There are many more web pages in the internet as there are humans on planet earth. Each one of those web pages needed a designer or a developer to make it look good and work correctly. Quite clearly there is huge demand for web design businesses.
Starting your own web design business can be exciting and rewarding. In a stagnent economy, entrepreneurial activity tends to increase. There is nothing better to use your talents and passions in order to create a lasting source of revenue. But starting a business takes effort, and careful planning. So, once you have established the talent and the idea, what is the next step?
Create a business plan
A business plan or model defines the core activities of the business and some basic strategies for deploying them. Businesses that can maximize their online practices and business dealings have much less overheads than traditional retail locations. Less overheads equals higher profit margins. Web design services can begin with some home office space, software, and online promotion.
As you develop your business model, you will want to define your ideal customer and develop a company slogan to be used in conjunction with your marketing efforts. Think about how you can reach potential clients in the most effective manner. Part of developing your business model should include research on potential competitors.
An important mantra in business is not to reinvent the wheel!
Take the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of another business, and to alternatively, piggyback on successful strategies.
A word of advice here (that comes after years of making mistakes): try to compete in terms of quality of service; don’t try to compete in terms of price.
Develop an online presence
Once you have your business plan, you need to open up shop. If you are going to be developing websites, you should be able to refer customers to your own website. Remember that your website serves two functions – promoting your business and presenting your product. Your website will show potential customers what type of product they can expect.
The overall look of your website is important as it showcases your abilities as a web designer.
The actual content of the website is important in order to maximize web searches. It is highly recommended that you research SEO (search engine optimization) as well as social media promotion as you design and build your website.
You should be working on your website every single day! Not only should it be constantly improved in terms of design, speed and usability, you also should be constantly writing quality articles for your blog and promoting them as the best way to attract clients is with content marketing and SEO.
Establish referral relationships
Simply putting up the “open” sign on your shop does not guarantee business. It is also a good idea to partner with existing businesses who have established customer bases. This can be accomplished with some creative negotiating and leveraging. Think about strategic business relationships, and move forward from there.
There are a lot of designers hanging around on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Spend a bit of time engaging with other people in your field in social media. If you build enough trust you will win referrals this way.
Once you build a website for a client, they will need that website hosted. Partner with an established web hosting company, and use that partnership to generate referrals back and forth. If done properly, these types of relationships can become mutually beneficial, and they can help a new business establish a customer pipeline. Remember that as you establish a customer base; add a page to your website highlighting testimonials, and links to completed websites.
It’s a good idea to ask past clients to write glowing testimonials and to recommend you to their friends and associates.
Sell, sell, sell
Now, it’s go time. Often in a business, the first few sales will have a snowball effect on operations. Think about promotions for the first 50 customers. Offer reductions for up-front payments. The goal is to get a small base of satisfied customers as quickly as possible. Remember that both good and bad products and services generate word of mouth advertising. Solicit referrals by offering discounts, and refer customers to your business partners as often as you can.
What do you think?
Are you running a design business or thinking about starting one? Was this advice useful to you? What barriers are there in your life or the marketplace that are stopping your success in this field? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below