How to Start a Web Development Business

So you have looked around your local yellow pages and gone to a few networking events with success, but who will actually do the web design work for you?

The thing here is that you must have a web designer or firm that will take this work from you as and when you get it. Sort of like your back office and you must have an idea of their capacity just so you can keep up with demand if you are to do this fulltime. You may choose to get this sorted out upfront so you know what prices to quote when you meet with prospects or you can just keep getting work then outsourcing to the many many web designers that are milling about online – at your own desired mark-up.

The first option is more secure and usually works with companies that just want to know that someone is interested and will mostly close the deal themselves and pay you any due commissions or finder’s fees. This usually works well with local companies that you can meet face to face and get all paperwork sorted out. And also to make sure proper tracking is done and there is no chance of circumvention. You could even be an account manager to them so that your prospect goes through you when they need anything done at all if the firm is flexible enough.

The second option would be mostly for those of you who may want to run a full-fledged web design agency where you run the whole business then delegate the work to someone else who will work under your business name.They may be freelancers or part timers you contract only as and when there is work to be done. This is just so you are not paying any overheads when there is actually no income coming in through the doors. Again a quick search on Google will show you a lot of job sites where you can outsource work to people that have been already well vetted and you only pay them upon successful completion of work required. And you get to use their portfolio as well when you start out. It is a win-win situation.

In summary, if you are looking to get some good money just using your local contacts and your local organizations or networking events, you could easily start a small business doing web development for your area.

How to Start a Web Development Business

It’s true, the recent credit crunch has left a lot of people reeling from the lack of funds across the board. People have been laid off and businesses are struggling all over the place.

This has led to the start of more frugal and creative marketing methods for businesses and the well educated. One such way is getting online and using the Internet to engage with peers, prospects and customers in a very cost effective manner. But, not everyone is doing it well and not everyone knows how to get online in the first place. Simply put they need help, your help and fast!

You see most techies or geeks (no I am not trying to insult anyone here for I consider myself one) are not naturally the gifted type when it comes to selling and people skills – it’s a steep learning curve for us. Meaning that there are a lot of people worldwide that know how to design websites, run a very decent SEO campaign put you on Twitter and other social networks making your business money but… they need that face or marketing guy to connect with YOUR local businesses that are DESPERATE for these services just to keep afloat in today’s business environment.

Do you know any such businesses?
Maybe your favourite printer is about to go out of business?
Are you personally affected by this and need help?

Well if you answered yes to any of the above then you may just be what web designers are looking for to get personal referrals, sales and other local marketing done to get their proverbial foot in the prospect’s door. You may have heard of affiliate programs or associate programs where you refer business to developers and make money? This is how it works.

Depending on whether you just want extra money by word of mouth introductions or maybe you actually do want to get into this business full time here’s what you wil need to start:

An online presence (website or social profile) – some developers will give you one to join them
Business cards
Be a self starter that is good at spotting these web development opportunities and away you go.

A really good website can easily be in the thousands of dollars and I have seen and worked with designers that will give commissions of upto 30% or even just quote you a low price and allow you to mark it up to your end customers for whatever you can achieve. The potential here is huge. If you know people that want websites or social profiles made then this is for you.

Writing a Web Developer Business

If you’re in the field of developing your own business either as a freelance web developer or as a business entity, it is imperative to your business to have a written business plan. Chances of succeeding without a guiding business plan are very slim.

Business plans help provide you and your business a strategy to test your ideas while ensuring your marketing plan is effective.

Below is a brief guide for writing a business plan based on a business as a freelance web developer. After writing your business plan, it’s always a good idea to keep it updated as your business grows.

The Executive Summary:
Basically, this portion will summarize the 5 W’s (who, what, where, where and why) about your business. This should include what services you’ll offer, your target market and how you will reach this market.

Sector Overview:
This part of the business plan is dedicated to your competitors. You need to outline who else is in the same category as you by defining your market. Then compiling research about the things your competitors offer and their prices for service.

When you’ve summarized your competitors, you will also need to provide a summary of how your business will be different. You will also include the estimated sales from your industry and what kinds of trends are happening in web development.

Market Research:

After you’ve defined your target market, this portion of the business plan will explain that market as well as how your business is going to generate new clients. Important information to include will be the demographics, physical locations of the market, all the boundaries, and what the needs are of your prospective clients. A good way to get this done is by researching and compiling a list of other companies in your target market and reviewing trends.

SWOT Analysis:

This portion of the business plan is to go over your weaknesses and strengths for being a web developer. This step is one of the most important. You’ll need to again, conduct some research to find trends and see how other businesses failed. You’ll want to search out any threats your business may come face-to-face with as well as the opportunities.

Marketing Strategy:

This part involves writing out all the ways in which you’ll attract prospective clients. This may include networking at business events, internet, and newsletters, targeting certain companies or even cold-calling. Also, very important to add is pricing plans and promotional offerings you intend to use.

Legal Structure:

In this section, you will need to outline how your business can operate legally by county and state. You need to establish whether you are a company or a sole proprietor as well as whether or not you’ll be required to purchase a business license and/or tax ID number. You’ll want to include any fees you may have to pay, due dates and the method of payment for each collector.

All Finances:
This portion is for writing out all your business finances that you’ll need to stay in business as well as your personal cost of living. Most importantly, is keeping in mind things you’ll need to pay for in the future. Are there any extras that you haven’t thought about? You definitely should spend the most time on this to be sure you don’t leave anything out.

Local Web Development Business

Most people who want to sell products on the Internet employ a web developer to create the website they use for their online business. Sometimes, these business owners will seek out offshore freelancers who are willing do the work at a much lower rate. Even though you may end up with an excellent website, you should be aware of the possible consequences of choosing price over substance. You may soon realize that it would be in your best interest to go ahead, pay a little more, and support a business locally. When you choose a local web development business, you will always have the opportunity to directly work with the web developer or developers.

By choosing to support website development in Australia, you will receive personal attention that you may not receive if you choose to take your business offshore. This is especially important for those individuals who like to be face-to-face while attending to their business. This results in trust being developed between both parties that can be beneficial for the business relationship. If you maintain a personal connection with your website designer, your website will turn out more tailored to you and your business needs. By working together, you will also know that you are not being scammed which unfortunately is a common occurrence on the Internet these days.

A local web development company will fully understand the locality as it already knows the local customers that need to be targeted, areas where you operate, and your local competitors. Every culture shares some common experiences and stories, and only a local web development company can relate those experiences through your business on the Internet.

There are numerous economical means to communicate with people around the world, but some find that they run into the common obstacle of trying to understand someone who does not share their language. When you choose to do your website development in Australia, they will likely speak your language and there will be a variety of ways to contact your designer. There is also a sense of reassurance in being in the same room with a designer when you are working out the details of how you would like your website. You are able to point out any discrepancies between the designer’s and your visions immediately. Another problem with working with someone on the other side of the world is the time difference. Usually when you are awake, they are asleep and vice versa. When hiring locally, you will know for sure what the company’s business hours are and that they will be open when you are available.

Another good reason to choose a local website development company is that it will help boost the local economy, which in turn may create more business for your company. If you own a business in your community for which you want to create a website, your best bet to find a website designer who understands the psychology of your target demographic is to hire locally. Many people feel more comfortable dealing with a business that they know is local. A great way to let your potential customers know that you are a local business is to add a little regional spice to your website, whether it be through the pictures included in the site or the layout and colors used on the page. This is often important in areas related to website design such as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.