New options coming for super-small businesses

It’s tough watching little guys (i.e., mom & pop shops, solo entrepreneurs, new kids on the block) get kicked around in the marketplace because of their inexperience in one key area or another. I’m a firm believer in the free market and the way – if it’s truly free – it rewards people that do things right (or helps those that make mistakes learn to make adjustments…or fail). But how are little guys supposed to gain the competence necessary to successfully manage a web design project without…well, actually managing such a project – successfully or otherwise?

School of hard knocks

There’s usually little room for “learning experiences” when they’re paid for with precious startup dollars. Unfortunately, many people come to me after they’ve wasted money hiring a web developer who was too expensive; whether that person charged a lot more or a lot less than the going rate is irrelevant. What I mean by that is that even just a few hundred dollars is too much when someone has invested their time and money and the result is a site that’s difficult to use or that would make them look bad if they allowed it to be posted. Or both.

I wish they’d seen me first.

Up ’til now there has been no way for people with very small budgets to even consider hiring me to build their website. I understand that. And while I have very much wanted to work with more of the moms and pops and crazy entrepreneurs (you guys are fun!), the budgets have to reflect the time and expertise I invest or I’m giving away my work. I might be up for that if I could get Apple Computer and my web host, Internet service provider, mortgage company and local grocery store to do the same.

Good news for smaller budgets!

Dorpsomroeper / Town-crierI have found ways to scale back what I offer to exclude things that little guys may not need anyway – at least not right away. As I discovered more workable options to pair with my capabilities, I grew excited at the potential to work with more entrepreneurs and small business owners. People who are doing interesting things and who know that a professional web presence is important but need sub-$2,000 or even sub-$1,000 budgets. People that care about good design and having a solid web presence from which to grow. If I want to work with someone, I can’t withhold the experience I have. I can’t turn off being nit-picky. I can’t refuse to see typos in the copy people give me. I can’t help brainstorming when I know there’s a way I can build a website that solves a problem and helps a business. So even the most basic site I’ll offer will be one that you can be proud of.

Simpler needs = lower costs

Maybe you don’t need to be able to sell things from your web site. Maybe you don’t even need your own domain name, or at least not right away. Perhaps you are OK with a simple, pre-designed template as long as you can make it your own with some customizations. Do you care about having me visit you for face-to-face meetings? All of those things take time and cost money, but many times they’re overkill when you’re just starting out, or just getting a website up for the first time. So why not skip them?

Like a little house in a great location

Tiny house, Portland OROne of the best things about the way I work and the tools I use is that nothing is wasted. We can start small and add capabilities later, whether you want to sell e-books, take credit card payments, make big advertising bucks with your awesome blogging skills – whatever. Regardless of how small we start, I will insist that every aspect of your site look and work in a way that enhances your professional credibility. You can’t be sure you’ll get that from the guy in India who’ll do your site for $300 (or maybe ₹18,000). Nor can you always be sure you’ll get it from firms who’ll charge you a lot more.

When it comes to your marketing efforts and your web presence, getting the best you can afford is the smart way to work within your budget. Don’t waste your money on something that won’t grow with you, or that will hurt your reputation when it makes you look bad. Think bigger. But start simpler. I’ll help.

Note: I can offer these smaller-scale sites now, but am developing a tool that will help in comparing different service packages. Please get in touch if you are interested in a small budget site now, and I’ll provide details and answer any questions you may have.