Small agency – small clients
When me and my brother started our Web Design Company, Benzo, we knew we wanted to stay small. We have both worked in the advertising industry and we hated the way marketing executives, in charge of big budgets are torturing poor creative directors who are slaves to their every whim.
We wanted to build websites for people who owned their own brands, for whom it was crucial to achieve the best end result. We also wanted enough freedom to pass on a client if we did not get along. When serving big clients with big budgets, one is often tempted to stick around for the money, and we didn’t want to be held hostage by any one client. That said, we had the pleasure of working with companies of various sizes, from one person to more than fifty, and I found that the issues I address in this article apply to all of them.
Who’s in charge?
One of the first problems when working with companies that consist of more than one person is that everyone want to get involved but no one is in charge. It could be two or more partners building a website for their brand, or a several lower ranking execs with a lot of opinions and personal preferences. When no one person is in charge then no one is responsible, and the progress of the website is often left for the external agency who is building the site. This is bad for the client because there is no one, unified vision. The website ends up being a bit of everything but in the grand scheme it also feels like nothing.
This, of course, is a terrible work structure for the company. Receiving emails from several people, all written in different forms with lists of notes that often contradict one another. We sometimes have to sift through emails and organize our “to do” list for a whole hour even before writing a single line of code. It actually bothers us so much we decided to develop Webscope in order to become a better web design company and give our clients a better way to communicate.
Let the creatives be creative
I have heard this argument a million times from creatives in various fields: “Why would someone hire me for my talent, and then ignore what I have to say?”. This scenario happens often when an executive refuses to let creatives take the creative decisions and instead lets his opinions (not data-based decisions!) shape the entire project. It is such a human phenomena that it’s very hard to avoid. It takes a very special man or woman to realize that maybe they don’t have experience in a field and that they should let others decide for them. When ever I feel this way I try to remind myself that although It is frustrating to see what you feel are bad decisions being made, you should also remember that these executives know their brand like no other, and maybe they also know what their brand needs.
High standards when it comes to others
It is important for everyone to be professional at their jobs. But more often than not people test their professionalism only by the way they treat their clients. Being professional is not only giving great customer support but also supplying a freelance designer with the right graphic content he needs in an organized and timely fashion. This, in turn, will help suppliers do a better job, which will in turn improve the the overall client experience.
As I mentioned earlier, in order to be a great web design Company it is important to be professional. And one of the key features of a professional is acting that way in spite of the difficulties. I found that many times, we managed to affect a client’s behavior just by expecting them to act in a certain way. There is a fine line between giving good service to your clients and becoming a “yes man” that is only in it for the money. We walk that line with care every day, and we try to be mindful of our client’s experience as well as our professional integrity.
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