2011 has been quite the year for FreshySites. We really have come a long way in just a few short months and the feedback we have received about our product has been very encouraging.
Inception (Not the movie)
I have always known deep down that the world of website design, especially local website design would eventually change. As I worked in the field since about 2009 I had a fairly good understanding of the marketplace, pricing, demand, expectations, etc in regards to a local web design shop. However, with so many advancements being made in the web designers toolset it seemed that things would eventually have to be shaken up. Players like Intuit, 1&1, and Godaddy were already entering the space of low-cost small business web design but in my opinion they seemed to be doing it with little if any grace in terms of design concepts and support. Sure, their sites are functioning (well, depends on your definition), but did they look really professional? Were they driving leads to the small business? Were they being talked about? Were they capable of handling a blog or a shopping cart? There seemed to be a lot missing here.
The Beach House
Much in the same way you see organizations like Startup Weekend push entrepreneurs to set the firm and tough goal of getting the essentials of a business in working order in a short timeframe (54 hrs in their case), I set the goal of getting the essentials of a new web design business up and running in the 6 days we were at a family beach house in MD for vacation. I had a few other things to do related to my other business but I set a lot of time aside for this new web design project, which at this point did not even have a name.
There She Blows!
Post beach house craziness I had a lot of key things in place and enough excitement to keep carrying forward with the project. I had a name, FreshySites. I had a pricing chart and product outline. I even had a basic website up and running. I also decided that this project was something I did not want to take on alone. I once read a statistic that 93% of all “extreme growth” companies had more than 1 founder. That is, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot in terms of growth if you want to try and do it all yourself. With this in mind I called on one of my best friends and true business genius Vincent Consumano to see if he would be interested in joining me in FreshySites. We talked and I pitched the idea, he was receptive and in true Vincent style brought up a ton of stuff that I hadn’t even thought of (just one reason why having a partner is so important). We both left the conversation excited and enthusiastic about the future of FreshySites and planned to talk later on about roles, equity, responsibilities, and all that fun stuff. He was in! Most of the next two months revolved around getting things in place until we felt we had a really solid marketing message and product to begin selling.
Web Design Projects
Once we had a solid concept and simple marketing message (beautiful affordable website design with no hassles) it seemed that projects just began rolling in. I would estimate our close rate at about 75%. In other words, out of every 4 people who contacted up about a site 3 of them went forward with their project. We stayed very busy from about October through the end of the year, completing around 15 projects in just 3 months. It was a very exciting start and because of our focus and attention to detail in our customer service our new clients were extremely happy with how their individual projects were going. Customer service is a key point in our business plan and one that we know will keep marketing our product for us by way of referrals and word of mouth, in fact, a lot of that is already happening now. Some of the stand-out projects we put together include District Agenda, GPMO India, and Kellam Development.
FreshySites 2012 Goals
What would an year-end wrap up be without looking ahead and setting some goals. It’s a great feeling to turn the page (or click next) on the calendar and see a full new year and set some goals to accomplish in that year. We wanted to do that and share our goals with you so here they are:
- Keep 95% of all current customers through the end of 2012
- Make sure all customers are always super pumped about FreshySites
- Rank top 5 for Key Terms like ‘Web Design’ and ‘Website Development’ in target market areas
- 100 New Customers
- 5 New Corporate Partnerships