- We don't have clients who really get it.
Sorry, by my estimation there are less than five clients in the entire world that are dream accounts, yet agencies do great work for less than ideal clients everyday. Next?
- We don't have budgets that allow us to do our best work.
Elbow grease is cheap and that's where great ideas come from. Great production dollars can actually hurt creativity. We tend to rely on technique rather than a great idea.
- We don't have enough time.
You have the same 24 hours a day those people who you admire so much. How do they do it? They sacrifice.
- National advertisers won't give us the time of day.
Why small agencies don't get taken seriously they are bringing something special to the party. All great big agencies started small. They got big by thinking up big ideas. Make your luck.
- We can't hire the best people.
What do you have to offer? A lot of people just want to do great work. If your work doesn't show that well, it's not your size that is keeping talented people away.
- We don't have the talent to do great work.
Of all of the agencies where I've worked I've never found this to be true. It wasn't a lack of talent but a lack of commitment that stopped the work from being great. Make sure your staff has the chance to shine. Make sure they know your expectation of them is that they shine. Someone will step forward and blow you away.
- We can't compete with the salaries offered by big agencies.
If this is the case in your agency you're trying to hire the wrong people. I find the best people want something other than money. Sure everyone wants to be paid fairly, but I know a lot of people who are stuck in giant agencies because they sold themselves for a paycheck. Find people who want to do their best without the politics. Sure, it's more work for you to find quality people. It's worth it.
- We can't get the industry media to pay attention to us.
Have you done something truly worthy of attention? Do you do it often? Boone Oakley is one of the best small agencies at doing this. They do it so well they get attention beyond the industry media. Remember the eBay auction they did for a Super Bowl commercial? Brilliant.
- We can't win national and international awards because the fees are too high and we don't have blue-chip clients.
Check out the award books like CA, the One Show, etc. The small agencies are still winning. It's about the work. If you want to be in the most respected shows, commit to doing work that can't be denied.
- We're just not as good as the big agencies.
Big agencies have more people, more money, more resources and more opportunities. I believe this situation makes it that much sweeter when you are recognized for doing something better than they do it. Go for it.