Born and raised in beautiful East London, Eduardo Sonoda would make a name for himself at the University of East London when he graduated in 2011. After just a handful of years working for some of the most popular marketing firms in the entire United Kingdom, Sonoda would decide to begin his own journey toward building a better, more customer-focused advisory firm. This would lead to the foundation of Eduardo Sonoda Advisory, a firm currently employing more than 700 total employees.
Now half a dozen years after bringing Eduardo Sonoda Advisory to life, Sonoda himself has key insights and nuggets of information to share with anyone looking to follow in his footsteps.
Today, we are going to take a look at how Sonoda built his media marketing empire as well as the steps that you can take to follow in his path.
Develop Your Niche
At its core, marketing is a competitive industry brimming with high levels of saturation. To properly stand out and to make your name known, you will have to develop a specific niche – something that you are particularly good at. For Eduardo Sonoda, this meant focusing on what he knew that he understood best – digital marketing.
Sonoda said of his decision to focus on a specific niche with Eduardo Sonoda Advisory, “I had to make sure that I knew which area I wanted to focus on. I had great knowledge of the Digital Marketing Industry, but at the time no one was really aware of just how important that avenue was.”
While it may have taken Sonoda just under six years to bring in some of the biggest names in the industry to his firm, Sonoda was able to build these important connections because he had done his research prior, developing his niche by carving out a special knowledge base. Sonoda continues by saying, “Once the plan was put together, I was able to go into this with the mindset that this was going to be a success.”
Ultimately, Sonoda believes that it is important to develop your own perspective when developing your niche but to also remember that of your audience.
Find Your Target Market
After developing your core niche, it is time to identify the market that you want to address. Sonoda goes on to say, “It was always my intention to transition to digital (marketing) overall, but I had to make sure that I understood what the market was after the traditional marketing methods.”
Sonoda advocates for an early focus on service, making sure that your actions are helping someone, even if it is just in the short term. If your work isn’t serving your target market, Sonoda suggests that it is okay to say ‘no’. Ultimately, transparency is more valuable than many other traits and prospective clients would rather hear ‘no’ than see work that is subpar.
Develop Your Business Plan
Without a plan of attack, you don’t really have a plan at all. For Eduardo Sonoda, developing a successful business meant drafting a plan that could survive a wildly unpredictable market. Sonoda says, “Staying adaptable is key to sustainability.”
Set yourself up to succeed by taking time to develop a business plan during the early days of your efforts. A proper business plan will accurately outline the goals of your business, your financial forecast, and potential cash flow, as well as which revenue streams you will engage with when seeking out your target audience.
A great business plan may take a bit of time to craft, but don’t skimp out on your efforts. Sonoda finishes by pointing out, “Startups are forced to constantly come up with new and innovative ideas.”
Find Your Clients
A marketing agency won’t find any success without clients to work for or products to market. Securing a client base is the single most important facet of your business. Eduardo Sonoda understands that it can be difficult to carve out a slice of the market, but that doesn’t mean we can get away with subpar effort.
To best keep reaching his clients, Sonoda advocates staying in the ‘startup mentality. Sonoda goes on to say, “You have to stay ahead of that change however you can and over-planning with too much confidence can end up holding firms back.”
Sonoda suggests a client-sourcing plan that is “quick, simple, and very no-nonsense.”
Never Quit Networking
While Eduardo Sonoda suggests focusing on a small selection of great clients, he understands that it is important to never stop networking. Building a professional agency requires the ability to grow and to expand by attending industry events, conferences, and relevant trade fairs.
Connecting and networking are about not just seeking value but also offering it back. While networking may not create new income immediately, it is a long-term investment that can generate income for your business in the future. Think of each networking opportunity as a small investment into the potential future of your business.
Closing Words With Eduardo Sonoda
Eduardo Sonoda founded Eduardo Sonoda Advisory. As the CEO of the company, Sonoda has become an international marketing advisor with a wealth of knowledge from his time studying at the London Marketing Academy. After launching his first company in 1995, Sonoda would branch out with the Sonoda Advisory Firm, growing from 7 employees to more than 700 at the time of this writing.
While Sonoda knows that hindsight is 20/20, he has words of advice to younger entrepreneurs following in his footsteps. Sonoda says, “Nurture those entrepreneurial instincts early. I knew since I was six years old that I wanted to have my own company.”