Written by Monitis on 12 July 2012
Getting started in web design is tough – competition is fierce – and growing an existing web design business is just as challenging in the current market.
Many web design businesses are small, often one or two man operations. This means the business often lacks the skills and experience needed to build a sustainable, profitable business.
Monitis – one of the world’s leading providers of web and cloud systems monitoring services – has provided a list of five key challenges that their customers face in growing and scaling their web design business.
Challenge 1: Finding new business
The biggest challenge cited by Monitis’ customers is having to continually seek out and win new business. They often find themselves stuck in a cycle: find a new customer; sell and deliver a project; find new customer. This cycle is tough and leads to a feast and famine.
Solution: Develop secure, recurring revenue streams from existing customers
Many web designers don’t put ongoing maintenance and support arrangements in place at the outset. Monitoring user experience of clients’ websites allows you to earn recurring revenue, which ultimately increases performance and, since it’s automated, doesn’t take much time.
Offering monthly support services not only brings with it recurring revenue, it allows you to focus on strengthening existing client relationships instead of constantly chasing new business.
Challenge 2: Ensuring ongoing support and maintenance contracts are profitable
So, you’re offering fixed-fee contracts for ongoing support – great – as long as you’re making money! How do you avoid doing more work than you priced for?
Solution: Track the cost of support contracts against income
You need to track time for each request against each customer, which you can do using a call tracking/helpdesk system. This has many other benefits too as less work is forgotten about, multiple people can work on the same ticket and your customers can save time by logging requests themselves. There are many call tracking/helpdesk systems on the market to choose from, but some popular ones include Zendesk, Worketc, Zoho and Salesforce.
Challenge 3: Proving to clients that you’re delivering value
How do you demonstrate to your customers that their monthly support fees are worthwhile? You need to be able to prove that you’re active in the background or they may cancel the support contract.
Solution: Provide in-depth monthly reporting
By providing automated reports detailing, for example, website uptime/downtime, page load times and transaction workflow completion you can show your clients the issues they’ve had and what you did to fix or prevent them.
Additionally, monitoring platforms often allow you to brand reports as your own so you can provide them to your clients without the confusion of a third party branded tool.
Challenge 4: Winning new business – how do you stand above the competition?
Even with repeat revenue streams, you still need to win new contracts and stand out from your competitors. You can already show prospects that you’re good at design, but how can you show them you’re top dog for website performance?
Solution: Show example performance reporting to prospects
When pitching to potential customers, show them the measurement systems you have in place to check website performance. This will highlight the exceptional customer service you provide, even after you’ve delivered their website.
According to Monitis, some of their web design customers even refuse to take on new clients unless the client agrees to a monthly maintenance contract. This positions them as fanatically passionate about their clients’ websites and, in many respects, sets a tone for the relationship. Plus it’s profitable!
Challenge 5: Stop squabbling over website issues
Sometimes clients will blame you for website issues that are not your fault. It’s not uncommon for the web designer to be in the firing line when something goes wrong, but often it can be down to mismanaged web servers or your client fiddling with settings they don’t understand. So, how can you put a stop to these disagreements and get down to fixing the problem?
Solution: Monitor your clients’ web assets
When a customer calls to highlight an issue, wouldn’t it be great to be able to say “I’m on it; it’ll be fixed in 5 minutes”? Or, better still to be able to tell them you fixed an issue before they even knew there was one?
Using an automated monitoring system would allow you to do this. You can view all your clients’ websites from one dashboard and set up alerts to notify you of issues. You can also be proactive and highlight potential issues to your client, such as a slow responding web server that should perhaps be updated to avoid future downtime.
Lauren Rennet, owner of Elastic Creative, recently discovered the potential of offering their clients a monthly monitoring service powered by Monitis: "It enabled us to provide our clients with a greatly enhanced monthly maintenance package, and with this level of vision across all our websites we can proactively alert our clients to issues and recommend creative developments to unlock potential."
Find out how Monitis can help you grow your profits:
Monitis provides web & cloud systems monitoring services that help you on your way to growing a profitable and scalable business. If you want to learn more about our solutions or try us free for 15 days today! Or visit our website for more information – www.monitis.com.