Growing a successful web design and development agency requires a serious look at reality. You might be surprised at some of these longstanding myths.
The web design services market is a $26 billion industry. The market is growing, there’s a relatively low barrier to entry. With the continued rise of e-commerce, more and more companies are looking for ways to create, optimize, and expand their web presence. In short, more companies need websites. What a massive opportunity!
However, the competition is fierce. Agencies are competing with DIY website builder and tools that allow almost anyone to get a site up-and-running with little friction.
So, what are web professionals to do? In our view, one of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve is to examine at what makes an agency successful – and what can potentially hinder its growth. And the best place to start is by examining some commonly-held myths that may or may not be so true after all.
Myth #1: You need a niche
Most agency owners think they need to define a very specific niche and sharpen their focus right up until they are able to succeed in that niche. But that’s a lot like following the crowd right off a cliff. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. Even worse, doing so could endanger your own prospects. We suggest defining your niche in real time. Sure, you’ll likely start out with an idea of what you and your team exceed at. But don’t hold back because you don’t have a perfectly honed specialization from the start. Why? Because there can be downsides to focusing on a niche too:
- You choose the wrong niche. It happens; you choose a niche that’s too specific and you can’t scale. Turns out you don’t have the expertise to fully serve this segment of customers after all.
- You limit your pool of prospects before you’ve even begun. Picking an industry or vertical to focus on can hone your marketing efforts, but don’t do so in a way that limits your potential prospects. In other words, if you focus solely on Dental Practices and a great Chiropractor client comes along, are you REALLY prepared to turn them away?
- You hire the wrong talent. Niche agencies can suffer from tunnel vision. They only hire talent that can cater to a super-specialized audience/market. When they are not able to garner enough leads from a specific industry or segment, they are stuck with the wrong hands on deck and unable to branch out to new areas.
Don’t get tunnel vision. Instead, allow your niche to define itself over time as reflected in the value you provide clients and their ROI.
Myth #2: You’re not a true agency if you aren’t staffed up with IT pros
It’s true that in the past agencies needed broad IT expertise, including deep knowledge of server and site management. Those days are long gone. With the evolution of the web, tools like cPanel/WHM and Plesk have emerged to help build, secure, and run websites in a streamlined manner. Managed hosting have allowed agencies to consolidate even further. Agencies can now build and run great websites without any of the technical challenges.
Instead of worrying about DDoS protection, network connectivity, firewalls, patches and more, agencies can focus on delivering great digital experiences for their clients and their clients’ customers. It’s a complete paradigm shift from how things used to be to how they are. If you are just starting out as a web professional or have an established business, it no longer matters if you have IT professionals on staff.
Myth #3: Bigger agencies have the upper hand
The only thing bigger agencies have is more people – and that isn’t always a competitive advantage. If we look back to myth #2, it’s easy to see how some agencies might be perceived as having the upper hand. Perhaps they have an internal IT team that manages all the patching, server management, backups, maintenance, and security for client websites. While bigger agencies may focus on staffing to address every single technical concern of clients, they are not staffing up on delivering value where it matters. Clients don’t often care who makes sure the servers are working and the site stays online…they just care that those things happen.
And while larger agencies admittedly have some advantages, they also often come with bloated internal processes and an inability to be nimble when called on. As a smaller agency, your advantage is your agility…and that is nothing to scoff at! Some clients like personable. They prefer responsive. They enjoy knowing the person (or people) that they know and can get a hold of if needed.
Building a digital agency has never been easier considering the market is growing and the innumerable tools at your disposal to do a great job. It’s also never been more difficult considering the competitive landscape…a landscape that feels like it changes by the day. My advice to you is to not fall victim to myths that aren’t reality. Keep focused, work to deliver your clients exceptional value. Do that and the rest – as they say – will fall into place.
For more information about scaling your digital agency, check out our latest ebook “Building Out Your Digital Agency With Managed Hosting.”