If you are an experienced web designer, you should seriously consider starting your own business. Web design companies are in high demand as every business is looking to build an online presence through a website or an e-commerce web outlet. Web design involves minimum startup expenses and can be managed from the comfort of your home or a small office if you want to hire some employees.
How to get started with your website design business?
Starting up requires some upfront investment and hard work to build a portfolio and a customer base. Following are some of the steps needed to get started.
Estimate the initial cost: For a web design business, the initial costs relate to:
- hardware – laptop or desktop PC
- internet connection
- web design software such as PageMaker, Adobe Photoshop, or whatever you prefer
Develop a website for promotion: For a web design business, the business website becomes even more significant. Apart from introducing your services, design ideas and offers to customers, the design of the website is in itself an assertion of your skill as a web designer.
Research the market: The most important rule for any internet business is to stay in tune with internet trends. Check out the website design of leading businesses. Notable factors are navigational ease, easy maintainability, and excellent information organization.
Develop a portfolio: Initially, you may have to take up low paying or even non-paying projects as your business is new. Design websites for local businesses, non-profit organizations and volunteer services to build a strong portfolio, reputation, and relationships with prospective clients.
Network to build a customer base: One advantage of doing free work initially is networking and spreading awareness of your services. Distribute self designed business cards, make cold calls, advertise via flyers, and send direct mails to prospective clients. Register on business networking or lead generation websites, get freelance projects in the beginning and lead as you grow. The more experience you gain, the better you get, and more you grow your business. With more experience, you can charge more and target bigger customers.
Discuss legal issues: It is always a good idea to discuss legalities with your attorney such as the tax liabilities of owning a business and options regarding forming a company – incorporation, sole proprietor ship, limited liability company etc.
How to get more web design contracts?
Web design businesses can attract more customers by offering extra services, faster delivery times, and attractive prices. Following are some ideas to ramp up your business.
Add-on services: Web designers can partner with other freelancing professionals to improve the quality of their services. A copywriter can write effective text that helps site’s search engine optimization (SEO). An internet marketer can get more traffic to the website and improve its visibility. Offering umbrella services attracts more customers as all their website needs are met at one place. They will be happy to pay more for the extra services.
Faster delivery: Web designers can cut short designing time by using templates instead of designing from scratch. Of course, this is dependent on specific customer needs and the cost of the project. In majority of the cases, buying a template and customizing it to the customer’s needs is a good option.
Attractive prices: Low prices always attract customers. However, that does not mean you sell yourself short. Survey the market and quote a slightly discounted price, if you are short of projects and want to build your business. However, never offer a quote without understanding what the project entails. Once a quote is accepted, put it in writing along with other details – deadlines, schedule, project phases, part payments, etc.
As with all start up businesses, your web design business may not generate huge profits from day one. However, as you expand your customer base, the quality of your services will get you more attention and contracts.