment magazines. Remembering to keep your marketing strategies within the bounds of what you can afford. In addition, focus your advertising towards your target customer. For example, a promotion company specializing in rap music concert promotion should not advertise on the classical music radio station.
11. Build up a network.
A large part of any type of promotion is utilizing your network to get work and to generate hype for your events. The first step of building a network is to impress people and companies that you work with or for. Make yourself valuable and they will remember you the next time they need promotional work done. Then, make sure to regularly stay in touch with your past customers. You also need a network of dependable support companies, like caterers or printers.
12. Serve your first clients.
Now that your business is set up, you’ll need to work with your first clients to get started. If you can’t find any work, try looking for a church or local nonprofit that needs promotion services. You may not get paid, but you can make connections and get a chance to showcase your skills. In any case, remember that you’ll need to start small and prove yourself before big jobs will start rolling in. Consider partnering with an existing company to gain reputability and experience.X
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13. Expand your business.
As time goes on and you earn more lucrative jobs, you can expand your operations by offering new services or hiring additional employees. You may also choose to branch out into other markets, such as a different genre of music or different kind of event. You can also expand into different regions or even internationally. Just make sure to establish contacts in the new area first so that you can better understand the market there.