The ADS Agency is featured on Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN)
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The ADS Agency is featured on Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN)


this is the Atlanta Small Business Show
with Jim Fitzpatrick – hi everyone thanks for joining us on today’s show. The
market for advertising firms is a crowded one and it’s often difficult to
create noticeable distinction between agencies; however, we spoke to one woman
who is leveraging her connection with the SBDC to do just that. We recently
caught up with Andrea D. Smith, founder of The ADS Agency and Mark Collier – business
consultant at the UGA Small Business Development Center in DeKalb County. They
joined us to discuss how Andrea began her own advertising agency right here in
Atlanta and the steps she’s taking with the SBDC to grow her business. Check it
out. Glad to be here and it’s and I purposely said Andrea D. Smith because
the name of the agency is ADS – ads right exactly that’s pretty cool
yeah did your parents know at that time you were going to be an ad agency
executive they’re just marvelous they just have that future thought that they
were like we’re gonna build a little ad executive- that’s right, there in the crib
you were looking like an ad person right – I was telling you before – honestly they
probably had no clue what advertising executives were like at all because our family’s not in that like that did you go to work for other companies
before you opened up your own agency oh yes definitely this is – this is 20 years
in the making now – quite, quite – two decades now of experience so I’ve been
in the home building industry before the housing bubble burst okay
and – from a marketing standpoint? – yes okay yeah that was all in marketing had some ad
agency experience outstanding experience with United Way campaign management love
that organization yeah still to this day and then you know just
before Atlanta I was in Scotland for a year doing a global branding role which
is really outstanding and it’s absolutely amazing yeah so here you are
working for big companies and bigger marketing companies and agencies and you
say I think I can do this on my own and open up my own agency which takes a lot
of courage right probably a lot of sleepless nights leading up to that
decision yes I see my makeups covering the bags under my eyes – well walk us walk us through
that decision because there’s a lot of people that are watching us right now
that that are maybe might be right there on the threshold of doing just that
leaving their full-time gig and opening up you know a small business yeah
honestly I was just looking for my next role you know another job was not in
alignment with me and so you know I was just looking for my next thing I’ve been
in Atlanta ten months built up a network in the architecture
construction engineering space you know and so those people I just hit them up
and said hey I’m looking for my next thing and they were like you should just
do your own thing and I was like no I like my bills paid! – I like my bills paid –
number one concern of most entrepreneurs starting out how am I gonna afford to pay my bills – right exactly and so I thank God for some really excellent
people there was one my very first client pushed me and they just kept pushing me
and they said please do this please do this for the 50 millionth time and if you will
do your own thing I’m gonna be your first client and tell me what to pay you
there you go Wow you open up with the first client yeah that was a magic first
thing that said okay maybe I could do this a little bit I thought that time I
thought it was shopping money you know like this will be shopping money once I
have my job sure so it was that and then that was November
2016 in december somebody else came to me knocking at the door and they were
like what are you doing now and I said oh looking for my next role but here’s this
other thing and I started it you know and I’ve got one client and they were
like I needed you like yesterday here’s my five businesses tell me what you can
do with them – well that was the thing that started paying the bills – the number
one thing entrepreneurs are concerned about starting out so just know you know
I think everyone’s path is different but at some point that concept will be
proven to you and when it gets proven to you that’s when you can have the confidence
in yourself to say this is possible it’s fine you can do that right now you are
at a point in time where you are going to grow your business and and enters
Mark Collier with the Small Business Development Center right and talk to us
a little bit about that how you found him and what what are the plans for the
future – Mark is always around I see him literally don’t we see each other at so
many events yeah Atlanta Black Chambers and otherwise other small business
events around and about networking things and so just seeing him and seeing
him he’s done presentations about the SBDC has talked about SBDC and you know
I remember hitting him up before I have a YouTube channel and I wanted to
interview him for my channel and I was like come on my show and he was like
okay think about that maybe we’ll bring on our marking lady and she can chat with
you and that was months ago and you know we kind of like dropped the ball on that
honestly sure but then recently he came over at the Russell Center and did
another chat with Invest Atlanta so he was on with Invest Alanta and SBDC was
represented through Mark and they were just hammering it home like you guys
need to take advantage of these free resources because if you’re not taking advantage
of these resources shame on you you’re all paying for it as
a taxpayer that’s a very good point in yeah and something we try to to drive
home as well is that these services are already paid and it doesn’t cost you
anything so for the small business owners that are listening to us today be
sure to keep that in mind that if you’re on the edge and you need some help
– whether it
be accounting or market or growth plans or or maybe even a
business plan you’ve got professionals standing by ready willing and able with
a tremendous amount of experience to help you navigate through that right at
the SBDC right absolutely Jim that’s what we do
we help small businesses grow and our model is a simple one we help businesses
grow the revenue grow their employees they pay more taxes and the economic
well-being of Georgia is enhanced and that’s the model that we operate off
yeah that’s great so what’s next for your agency I’ve been chatting with that
with SBDC, Mark and others there and so next is really that next growth
strategy of now targeting more small bigger small and medium-sized businesses
here in the Greater Atlanta area and beyond our tagline is bringing global
experience with a local touch you know and so it’s really truly now stretching
our legs and testing those global waters even more so than we’ve already done and
so that involves taking on you know our first amount of staff you know starting
very small but even entertaining the idea of opportunity zones and building
in those places where can you build a small ADS building and an opportunities
out or or otherwise you just have been talking to commercial development people
about that so that’s really you know the slow and steady growth I think is where
we are but I’m excited about you know we’re ADS can go next and those are
really the next steps you know honing in on a different target
market and also mergers and acquisitions is another space we were really
interested in because we have a specific background in that too so you know
there’s – those are the main areas growing into M&A getting global and then you say
going into M&A going after M&A companies to do their marketing or you’re going –
actual acquisitions so you know the organizations who are involved with
acquisitions we did a lot of acquisition work with manufacturing that was a lot of the Scotland work I was telling you about and so really those
organizations that are doing acquisitions major like 195 million
euros they’re global they need people to often help with that marketing branding
communications piece yes if you’re acquiring a company – if a company were to –
if you were to acquire another studio it would need all new branding it would
need your touches that’s right everyone would need new mugs and business cards that’s right and the t-shirts and the polos and the signage go out to the customer base and you know
your customers and the customers that you’re acquiring and the suppliers and
there’s a ton of legality involved with all that – there needs to be a
marketing arm in the middle of all that to help coordinate with legal and sales
and all that and that process so that’s a really fascinating you know
area for us to get into for sure and so for the people that are watching what
what exactly is it that your agency helps small business with you’ve
touched on a few of them there but if they hired you what are you is
what is it you’re gonna be bringing to the table okay so we start with strategy
we love taking businesses through that strategic plan first okay cuz since we
were saying before it a lot of small businesses don’t have that plan together
and so it’s helping them really connect their business goals for the year with
their marketing and branding plans and making that make sense budget wise once
that plan is in place then helping to execute that on the tactical side you
know getting that execution done for a plan we tend to lean towards the b2b
side and content marketing so that can be everything from your brand identity
you know your look your feel your logo all that needs to refresh we can
definitely do that your messaging strategy positioning and then on down to
the mugs and the business cards – you love the mugs – I know it’s just right here it’s so convenient but yeah all those things
email communication social media blogs vlogs video I opened all of that
that’s what we love to do for the entrepreneurs that are listening right
now and the small business owners can we kind of call upon you to give us three
basic marketing strategies that you’d recommend for them for the small
business owners yeah yeah okay so the areas that they really need to focus on
for the for their business if they’re small businesses I would definitely say
you know do not negate the digital world you know but know regardless of your
age I mean that’s where everything is now so you know making sure your digital
strategy is in place and with that you know that really includes – and I think
this is the area that gets neglected a lot with business owners is their email
list I can’t tell you how much I don’t know Mark if you’ve seen that a lot yeah
a lot of small business owners don’t have their email list together they’re
like why, for what, I’m okay I’m good this year it’s the one thing you own you
know that’s not controlled by Facebook or another entity you know Instagram
goes down on the regular YouTube has gone down a good bit Facebook certainly
can go down too even though they’re the monster player
they’re getting their own money now yeah you probably heard that the point is
your email lists email’s not going away it’s been up since the dial-up days it’s
gonna be there granted there are some other strategies that you can be looking
into and you definitely should you know like facebook Messenger BOTS you know
those have a much higher open rate than than email definitely does right now but
you know back to the email list that’s such a simple thing if you don’t have
your email list together now people should really be getting their email
list together because that’s one of the main ways you can communicate with
customers how often do you recommend a business email their database so it
really depends on your business but I think a healthy you know level that most
businesses can handle is about once a month is nice okay if you can do not too
intrusive yeah your customer base informed yeah
and you’re like oh yeah Andrea I remember her
sure Mark I remember Mark Jim sure no so it’s just being in that inbox as you
know refreshing and so once a month is kind of like the minimum basic if you
can do you know every two weeks that’s great you know and if you’re like say a
jewelry business for example now you’re in the b2c world and you can totally do
you know once a week I think people do every other day or more which we can
argue the intrusiveness of that much but it’s effective for that space for those
small businesses that are listening to us right now
it’s ads agency so check it out online Andrea as you can see here is very
capable and you’re in good hands and so thank you both very much for joining us
on the Atlanta Small Business so we very much appreciate it we’d love to
have you back in a couple of months or maybe you know sooner to talk to us more
about some tips on marketing but also to see how your business is doing that’d be
great I’d love to do that great thanks so much thanks for watching Atlanta
Small Business Show ASBN is a part of the JBF business media family

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