We have been in business for three years now. That time has passed quickly, we are amazed at the energy and resolve we still have. As our daughters grow up my wife is able to take on a bigger role in the business. It is wonderful to have her input and for her to implement ideas to grow the business.
So where are we up to? In three years we have launched 137 websites. 80 in Armidale, 26 in Inverell and throughout the New England, Australia and Internationally. We had 60% growth in revenue in our second year and on track for 80% growth in our third year (growth from second year figures). There is a ceiling to this, as we are a small team, but we have increased efficiencies and raised our prices due to demand.
In December last year we bought our first house. A modest fixer-upper in the beautiful town of Inverell. We now make regular trips to Glen Innes, Guyra, Armidale and Dorrigo.
We are so happy to have witnessed our clients success. One client started their business with the husband in a full time job and the wife part time, they are now working solely on their own business. This is due to their great product and other marketing efforts, but it is good to be part of the solution. Another client has had to employ a person part time due to the volume of online sales.
Over three years it is great to examine how our early clients have bought us new work. The referral tree is amazing. One client referred us to another client and that client lined us up work in China. I have worked with people in Melbourne and Sydney purely from our Twitter presence. It is amazing where work comes from. Working with great people lets you make contact with other great people.
Keys to Success
Satisfy Customers – Make sure they are happy with what you have made for them. You balance their requirements with your professional opinion to make an effective website. They then become your sales team. They will talk to friends, family, business associates and you will get more work.
Word of Mouth – We are a technology company, it is a high tech industry, but it is so amazing how strong word of mouth is. Particularly in our region, hands down it is where our work has come from. We have done no traditional advertising like paper or radio. Our growth has all been people talking to people. We only looked for work in the first six months, since then it has come to our door.
Client Input – We speak to 2-3 new businesses each week. We have a lot of variety in our client base. It is crucial for an effective website for us to listen. The website we create for people has to represent their business, their uniqueness and passion. The website must have standards of functionality but within these bounds it has to represent the client well and perform. They won't spend more money with you if they don't see money coming in the door.
Push Your Comfort Levels – In setting up our software and businss processes we really pushed ourselves and went for quality. This has paid off, but once you are cruising it takes an effort to push for quality again, it is much easier to go with what has worked. But pushing got us to where we are now, so we need to examine and adopt new things. Always look to improve.
Work/Life Balance – This is a big lesson for small business owners. You want the business to work so you can support your family, you do long hours to achieve this. But you still need family time because children grow up so fast. It also helps your business efforts and decisions to have time out and to enjoy what you are working hard for. We have found these downtimes have inspired us to greater things.
So we would like to thank all our clients for engaging us for their online needs. We have found it hard work but are pleased with where we are, the relationships we have and where we are headed. Being 80s kids - “The futures so bright, I gotta wear shades”