Graphic Design Business Plan

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Market Analysis Summary

The Metolius Agency will be targeting small- to medium-sized companies.  What these companies have in common is they have started as a small company with a good idea and have grown into a larger, more mature company that must now decide if they are going to maintain the current business strategy, or reinvigorate the company, employ professional service providers, and move to the next level.

4.1 Market Segmentation

The Metolius Agency has two distinct customer groups which they will concentrate on:

  • Small-size companies: typically five to 15 employees
  • Medium-size companies: 15 to 40 employees

These companies started with a valuable concept and leveraged their original grassroots visual communication elements. Now that they have matured into a larger company, they can no longer rely on the original grassroots corporate identity. These companies are in need of a professional firm like The Metolius Agency to expand their identify and take them to that same level as their competitors and be able to compete.

Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Small companies 8% 234 253 273 295 319 8.05%
Medium companies 7% 145 155 166 178 190 6.99%
Total 7.65% 379 408 439 473 509 7.65%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

The market segments will be targeted in a number of different ways.  It must be noted that graphics firms generate visibility and sales not through advertising, but through networking and client referrals.  The methods used for the target market segment strategy will be:

  • Networking. The networking will be based on leveraging Kiev's personal and professional relationships that he has developed after spending years in the industry.  Ways of networking include sending out notecards to all acquaintances announcing the opening of The Metolius Agency, periodically meeting with people to catch up--as well to continue to network which means to find out who this person knows within the target companies that Metolius will try to turn into customers. 
  • Client referral. A lot of business is derived through referrals.  Some of the referrals will come through the Chamber of Commerce, some of the referrals will come from customers.  Recognizing that referrals will be a good source of new customers, Kiev will be in constant contact with the Chamber.  In addition to being in contact with them, Kiev will investigate the possibility of doing a small project pro bono for the Chamber.  This will be done to let the Chamber view an example of The Metolius Agency's work.  It will also provide a reason for the Chamber to recommend The Metolius Agency.  Kiev will work very hard to satisfy all of his customers.  By making sure that he exceeds their expectations, he will increase the likelihood that he will receive referrals from satisfied customers.
  • Targeted customer acquisition. This is the researching and strategic formulation to attract a chosen company to become a customer.  Kiev will put together a list of 20-30 companies that would be excellent customers.  Once these companies have been identified, Kiev will devise a strategy to target these companies as customers by initially determining what value Metolius can offer them. Eventually, the goal is to be able to meet with the decision maker of the company and present them with a portfolio of Kiev's past work as well as the proposed value Kiev can offer them.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

The graphic design industry is fairly diverse with all types of service providers. There are large advertising agencies, freelance designers, and in-house firms that typically only serve the specific company.

Within the last seven to 10 years, there has been a trend in the industry for the general advertising agencies, that previously only worked with advertising, to act as a full-service agency that not only prepares advertisements, but also does a lot of the creative work in-house instead of outsourcing it.  This trend toward full-service agencies has continued.  To a large degree it is occurring due to higher profit margins for the service providers.  The Metolius Agency will be bucking this trend and concentrating on their specific skill set.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

The following are examples of the different types of competitors:

  • Large advertising agencies: over the years these firms have increased their number of service offerings from selling media forms of advertising, to a full-service company that develops creative work in-house, working with companies to develop corporate identity, etc.
  • Freelance designers: these competitors are similar to Kiev because they are typically a one-man operation, often operating out of their own home.  Often the freelance designers are just getting into the business and are trying to get experience, or they have left a firm in search of a more flexible lifestyle.  Some freelance designers are well experienced and can offer the same professional level of quality the large agencies offer.
  • Kinko's: while Kinko's is not a true competitor, it is a substitute competitor that should be mentioned. Kinko's stores do not have a true creative department, but for some of the larger accounts, it offers free creative services as a value-added feature to the larger customer.  These services are typically provided by an employee who has introductory or intermediate skills using graphic design software such as Quark or Freehand, and in a small amount of time can generate creative images for the client.  These services are typically not billed but used as a value-added benefit.  While the price is quite good, the customer must recognize the fact that these services are not on par with a professional agency.