OPINION: DEAKIN ON ... START-UPS
By GRAHAM DEAKIN, a managing partner of Ma, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 09 June 2000 12:00AM
It’s day eight of Malcolm Moore Deakin Blazye and already it feels like we’ve done a year’s work, probably because we’ve had to to get this far.
It’s day eight of Malcolm Moore Deakin Blazye and already it feels
like we’ve done a year’s work, probably because we’ve had to to get this
It’s a long journey from playing ’fantasy agency’ in the pub to opening
your own doors. If you’re thinking of catching the fourth wave, here are
a few pointers we’ve discovered along the way.
Are you ready to step out of the comfort zone? If you’re ready to jump
(being pushed doesn’t count), it won’t be the trappings of success
you’ll miss - the six-figure salary, Wimbledon tickets or the Porsche.
It will be those little things you take for granted such as IT,
despatch, the office manager and a personal assistant to die for.
Have you found your soulmates? Teaming up with the best talent who
inspire you with their passion, vision and self-belief is difficult. Do
you know if they can take the knocks and have the rest of their lives
Are you excited at the prospect of spending 12 hours a day with them for
the foreseeable future? All the great start-ups have got this right and
it’s the basic cost of entry.
Is the business plan sorted? Numbers may not be your game but potential
backers love them, so get comfortable with them fast. Oh, and best find
yourself a media-friendly accountant, lawyer and bank.
Funding? Where do you get at least pounds 500,000 post the dotcom bubble
Welcome to the strange world of unsecured loans, buy-ins, agreed buy-out
multiples, voting rights, majority versus minority shares, put clauses,
call options and so on.
Have you got a place to hide? It’s hard to get your act together when
someone else is still paying your salary. Forget Soho House, the Union
or Home House - you will be spotted. Coffee shops of anonymous
international hotels will become a second home. And have your story
ready for when the boss and the trade press confront you. Until then,
it’s a bit like having an affair: denial, denial, denial.
Have you got a place to live? The downside of the healthy economy is
that property prices have soared. How many square feet will you need and
how big is 1,000 square feet anyway? Does it have to be Soho, where is
Noho, which tube goes to Clerkenwell? Desks, chairs, printers, laptops -
buy, lease or borrow?
Clients. Have you got any? You almost certainly won’t be able to take
any with you. Ever done new business? Get close to people who do this
for a living. Nothing moves without them knowing about it.
And what is so special about you lot anyway? The last thing London needs
is another ad agency, so you had better be different. You may have found
a gap in the market but is there really a market in the gap?
’I’m sorry, what was your name?’ Do you go for a funky brand name such
as Ego, Ego, Ego & Ego or Pants on Head to demonstrate your
individuality or, worse still, anonymous initials? I’ve left this, the
best bit, ’til last because I guarantee it will trouble you more than
all of the above put together.
If all this has reminded you why you got into the business in the first
place, then go for it. If, on the other hand, it all seems too much like
hard work, best get the agency chauffeur to drop you off at The Ivy for
a consolation expense account lunch.
Have your say at www.campaignlive.com on channel 4.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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