This is How To Scale a Web Design Company

The ugly business side of web design

The web design business as a whole is different from many other industries. There are few barriers to entry so there are plenty of competitors with far bigger budgets and are more established. We’ve also seen dozens of firms come and go over the years.

On top of that, someone can hire a web designer for super cheap overseas. From the eyes of a client, hiring a freelancer or agency in the USA just isn’t in the budget.

I’ve watched designers try to build up a loyal client base. They’ll work their tails off and then the client drops them. They’ll invest in advertising only to see it go unanswered. They’ll put on a new website, but never really update it. They’ll invest in a social media strategy only to see minimal results. They’ll launch an email campaign, but never follow through with regular communication.

As a result, the web design business is highly volatile. We’ve seen clients jump from firm to firm, only to have no luck. I’ve seen the same clients stick with the same designer year after year, only to drop them when something better comes along. I’ve seen design firms build strong, steady revenue streams only to lose it all when a larger competitor gets involved.

What happens when you combine a highly competitive web design market, a rapidly changing technology landscape, and the need for new solutions every day?

You end up with a thriving web design business where one good idea can bring the business soaring. Or it can send it plummeting. And in either case, there is no way of knowing until it is too late.

It’s not just about creating a good website or an engaging video, your clients expect your company to deliver high-quality projects on a consistent basis, and they are quick to punish any shortcoming. So you have to ask yourself what kind of business do you want to run?

Why it’s so hard to scale a web design business

Scaling a web design firm can mean a lot of things. Whether you’re an in-house team or a full-service agency, there’s a lot to consider and a lot of variables to manage. The biggest variable is going to be how quickly you want to grow.

If you have been in web design business for a while, you might know how difficult it can be to grow your business. Sure, there is a lot of competition out there. People are always looking for the best and the cheapest service.

When it comes to web design companies, there are certain things that must be taken into consideration before you start building your business and scaling your company.

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Designing websites is hard, designing websites in a scalable way is even harder. There is always going to be a need for new, better, faster ways to build a website. If you can’t scale your website creation process, you’ll eventually end up going out of business.

There’s no magic bullet, no sure-fire recipe for scaling a web design business.

A web design business, no matter the size or type, is a complex beast. There are too many moving parts to give yourself a solid base of operations.

You’ll need to build a team with a combination of experience and new talent.

The trick to scaling a web design business is developing a culture where everyone on your team wants to be there. They all need to share the same goals and values. Your team needs to be unified, and they need to work together to achieve those goals and values. This can take time, but it’s crucial to scaling a web design business.

How to scale a web design company

Find the right mix of people and skills

There is no doubt that web design is a skill-based industry, but not every web designer should be a business owner, developer, or marketer. The successful web design businesses I’ve worked with have balanced skill sets across these areas, often having one person who is skilled in all of them.

While a team that’s built around a single person can help to ensure you have complete control over everything from strategy to execution, it can also be an easy target for growing pains, especially in the early stages of the business. In order to avoid this, I suggest starting with a team of three, at the very least.

A good mix of people means you can leverage the strengths of each member of the team, while avoiding unnecessary conflicts of interest. For example, a project manager can ensure that each team member is executing on schedule and on budget, while a technical lead can keep the creative vision on track and prevent issues that could cause the project to fall behind.

Additionally, being able to fill multiple roles and responsibilities is a must for any business. Having multiple members of the team that can take on each role gives you the opportunity to scale, and makes it easier to balance work and life.

How to find new prospects

The best way to find new prospects is by being in front of potential buyers, which can be done through direct sales or through indirect sales.

When you’re building a web design company, you have to think of yourself as a service provider. Your customer base is comprised of businesses that need your services and want to come back for future projects. It’s important to figure out how to grow your customer base, and one of the best ways to do so is to find new clients.

The key to scaling a web design company is to have a consistent and predictable revenue stream. When businesses decide to hire a new web design company they need to make sure that the revenue that the company will be generating will be sustainable enough to allow the business to grow.

  • Grow your reach using social media
  • Networking events
  • Ask friends/clients for referrals
  • Content marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Video

There’s no right answer here. Do what you’re good at and don’t try to do something you’re not familiar with. If you’re a good writer – write some blog posts. Don’t try to start a Youtube channel until you’ve mastered your written content. Still with 1 and then move to the next once you see results.

How to stand out from the crowd

There are many advantages to having a web design company, especially if you’re a small business. Having a website can give you an online presence that you can use to communicate with clients and prospects in an easy and convenient way. A website also gives you a platform where you can showcase your products or services, which can help potential clients find you more easily.

The biggest advantage of having a web design company, though, is the ability to create a brand identity that can really set you apart from other businesses. A professional website is something that people can connect with, giving your business the opportunity to be a household name rather than a fleeting memory.

A great way to stand out from the crowd is to make sure you’re developing websites that can help your business be successful. The key is to take a strategic approach to web design, focusing on the most important elements of your business and making sure that you’re keeping those things front and center.

From my years owning a web design agency, the only way to scale up is by being exceptional. It’s a simple concept, but if you want to be seen and known in your space you need to do more than deliver.

Excellence can come from many sources. Great ideas. Innovative concepts. A great team. An exceptional leader. If you are the best at what you do, you’ll be the most successful.

I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s the truth that I’ve learned. I also know it’s very general, but I’ll write more about it in another article. (Update: here’s that article – How to stand out from the crowd as a web design company)

How to keep customers coming back

It’s also no secret that it’s far cheaper to get new business from current or past clients than it is to find completely new clients. This is true in almost every industry.

If you want to succeed at anything, it’s super important to have good customer service. This is true with any business. If you aren’t able to provide support for your clients, you should not be in business. And again, that goes for any business. If your clients are happy with your service, they’ll obviously be more than willing to come back to you for more work.

There are many methods to sell to current and past clients – and I wrote about my top 4 ways to keep clients coming back here. Here’s quick summary:

  • Newsletters
  • Discounts
  • Offer other services
  • Scheduled check-ins
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Author:
I've been making websites since I was a kid and now have over 20 years of experience building them for myself and my agency. I noticed patterns of problems that all business owners experience with their websites. Problems that most business owners don’t even know matter, let alone how to address. I built Pagemend to help people stay on top of their websites.

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