Recently I was listening to the “journeys” of several entrepreneurs in different industries – from their initial dreams to their current operations. Interestingly, each shared regrets, or actions they wish they had done differently. Here is their retrospective wisdom — in the hope others will reach success faster:
1. “I wish I had not been so cheap. I should have invested in strong infrastructure like having my accounting set up properly and a decent website. I wasted too much time trying to cobble it together myself. And the result? My image did not look professional and my books had to be completely cleaned up later.”
2. “I was unclear on my unique value proposition. By being ‘all things to all people’, how could I communicate value? That meant my marketing was wishy-washy and ineffective. And without being clear on who was my best customer, I picked up many poorly defined projects where I lost money.”
3. “I should have focused first on my sales pipeline. It took me too long to realize that the only way to meet my revenue goals was to work the numbers – number of clients, means 5 times as many proposals which means 10 times as many touches with potential prospects each month. When I finally focused on these raw facts, I started making money.”
4. “My prices were too low. I tried to compete against more established players on price which just undercut my brand and service value. I failed to track my time – much less account for it in my profit calculations. When I finally looked at profitability by product, service and even customer, I was able to focus on areas where I could grow.”
5. “I wish I had sought out a mentor. I could have greatly benefited from someone with experience and some success – especially in my industry. An early mentor could have focused my efforts and held me accountable.”
What are some of your greatest regrets? Share below.
Economy is essential to every successful business marketing plan and you want to apply the same analysis to your website design. If you’re not careful, your website can turn from a marketing tool to a business drain.
Here are 4 pitfalls to avoid to make sure your website marketing remains a success.
Imitation may be the finest form of flattery but when making your website, it could end up costing you. Newly established businesses can find it tempting to add every bell and whistle that appears on large corporate websites, but this can be more trouble than it’s worth and problematic in the long run.
Large corporations can afford to employ developers whose primary job includes updating, maintaining and developing the company website, but smaller firms can rarely afford to hire for this type of role. Therefore, including too many features runs the risk of running out of money before the website has a chance to go live or results in terrible user experiences that can turn away new customers.
To determine the appropriate budget, factor in the amount of time and money required for both running and maintaining a business website. Calculate the expected cost of a minimum of 1 year and include every aspect of development that can be expected. Cost calculations for new websites will need to include infrastructure costs, hosting services, website design services, add on features, and the cost associated with integrating third party applications.
To calculate the cost of redesigning a website, factor in any website development services, required purchases, or increased costs of maintaining the updates. If your costs are higher than your budget, try to prioritize the features, break down the cost for each of these features, and then select the ones that are the most important for your business.
Many businesses use industry terminology to describe products and services in order to appear competitive. This practice can be detrimental if your business offers an innovative new product or service for two reasons.
First, your business will sound similar to other companies in your industry and visitors may not understand what makes your company different or the benefits of what your business offers. Second, your company may sound so similar to a larger firm that customers have little incentive to go with a less established brand.
While a unique, one of a kind website design and layout can be visually appealing, keep in mind that website visitors are primarily interested in finding information about your company. A well-established navigation format may seem boring, but it can make it easier for visitors to find answers to their questions much faster than learning a brand new layout, which ultimately increases the chances that a potential client will contact your business after visiting your website.
One of the main reasons for visiting a company’s website is to find the most up to date contact information. If this information not easy to find, it can drive customers away. Visitors might decide the trouble of finding the information requires more work than to Google for companies that offer similar products or services as your business. If important information is not easily available to visitors, customers can also walk away with the wrong impression about your company’s capabilities or expertise.
It’s important to keep in mind that as your business grow your website may need to change to account for new products services or features for instant you may want to consider whether or not you want to have a client access portal or members only content.
By not planning for the future you may end up selecting the wrong platform for your business. For instance if you use a company specific tool to create a website it may make it difficult to hire developers in the future when you want to add new features and you might not be able to migrate your website if you select a different web hosting service.
For an accurate estimate of your website development project, make sure there is room in your budget to account for unexpected events or problems that can occur after your website goes live. Key questions to consider include:
Think about where you want your website to be in the future when determining which platform to use design website this will allow you the option to develop these features in the future without having to completely redesign your website, which can be costly and time consuming.