Running a successful website design company takes an equal measure of design talent, and business acumen.
Many website designers come out of college expecting to jump straight into the higher range of earnings. In reality, you’ll probably start out taking jobs at almost any price, just to gain a reputation and a bit of experience in the non-design-related side of running the company.
This article will talk about the handful of business-related steps you’ll need to take in order to help you focus your mind and your time on working toward success, avoiding time sinks, and ensuring that you grow in the specific business skills that will allow you to gradually increase your rates to professional levels.
What You’ll Need
Of course, any web design company needs the professional software tools that go into the trade. We’ve known quite a few geeks who proudly attempted to go into business hand-coding everything. It’s important to keep those hand-coding skills primed, but professional web design tools save you time you’ll need for other things.
And that’s something else you’ll need a lot of – time. A new website design company will spend a lot of time selling, gaining a reputation, and learning the huge list of business logic and implementation issues that they don’t teach you in school. You’ll also spend time networking with other professionals, especially programmers who can complement your own abilities to satisfy a larger number of clients.
Which brings us to another non-design skill you’ll need in steady supply – communication skills. Business is all about communication. A new website designer will build his or her company’s client base fastest by writing the best proposals and overtures to their prospects – not by having the best portfolio.
Bear in mind that there are millions of web designers out there with top-notch skills – you need to go get the clients, because they aren’t going to come get you. Get some practice selling your skills to potential buyers, and speaking to them in ways that build confidence and interest in choosing you.
Choosing a short list of niches will help you in the medium- and long-term as you begin to raise your prices to professional levels.
Each client, in each business niche, is going to try and choose a website design company that understands a few things about their needs in advance. Getting to know those assumptions is your first step to encouraging the customer confidence, that leads to selling jobs at truly professional billing rates.
Each niche has a handful of factual assumptions, dealing with questions of web design priorities, branding, site structure necessities, and the like. Niches also tend to come with specific needs for feature sets.
This is where your time spent networking with other professionals will come in handy.
Medical websites tend to need security and loads of photographs. Radio station websites tend to need programmer skill in addition to design skill, and they tend to want much more complicated, specialty layouts.
Each business will prefer to hire a website design company that can make the right assumptions, saving everybody time.