I’m an entrepreneur at heart and have always wound up being friends with a lot of entrepreneurs… I guess similar people stick together You meet people day-to-day that work for themselves and I have to say, there is a set of qualities in common among the people that will be long-term successes in this whole business of being self-employed. Lots of things like not being afraid to spend money to make money, being able to look past ones personal opinions and biases and not project those biases onto their own customer base. There’s lots of these things, but one thing in particular that I notice is that successful entrepreneurs recognize that when it comes to presenting your image, it’s very important not to ‘skimp’. I have seen so many not so successful entrepreneurs rush through the branding phase of their business start up thinking they will readdress it later if things are going well. It’s sort of a dip your toes in the water with limited investment and limited risk attitude. The problem is, you are simply dooming yourself to failure right out of the gate. You create a crappy image for yourself and then plaster it all over your website, business cards flyers etc. and then spend good money advertising that brand! When you stop think about it, it’s totally crazy. Basically, it’s like saying:
I’m terrified this is going to fail, therefore I’m not going to invest heavily in it. I don’t really believe it’s going to succeed, so I will only invest as much as I’m comfortable losing.
And we are surprised things don’t work out more often
This matters more so than anywhere these days with your website. A good website should be visually appealing, intuitive, present all the essential information and usually very little other information. Here some good examples of this:
We all take the big G for granted these days, but think about why they are such a big success. All the other search engines attempted to turn a profit plastering 1,000,001 adds and news feeds on their homepage, kind of like a tabloid. Google recognized that simplicity would attract loyal users and focused much more on simply making the best search engine they could.
This website is owned by a friend of mine, and they do a great job explaining what they do, the value of their service and why you should work with them. MOST importantly, they don’t say a whole lot more. Don’t think that visitors to your website will have a high attention span, it’s suicide. If you want to guarantee that your content will be read by a first-time visitor, go ahead and prattle on for 500 words.
An amazing e-commerce website. E-commerce websites are a big commitment as the website owner. There is an overwhelming amount of data to be managed. But, if you’re looking to be successful, you have to accept the challenge of making this data easily manageable, navigate-able and user-friendly.
This is a good example of presenting the core message only on primary pages understanding that the attention level of the new visitor will be very low, but presenting sub pages with more in-depth information for those who have had their interest peaked. For instance, if you go to the home page it says that he is a lawyer for the Toronto area, but you can drill down to pages specifically about drinking and driving, divorce etc.
This website is a great design.You get a sense that you’re dealing with a real professional individual. Websites too often attempt to hide behind ‘looking professional’ and trying to look like huge corporations. The fact of the matter is, people often times one to deal with a small company run by one person who is a true professional. I know if I was looking to get an invention patented, I would weigh would rather work with this guy then some large company where I get shuffled off to some third level employee.
What does everybody think? You have any examples of great websites or bad examples?