Believe it or not, the pandemic is a perfect time to set up a new agency

It sounds counterintuitive, but if you have been thinking about creating your own PR agency or going solo, then now is a great time.

Pandemic? No problem. It's a better time than you might think to start your own agency, advises Jim Hawker
Pandemic? No problem. It's a better time than you might think to start your own agency, advises Jim Hawker

So many great businesses get started in times of recession and can take advantage of more-affordable services to get the company started.

Whether you are looking for a decent-looking logo, website and other collateral or needing to find your first office space, there are deals out there to be done at prices people wouldn’t have considered offering a few months ago.

This should not be seen as taking advantage of the situation; it is simply paying the new market price.

Even if you hadn’t considered starting your own venture before, personal circumstances may have changed and now may make more sense than ever before.

Whether you need to be closer to family but the current job just won’t allow that, or you have been made redundant, there will be plenty of new businesses being registered right now at Companies House out of necessity.

During the pandemic I have had several people contact me because they felt the true culture of the organisation had revealed itself and they didn’t like what they saw.

Strong leaders emerge in dark times and many people have felt let down by their agency owners.

That will provide a catalyst for believing in oneself and taking a first entrepreneurial step.

One thing that was true before COVID-19 was that there were far too many PR agencies.

All of them looked the same; the same people jumped from one to another. So why start a new one? Well, don’t.

Take the opportunity to reflect and think about what the new world needs right now and offer something different.

Plenty of new trends have emerged in the past few months and will continue apace, and now is the time to take advantage of that.

My advice is quite boring. Please invest time in writing a business plan.

Nothing beats putting thoughts down on paper and working everything through – not just in positioning but also financial planning.

Don’t become a statistic and one of the high number of start-ups that fail in the first year.

Reach out to people who have had success and ask for help.

When we started our own agency, we had plenty of help and no one charged a penny – they did it because they liked us and wanted to give something back.

Last piece of advice: just get on with it. Don’t just talk about it. Do it.

You may regret it, but at least you gave it a good go at the right time. Everything happens in cycles. Establish your business over the next couple of years and ride the uptick in the economic cycle.

If you don’t, someone else will.

Jim Hawker is co-founder of Threepipe

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