I thought I’d heard it all. But I hadn’t. A very disappointed man sat in our conference room. He needed us to take over his web project. He explained that the web designer he hired to do the job had run out of knowledge. Run out of knowledge?
I had never heard that one, but I’ve seen this situation before – many times. Some yahoos throw out a shingle and call themselves a web design business or interactive firm, or digital agency or consortium (consortium, really? yes). While these businesses probably have good intentions, they lack the capabilities and resources to conduct themselves as a qualified design partner.
These start-ups are easy to identify. Many have a company name comprised of a word and a number , or a color, or an animal or a street name in it. (example: www.bluedogthirteen.com This is just a random example & not the company this client was involved with) It seems with some of these enterprises, the weirder the name – the faster the company implodes.
To the unsuspecting client, doing business with a fresh-faced web design start-up may seem like a good deal. Many exude creativity, youthful excitement and tech savvy-ness. Here’s how the scenario sometimes goes: the enthusiastic web designers meet the client at a conveniently located Starbucks. The designers sport some sort of partial facial hair and often dress artistically. And they talk a good game. They can even show the client a few websites they did (for relatives or “spec” clients). The unsuspecting client shells out some funds and the designer relaxes because he can now make rent.
After a strong start consisting of phone calls and additional Starbucks visits, the process degrades into “spotty at best” communications and marginal results. Weeks pass and communication is now strictly email-based and soon stops all together. What happened? Like the man said, the designers ran out of something – money, knowledge, interest, integrity and/or perseverance. And they are now onto something else. Whatever that something is, its not going to include refunding the client’s development dollars.
To be fair, this phenomenon is not limited to start-up designers – this happens to real companies with offices and full time employees. I can name a few OKC web firms and interactive agencies that have succumb to this fate.
So back to Mr. Disappointed who is now gently weeping in our conference room. He’s got half his project budget left, with little or no work to show for it – and a lingering mistrust of OKC web designers. That’s sad for the client (and for the industry in general), but it’s an opportunity for us. Once we clear that mistrust hurdle, with professionalism and consistency, we’re onto building a long time mutually beneficial business relationship. We’ve done it many times and we’re quite good at it.
My team at Back40 has the experience of developing hundreds of web projects. We have a solid development process for bringing a website from conception to launch. Back40 is a stable, debt-free, long term player in the Oklahoma City web design market. We have client relationships lasting nearly 12 years – since I started Back40. That’s a lot of years in dog years – and probably a lifetime in web years (if there are web years). We also have the in-house resources of 10 web professionals (account executives, designers, project managers, developers and programmers) – so, I guarantee, we won’t “run out of knowledge.”
 In the interest of full disclosure: My company name has a number in it. Its cleverly used as part of the company name, integrating both alphabet and numerals – and 40 is biblically significant. Also, its true, I have met potential clients at Starbucks. And I sport partial facial hair. Back