In the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, Will Smith plays a salesman and single father of one who struggles to build a future for himself and his 5 year old son. His determination and persistence finally pays off when he lands an unpaid internship in a brutally competitive stockbroker-training program. I illustrate this story to point to the difficulty that one up against when starting a Web Design Agency here in Nigeria.
Though, just like Will Smith in the movie, with a dogged self-confidence and determination, you can rise above the obstacles to become successful.
Are you scared? Don’t be, this is not to scare you, but to give you the ins and outs on how to grow a Web Design agency that’s focused on design, from the ground up. In this post, I’ll share 5 things you should do if you intend to grow a design-centric web design agency in Nigeria.
Check out our post on The Past, Present and Future of UI UX design
They say nothing good comes easy and starting and growing a successful web design agency is no less, it takes a lot of effort, many rejections, sleepless nights and painful experiences, however the pay-off is very rewarding.
In growing a business, a web design agency included, a few things are necessary to invest in as you go, one is a strong brand image, that is the public’s experiences and perception of your brand should be top-notch, always. And the way to do that is to consistently ensure that every experience anyone has with your brand is always great. Brand-building and marketing are important parts of the equation. Let’s look at others, you’ll find they are connected to brand-building and marketing.
1. DO WORK THAT GETS YOU NOTICED
The key to building a reputable brand is to always do remarkable and incredible work that gets your brand noticed. Do great work that’s worth talking about, each and every single time, no matter the size of client, no matter the type of job. Do every job and task with as much precision and excellence as you can, this opens doors for you, you’d never imagined, some even a few years, when you’ve forgotten you even did the project.
Also treating all your clients equally, rather than treating clients depending on the amount of money paid or the complexity of the work they bring, be purposeful with your work.
2. FIND GREAT TEAM MEMBERS- INVEST IN THEM
One of the greatest assets to any business is its people. It is indeed true that one person simply cannot do everything, this calls for the absolute need of a team.
It is thus extremely important that you support your team equally. Spend time and resources ensuring that their skills and the tools they’re equipped with are up to industry level.
Growing a business is a continuous learning process which never ends. If you focus on improving your employees’ wellbeing, they in turn improve their quality of work and with their deliverability of quality work, you will see it translate into business growth.
But I must emphasize that hiring great people is key, hiring unmotivated individuals and pouring into them will certainly not pay off as investing in highly motivated and hardworking people.
“An agency is defined as a group of excellent people collaborating around a difficult challenge and finding solutions that drive our clients’ business. - Andrew Bailey, CEO of The&Partnership“
3. FIND CLIENTS WHO WILL PAY YOU WHAT YOU’RE WORTH
Designing and developing a website is hard work. It really doesn’t matter whether you are working with a small client or a big client, a lot of work still goes into designing, developing, coding, testing, and many other aspects that go into delivering the projects. At DODO, we add in-depth user research when carrying out web design projects for our clients. The resources put into this process, costs an enormous amount of time and work.
Knowledge on how to factor in profit so your margins are good, is key and will play a significant role in the growth of your business. You might want to consider pointing in another direction, clients who don’t see the value in what you’re bringing and are unwilling to pay for it. Politely refer them to other sources that might work well for their budget.
As you become more successful as an agency, new opportunities will emerge and more clients will find their way to you, either through word-of-mouth or marketing (more on marketing later). Your success no longer depends on your ability to prove yourself, but rather your ability to prioritize the many opportunities and requests that come your way, and manage those relationships. Keep in mind that saying no to one project isn’t about rejecting opportunities; rather, you’re weighing your priorities for efficiency, productivity and better results generally in your agency.
The value of marketing cannot be over-emphasized. Marketing creates awareness for your brand, allows potential customers far and near to reach you and directly affects your growth as a company. Engaging in marketing activities can take various forms, but for a web design agency in Nigeria, here are some forms of marketing you can be engaged in:
1. Digital marketing - Digital marketing includes technologies and strategies on the internet that helps businesses gain more recognition. The majorly used include Google Analytics and SEO. You can leverage on these technologies around the internet, because the internet provides access to a global audience, making it less difficult connecting with potential customers than the traditional ways.
2. Consider putting your website designs on design platforms like dribbble, behance etc.
3. Also putting up your websites and past projects up for local and global awards competitions – examples of such competitions are: Awwwards, FWA, CSS design awards.
5. AUTOMATE YOUR PROCESSES
Use technological tools to automate your processes. Automation helps to improve your agency’s operational efficiency, it saves costs, time and helps eliminate unnecessary tasks and improves overall productivity. The tools today are endless, there’s Slack, Asana, Trello, Toggl, Google’s Office Suite, Hubspot, Mailchimp, the list goes on.
6. FOLLOW PROCESS
What do I mean by ‘process’? A process is a well documented outline of the steps needed to be taken from start to finish in order to complete a project. This rings true when creating a web design project. It is used to categorize and split up the work into tasks and resources that are efficiently carried out, and monitored. Processes don’t only serve as a road map for each project. They also ensure that tasks get done up to standard, the better your process the better your end product.
Below is a standard process used around the web design:
Planning - This is debatably the most important phase, because what is decided here sets the stage for the entire project. The planning phase includes:
Requirement analysis - This includes the client goals, target audience, detailed feature requests and as much relevant information as you can possibly gather.
Site map - The site map helps users navigate through the website easily, it guides end users who need to get information quickly.
Determine required softwares, technologies and resources.
Design - The design phase typically involves moving the outlined information obtained from the planning phase into reality. Upon the completion of the design phase the website would have gotten a real shape. The design phase includes:
Mockups based on the requirement analysis.
Review and Approval cycle - There is a cycle of reviewing and tweaking mockups until both the client and designers are satisfied with the design.
Development - The development phase is the programmatic phase, coding the designs and mockups into a standard language recognized and rendered by browsers.This phase includes:
Coding templates for each page - A website usually contains multiple pages, including the home page, blog page etc.
Develop and test special features and interactivity - Here's where the fancy elements of a page comes into play. This is the phase I usually ensure all forms and validations are working as intended.
Loading content - All content provided by the client or copy writer are loaded into the web page at this stage.
Test and verify all functionalities and links
Launching - The launching phase includes polishing the website, moving it from development mode to production mode. This phase means the website is now ready for the public to view, transfer your files to a live web server.
Post launch - At this stage it is business as usual, this includes :
Providing necessary documentation of the website and source files, if need be.
Propose website maintenance.
Final handsoff to client
Following the process will guarantee a satisfied client and more businesses. You may also want to refine this process every now and then to fit your business offers, but always ask for a review after refining.
You might also like to read The Steps We Take at DODO to Become the Top UX/UI Design Company in Lagos, Nigeria