achtung! start-up platform
Saves three years of groundwork
Mirko and Babette launched achtung! Mary together exactly one year ago. The first new venture on the achtung! start-up platform has already achieved great success. Since then, achtung! Broadcast with Felicia and achtung! Alive with Tim have been established. On its anniversary, Mirko describes what exactly the achtung! start-up platform is.
Some agency founders want to try to do it all on their own – lock, stock and barrel – without anyone else. In contrast, others want to concentrate entirely on the core of their business and have a strong partner on board for everything else. Just over 12 months ago, we launched the achtung! start-up platform for this second category of entrepreneur. The founders bring their ideas, their ability, their passion, their name and their network. achtung! adds the strengths of the agency group and the brand and looks after everything else – basic equipment, HR, IT, finance, new business, self-marketing. Based on this principle, three new agencies were established and continue to grow: achtung! Mary with Babette Kemper in Düsseldorf, achtung! Broadcast with Felicia Mutterer in Berlin and, most recently, achtung! Alive with Tim Voigt in Cologne. And we’re looking for more co-founders. But more on that later.
Starting with a strong tailwind
It is a great advantage not to have to start alone and rely solely on one’s own experience and skills – however impressive they may be – but instead to be able to use the momentum provided by a well-known brand. After all, it makes a difference whether you can say at a chemistry meeting: “I have just set up my own agency, so I don't have any cases or references that I can show you yet” or whether you can say: “I have just set up with achtung! achtung! was responsible for successfully promoting the opening of Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie to a global audience, worked with Jung von Matt to make the BVG sneaker, handles the Lufthansa Group’s global communications, cooperated with Heimat to implement the #unfollowme campaign, has worked for eBay and mobile.de for more than 10 years, and has just organised a stunt with David Hasselhoff!”
I set up a PR agency myself in 2001 – without having any major PR cases or references. And I know that starting an agency with a well-known brand can save over three years of groundwork. Yes, over three years!
Sparring and support build certainty
From my own experience, I also know that, as a founder, a person can make many, many expensive mistakes. Indeed, it is clear that anyone who is setting up a company for the first time is also doing many different things for the first time and is bound to have a few painful experiences – experiences that could have been avoided and often come at a price that is too high. Due to a lack of experience, things often go wrong. And some of these mistakes can threaten to bring the entrepreneur to the brink of failure. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Such painful experiences can be avoided. Working alongside an agency that has operated and grown successfully for 18 years creates certainty when starting up a new venture. As a partner, it can offer experience and business expertise. achtung! also provides support with proven processes and standards. By working with achtung!, the entrepreneurs can also access an IT system that covers a server, computer, mobile phone, iPad, email accounts, GDPR compliance and data backup, for example. Financial and management accounting support is provided for invoices, reminders and payments. If required, a strong HR department will look after recruitment, deal with social insurance contributions, applications for holiday leave, probation appraisals, feedback meetings and annual reviews and will plan upskilling activities. Self-promotion and marketing will ensure a media presence and generate opportunities for new business. In concrete terms, this means that emails such as the following can be sent: “We have an invitation to pitch here for a well-known make of car/major insurance company/franchise chain/fashion label. Do you want to look after this with your team?”
Cross-selling and access to all the relevant skills
achtung! can offer another advantage that carries weight: it works for more than 50 renowned brands and companies. It makes a huge difference if, instead of an agency founder calling someone off the cuff and saying: “Hi, I’m from XXX agency and would love to introduce myself to you some time”, an achtung! consultant can say to an existing client: “I have brought my colleague from achtung! X with me today. For some inspiration.” This brings me to another important point. Ten or fifteen years ago, agencies were mainly established “offstage” and alone. Founders could get a lot done themselves or with just a few people. Today, however, disciplines, skills and competences are so fragmented and differentiated that a multifunctional team is required straight away to even cover the most important tasks. So anyone setting up a specialist agency in conjunction with an agency partner that has already gathered these skills and specialists can access these directly.
Independence plus help when it’s needed
What does it mean to set up your own agency in cooperation with achtung!? It means autonomy for as long as it is required. And it means help as soon as it is needed. And: we do not need you to report figures to us on a regular basis and we won’t spoon-feed anyone, but we will be there if advice is needed. Co-founders need to have the freedom to create what they have dreamed of. We don’t set any restrictions. We advocate freedom. That is the achtung! founder principle. We believe in local entrepreneurship. And we have confidence in it.An agency set up on the achtung! start-up platform always carries with it the achtung! name and DNA, and achtung! is always a majority shareholder. And it should always be an agency that complements our service offering in a meaningful way, making cross-selling easy and direct and benefiting the new agency.
Wanted: Personalities who are passionate about something
Who would we like to establish something with? People who are energised by something, who believe in something, who want something, who want to create something great, who approach it with wholehearted enthusiasm, who want to achieve something remarkable. We are looking for entrepreneurial personalities, who are passionate about something. We are looking for people who want to build something meaningful. Do you already have the germ of an idea for your own, growing, remarkable achtung! agency? Then simply contact me at email@example.com