Today we explain how 8 Signal had to take the short view and the long view at different times in our business.
On the day of July 4, 1776, fifty-six delegates adopted and signed the Declaration of Independence, formally acknowledging a long-standing conflict and drawing a line in the sand.
But did you realize that the open hostilities between the colonists and Great Britain dated back at least as far as the 1750’s? Our constitution wasn’t adopted until 1788, twelve years after the Declaration!
Independence Day, 1776 was a defining moment, but during the 40-year span of the Revolutionary War many events occurred that produced the eventual shape and nature of our nation.
For 8 Signal, our Independence Day was one cloudy day in November 2014 when Ruben and I sat down and decided, “Okay, we are going to do this thing!”
We were both at a turning point in our careers and both of us needed to make this business work—like a no-messing-around, full-time-income, not-just-a-hobby kind of make it work.
Sometimes it pays to take the short view.
None of the Founding Fathers really knew where all this revolution business was going to go for sure. But they knew they had some solid principles to start with, and they knew there was a time for action.
We certainly didn’t have it all figured out from the beginning either. We knew we needed to hit the ground running, and we decided there were a couple of keys to accomplishing this:
- We needed to connect with potential customers as soon as possible.
- We needed to be able to communicate our company strengths and convince potential customers we were capable of delivering.
- The best way to accomplish #1 and #2 was to get our website up as quickly as possible.
We had seen other small businesses take months and months to make decisions about design and marketing strategy. We knew that kind of timeline would’ve been a growth killer for us.
We knew launching our website and earning our clients’ trust quickly was essential for our success.
Sometimes businesses have the mindset that a website is a one-and-done investment, when in reality the exact opposite is true. Your website should be an ongoing part of growing your business. I knew we could come back and redesign later, so I wasn’t overly concerned with getting everything perfect the first time around.
Priorities can change and so can business realities.
Our initial strategy paid off! Within a few weeks we had our first clients, and pretty soon 8 Signal was growing beyond our own ability to keep up with the work by ourselves.
None of this would have been possible without the first few clients that believed in us, and we are so grateful to them, especially to:
- Tommy from Responsive Learning
- Hector from Rio Grande Urology
- Morgan from Las Cruces Magazine
- Tom from Rocky Mountain Mortgage
- Andrew from Synergy Estate
We started building a team around us, and within a year we went from a company of two to a team of twenty. At that point, we started to get that uncomfortable feeling that we were outgrowing our initial website design.
Ever heard the saying, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes”? We had shoes, but they were definitely getting tight, dated, and a little worn around the edges. That’s when we started to see that our original design was holding us back. Maybe we were even starting to walk funny, metaphorically speaking.
There are many different reasons that a business could start to get that “tight fit” feeling, but here are some of the realities that helped us realize it was time for a redesign:
- Our website still represented a company of two even though we had grown significantly. There are so many one-person marketing shops that come and go, giving our industry a bad rap, and our website wasn’t doing anything to set us apart from those. Definitely a “no bueno” situation.
- A few times clients weren’t able to find something on our site. (Ouch!)
- We found we were not being taken seriously for larger projects that we knew had the capacity to handle.
- And the real kicker: We got tired of sending prospects to websites we had built to see our work, instead sending them to look at our own website!
I knew it was time to practice what we were preaching to our clients.
It was time to streamline our message and represent 8 Signal for what we had grown into. The best part was, I knew we had the ability to take ourselves on as a client for a while. Having a strong team in place freed up time and energy for Ruben and I to take ourselves through the planning and design process for our own site.
Here are some other reasons you might find that indicate it’s time for a website redesign:
- Functionality – Your website is no longer working or does not support mobile browsing.
- Doesn’t match your brand anymore – Maybe your product or service has evolved and you need an upgrade to bring your message and website in alignment.
- Clutter or lack of focus – There is so much there that your prospects can’t see the real message. Streamlining your messages and bringing clarity to your design will help your customers focus on what you want them to.
- It’s showing its age – Sometimes a fresh new look is needed to keep you from looking like a has-been.
Then sometimes it’s time to take the long view.
One important business concept that Ruben and I have learned along the way is that we need to take the time to treat our own business like one of our clients.
We consistently see this struggle with our own clients: everyday business operations and serving clients often overshadows long-term planning and vision. Marketing is one of the areas that often gets put on the “I’ll-deal-with-that-tomorrow” list. That can even happen to us—and we are a marketing company!
So we sat down to take ourselves through the process of refining our message, streamlining the process for our marketing activities, and ensuring we were following through on our own business goals.
It sounds like a lot! But it doesn’t have to be painful. Next week, we will give you a peek into our process and explain some of the design aspects of our new site.
Don’t get stuck in Valley Forge.
I promise, designing or redesigning your website doesn’t have to be a Valley Forge experience! Remember that story from the Revolutionary War? General George Washington and his troops got stuck at Valley Forge through the particularly cold and icy winter of 1777-78. Starvation, disease, and exposure killed about 2,500 troops.
Web design should be more like Independence Day. There should be no casualties whether it’s been 10 months or 10 years since you originally designed your website!
So enjoy your hot dogs, warm summer nights, and fireworks this Independence Day weekend and look forward to next week’s article about how we updated our message and design.
Do your marketing plan and website need an Independence Day? Don’t get stuck in Valley Forge! Give us a call at (915) 585-1919 to schedule your first consultation, or fill out our online form, and get ready to celebrate your independence. Remember, 8 Signal is your marketing department — without the overhead!