My name is Matt, I’m not much of a writer… honestly. This completely goes against my grain, but I thought heck who cares, let’s give it a go. My main aim for this blog is to pass on useful advice, tools and the odd thing I learned whilst I starting my own Web Design Business. So first things first….. here are the hardest lessons I learned whilst starting my Web Design Business, which would probably apply when starting in any other business
Research… Research… Research….. .then finally research again. The reason I’m probably overstating this is because I fell foul to bad company naming not once, but twice!
Way back in 2013, I named the company iB WebWise. Weird I know…… however at the time, my current partner’s company was called iB Studio. It all matched. Things were great…. or not as it turned out. The BBC had a service called BBC WebWise and unless potential customers actually typed my website address into the top bar of the browser, I was unfindable by name. My first major f up…
dot Web Design
So time to change the name. This time I went all trendy and named it, dot Web Design. It sounded modern and straight to the point of what my business provided. I was lucky enough to secure a decent number of new clients through local Google Searches. Life was good for 10 months and then a rather worrying email dropped into my inbox. A company from London called Dot Web Design Ltd had found out I was using their name and basically ordered me to cease trading. A quick check on companies house revealed that yes, there was indeed a company in London called Dot Web Design and it had been trading for 19 years. Not a court battle I wanted or was likely to win…. back to the drawing board.
Clever Frog Digital
So this time… I researched. I spent days and days brainstorming and scribbling down notes. Then I’d check to see if any of the names I’d come up with were actually usable. About 95% weren’t. The remaining 5% then got toyed, tussled and doodled with until I eventually came up with the name Clever Frog Digital. I have to say… of the 3 names I had used so far, it was my favourite! Until…… I was a victim of my own success. As Clever Frog Digital, I’d pitched the business much bigger than it actually was. I sounded like a massive agency with the capacity to take in huge workloads. The simple fact was, I was still a sole developer utilising a few subcontractors as and when. Work was coming in thick and fast. I tried working more hours but I still found I was turning away more work than I could take on. It took its toll and I started to get frustrated. This wasn’t the impression I wanted to give. Alarm bells started ringing and I realised I’d grossly oversold and overstretched.
This led me on to rebranding as little old me. mattwalker.co.uk. Still bigging up the skills I have, but being honest about the size of the company and the time I had to spend on it. I now always tell people that this is a part-time project of mine and that I have a full-time job. No one’s expectations are too high and I’ve seen loads of success from being open and honest. So in summary.
Be diligent in your research. Make sure you aren’t naming/branding your business/product like an already established name.
Know your target market. Don’t aim too big (or too small). Pitch yourself towards the customers you want to trade with.
Make sure you get the work/life balance right. It’s ok pulling odd late-nighters but don’t burn yourself out taking on those extra clients. Be realistic with your time and health.