The Small Spark Theory Institute was founded to take the pain and guesswork out of your agency new business

The subject of new business is guaranteed to get a reaction from agency owners and leaders everywhere. Many of you will have a nagging sense that you could be doing more to attract it. Some of you might be wondering how other agencies manage to land the accounts you covet. Most of you will have moments of wild inspiration when it comes to marketing, which end up faltering because… well, the day job just gets in the way.

A focus on billable time means that client work so often takes precedence, leaving new business and marketing tasks to pile up. Commonly, there’s either too much client work, or not enough, and the path to growth feels like a terrifying roller-coaster ride. 

The Small Spark Institute exists to smooth out this journey for agency owners and leaders. Our courses deliver concise insights in manageable, bite-sized chunks to support effective and efficient actions that fit into your busy day. 

Lucy Mann

Co-Founder & Your Mentor

‘I’ve been at the coalface of agency new business and marketing for almost thirty years, observing and influencing performance across a broad spectrum of agencies. Regardless of size, shape or creative discipline, the patterns of success and failure are remarkably similar — the peaks and troughs of revenue, the euphoric wins and the debilitating disappointments. I’m fascinated by those patterns and how we can make new business and marketing endeavours more effective.

'Effective new business and marketing works just like an engine, with many interconnected parts that require fine-tuning for optimum results. You need to get under the bonnet to make meaningful, lasting performance improvements.'

‘There’s no doubt that challenge can feel steeper for small agencies. The good news is that the solution is very rarely an ambitious marketing plan or costly sales resource. Rather, I’ve learnt that success comes from a forensic application of process and a marginal gains approach to performance improvement. Given the right tools, every agency — no matter its size or resources — has the ability to grow, and that’s the philosophy that drives the Small Spark Theory Institute.’

Clare Rees

Co-Founder & Membership Support

I’ve been part of the agency world for over twenty years, starting out as a PR account executive back when images were biked as transparencies to journalists and contracts were faxed. So much has evolved since then, but winning new business in a sustainable way still feels like an epic trial for many. I’ve worked in account teams, in agency business development (where Lucy and I met) and I’ve run a small agency of my own. 

‘I understand the struggle — as well as the blessed relief of feeling in control of the forecast.’ 

‘New business has changed. Prospects buy services in a totally different way. Digital has altered the landscape for clients, and also how we market our agencies to appeal to them. Demands on time have escalated, too. The Small Spark Theory Institute is exactly what I needed when I was running my own agency.’

Isabelle Jarvis


Izzy is an integral part of the Small Spark Theory team. She has frontline agency new business and marketing experience and has produced and edited the Small Spark Theory podcast since it's inception, sourcing and co-ordinating our contributors and ensuring each episode reaches it's audience with the best possible audio.

Here at the Institute, Izzy manages the production of all video and audio content.