Growing a small business is like training to be an Olympic athlete. Let’s continue this comparison with one of my favorite Olympic sports – gymnastics.
When you start out in the sport, you are young. First you learn to tumble and then flip, but once you have mastered the basics and you realize you love the sport you start to look for a coach to mold you and help make you the best you can be.
When you start out in business, you’re a new, young business and you are learning to find your way. Like a beginner gymnast, you need to find your stride and master the basics. But once you have and you’re ready to take your company to the next level, you need to look at who’s guiding you and helping shape your vision.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Find a New Web Design Team?
To continue the analogy, athletes know when they need to grow beyond the skills of their first coach. Following this model, you must ask yourself what your business needs to achieve the growth you desire. If your growth has plateaued with your current design and development team, it may be time to search for new coaches who can take you to new heights.
Ask Yourself: Are they Reactive or Proactive?
The web is changing faster than ever before; new trends and innovations are always on the horizon. Is your current firm sharing these changes with you? Are they making recommendations about what you need to implement now verses what you can hold off on? You may not need to be a first adopter of every new online trend. If you have a good team in place, they will direct you to the tools necessary to achieve growth in your company today. They will also help you phase in and often budget what is needed for tomorrow.
For example, a few years back we reached out to all our customers and suggested that they integrate the share function on their website. This feature was something we felt strongly about on all our new clients’ site designs. As a best practice, we thought sites that predated this should also be given a chance to incorporate the emerging trend into their existing sites. We reached out to all our current clients, explained the feature, and implemented it at no charge for their support and loyalty. We may not be able to do this with every new idea, but it showed our existing clients that we wanted them to gain the benefit of social sharing without forcing them to redesign their web sites.
Ask Yourself: Who’s Guiding Whom?
Keeping with the theme of the last question, are you the one asking the questions about new trends and changes? Are you the one recommending layout and design ideas? One of the tell tale signs that you may want to start talking to new web firms is that you’re the one guiding the entire process rather than your design and development coach. In the beginning, you may have wanted a firm that would act as a technician and just execute your ideas, but now you may have reached a threshold in your knowledge base. At this point, it’s time to talk to someone who can guide you for continued growth.
Ask Yourself: Do They Understand the Business, The Tech, The Design & The Marketing
This is a big question because no one person can be an expert at all these items. This is when you realize you need more than just a designer and a developer – you need a team. Growing a business that relies heavily on a website will require a team that can look at each angle and discuss strategies, plans and budgets. You need a team that knows what technologies exist and how to implement in such a way that is both visually appealing for the user and an organized and easy to use for your in-house systems. When you started your business and first launched your website, you may have only needed a designer and developer, but now you need someone to ask you more questions that relate to your business and growth. You may need a firm who can look at your workflow processes and internal software to eliminate redundancies. You may need a firm to make it not only efficient but visually appealing and user-friendly as well.
Like the gymnast who feels a bond with his or her first coach, we feel a loyalty toward people we work with, but sometimes, as much as we like them personally, they can hold us back professionally. When you started your business, you may have only needed a freelancer or small one-to-two person firm, but as you grow you may need to find a team who can help your business reach your next goal of gold.