Setting up your own business is no easy feat, that’s for sure. Especially when it comes to web design. Web designers are abundant in an industry growing faster than others, but balance creativity, technical skills, digital marketing, and patience, and you’ll be ahead of the game in no time.
The recent crisis has accelerated the global shift to ecommerce, as retailers and other businesses are forced to open their stores online. With great expectations to look good on the web—you’re looking at the right idea at the right time.
We’re here to guide your web design business through its first few steps to launch.
Presentation = representation
Although it may seem upsetting and even undeserving, a website’s design makes or breaks a customer’s first impression—and your acquisition opportunities. With 48% of internet users judging a business by the quality of their website, it should come as no surprise that 73% of companies invest in design.
A business’s credibility relies primarily on the aesthetic of its website. There’s no denying that here, the book is judged by the cover.
That’s where you come in. Read ahead to learn the six crucial steps to build your web design business. Ready? Let’s go.
First and foremost, establishing your mission, vision and values are essential if you want your business to thrive. This trio comes together to make your brand purpose.
In order to find your brand purpose, dig deep and ask yourself the ‘Why?’ and ‘What?’-orientated questions behind your business.
These questions will help tell your business’s story, establish a firm ground for your business and set it apart from the competition. The more honest and thorough you are when answering these questions, the more you’ll benefit.
The best brands tell stories that connect with their audience emotionally. Plus, the majority of our buying decisions are made subconsciously, from an emotional connection with the product. Therefore, a brand story that pulls at peoples’ heartstrings is more likely to help convert future customers.
Don’t forget to communicate your mission statement to your employees or teammates too. A strong purpose will unify, guide, and motivate your team—and a motivated team gets things done. Purpose-oriented employees are1.4 times more engaged at work and are 54% more likely to work for your business for over five years.
Your mission, vision, and values should be the driving forces of your business.
A great example of a business with a powerful mission statement is the Whole Foods Market. Bang in the middle of their website they state their purpose in less than ten words.
The next step is giving your business a personality.
Like a website’s design, the name and branding of your business can either draw in or repel customers.
From your name, logo, and website’s design to your customer service language, employee performance, and ethos, your brand is how your customer sees you. Branded companies develop more attachments with customers than companies without a brand. People want to be a part of your story; you just need to show them how.
So, get out your pen and paper and start on some low-fidelity prototypes.
Strong names stand out, are brief, easy to spell, and have a ring to them. If you’re really smart, you’ll name your business something that helps your SEO rankings as well, however, it’s certainly not a necessity for success. Don’t be afraid to throw around ideas and get creative.
Consistent branding also makes customers more confident and trusting that your business will meet their needs. When customers see your name, logo, or color scheme, they should instantly feel something. It takes between five and seven impressions to remember a brand; double that if you want to generate sentiment. It all pays off; consistent brand messaging has the potential to increase revenue by up to 33%.
Naming and branding is a difficult stage when setting up your web design business. However, it’s not a process you need to go through alone. To keep your efforts on track, consider using a brand messaging template. There are resources out there to help you at whichever stage you need. Don’t be afraid to use them, learn from them, and develop a better brand because of them.
Next up, decide on which products and services you’ll be offering. Are you focusing on UX or UI design? Are you offering graphic design? What’s your specialty? Lock that down, before you start moving forward.
It’s a good idea to conduct a competitor analysis within this step. It’s the best way to navigate your competition and identify new opportunities for your business.
Remember, your competitor analyses must be reviewed regularly and will require updating as your business and competitors evolve.
With what you’ve done so far, you should be feeling pretty confident. But your business isn’t ready to launch just yet.
The more tedious yet equally important things need to be done for your business to really get going. Sorting out administration and internal processes is a must. You also need to make sure that you have a web design contract to set clear expectations with your client.
The good news is, you don’t need to take this all on your own, nor do you have to pay the pros. From accounting software to project management and e-sign software, there’s a huge range of SaaS tools to help you stay on top of everything and reduce piles of paperwork.
Use free trials and freemium plans to see which SaaS tools work for you. You’ll be grateful for the time they can save you.
There are many more we haven’t listed, find that perfect tool and enjoy the beauty of SaaS.
If you’ve done your competitor analysis well, you’ll have identified the ideal platforms to communicate with your target market.
For an already engaged audience, send emails. They’re best for direct marketing. Create attractive content with email management tools that address, prompt, inform and promote services to your reader.
Build relationships with customers on social media. 66% of marketers generate leads from spending as little as six hours a week on social media. If you don’t have the time, utilize social media management tools such as Sprout or Hootsuite which are great for audience analysis and can provide data-driven ideas to improve your social content.
Do your research and make sure your communication content appeals to your target market.
Finally, of course, focus on your website’s design. Since this is your strong point, it shouldn’t require much. Bear in mind, it takes 0.05seconds for users to make an impression of your website. No pressure.
Consider improving your website UX design with an onsite chatbot. Instant bot replies will enhance your customer service and maximize lead conversions.
Once you’ve got everything together you can plan a launch campaign. To present your business in the perfect light and make maximum impact, there are a few things to consider.
Spend time researching relevant brands that share your values. Make a strong, and effective partnership to launch your business with.
Well, that’s a wrap! Hopefully, this article has equipped and inspired you to get started on your web design business.
You’re entering a competitive field, but if you stay consistent with what you stand for, pitch yourself well, and spend some money in the right places, you’re looking at success.
Be sure to commit to your mission and vision, and your team and client base will follow. With patience and persistence, you’ll build a web design business that goes from strength to strength.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?