Fourth Interview

D has car shop specialised in 4WD.

He sells accessories and vehicle transformations.

D is very well educated and had a successful career in management.
He chose Magento himself and knew exactly why. In fit he had an entire web and cloud strategy figured out from the start.
He found his hoster and setup his eCommerce website himself.
He developed all procedures, organised its marketing and his catalogue.
In addition, his website looks great and is pleasant to use.

After a few months of running this setup, he came to the conclusion that Magento was not for his business. He has no hard feelings about it, he only realised that Magento is fantastic but often requires the intervention of a programmer.

So D did for his website what he would have done for any piece of equipment he has in his business, he decided to change it and find one that serves him better.

He went back to his initial goals, thought abut the shortcomings of his still relatively new website and set out to find a solution that ticked all the boxes. He also decided to focus less on the “web design” aspect, realising that there are many great and affordable templates and one is bound to be useful for his business.

After some research he selected Neto, an eCommerce platform developed by an Australian company a point that mattered so that he could easily access help from them.

Neto covers all his needs, he can do everything himself including managing complex shipping costs scenarios using eight warehouses. He requested some user interface changes directly from the Neto People. In particular he had in mind a type of menu for his customers to quickly access his catalogue and ask Neto people to do it for him, which they did for a few hundred dollars.

What he achieved is a great looking site, simple to use and that integrates with his business as he also uses a cloud accounting system.

D is the perfect demonstration of what we are doing here; he focused on his business needs first and uncompromisingly selected a solution that meets his needs.
Then he picked from advanced offerings and took advantage of all advances in terms of cost, capabilities. The great thing is that he has a great web design in the end anyway.

D is not your average business owner, he had a comprehensive corporate management career prior to starting in business. So what he achieved alone is not to be under estimated. Another small business owner can achieve the same result like everything is achieved in business, by buying the service. The service here is not so much the web, but the initial reflection and solution assembly.

 

 

Third Interview

A is an artist and showcases her work on the wen using a range of social media and a website, she also maintains a blog of interviews with other artists. She is highly educated and a confident user of computers, both Windows and Mac.

She wrote her website herself, sourced a hoster for mail and web…She’s a Power Internet User. She is entirely capable of doing it again.

Now, she is now at a point where she needs to reorganise her hosting and rethink her website. She has no time and little money for it. What she has is the stress of going through hosters plans again, trying to make sense of the marketing, figuring out the same plan cost 3$ here and 19$ there…Trying to second guess technical limitations…

She has no time and no energy…

A has not got 800 dollars to get help for it.

This is for people like A that we provide tips in our Free DIY page so she can get find solutions that will cost her a few dollars a month.

 

Second Interview

K runs a showroom with regular exhibitions.

She has a custom made WordPress (a custom theme) to handle dynamic page builds.
For example, she has a list of exhibitions and when you click on one in particular you will see the list exhibited works during that exhibition and you can jump to the artist’s web page etc…

The whole thing costed North of 35K over the years.

While K knows her website back to front and uses computers all the time she is not a techie and has other things to do that spend time on a website.

She recognises the value of changing from time to time, both on the design front and from the technical perspective as well.

She has no preconceived ideas about what should run, she just cares about what should be in the website; because she has a customer focused approach.

I think this is the right approach. This said, K is a successful business person who can invest more than the previous interviewees.

The way one can help K is by understanding her websites and identifying gaps between what she has and what she wants (or needs) for herself or her customers.

First interview

N has a building design business and no web presence at all.

After 5 years of knowing him, I did not know his company name and was unclear about what he was actually doing.

Business background

The business spawned from the ashes of another business which folded after its founder faced serious health issues. A new business was created to finish a large project that would otherwise have collapsed. From that initial project the studio started a few more projects by word of mouth.

In other words, this business never needed a marketing strategy.

If you google the name, all you find is an entry in the list of businesses occupying the same building. That entry only has a telephone number.

Awareness

N is absolutely aware of the “web gap”, which in his case is quite an abyss.
He seems to genuinely regret it. No website, no Facebook page, nothing at all.
N is generally a hard working and very smart person.
His studio is full of complex and detailed designs that attest it.
The studio is clean and orderly, nothing seems to be missing.
Nothing looks “slack”.
It becomes even more interesting to understand what is at work here.

Time indeed

“At times this is so busy here we cannot even answer the phone”

Fair enough…When your trade is around web or software or marketing, chances your trade itself brings you lots of webby information. But here, he never needed marketing and the web is is a marginal tool, like a printer or paper clips…

The french wine factor – over-marketing

As much as IT is “easy”, there is a bit of contextual information to gain. If you don’t have it and try to find it, you are faced with a gigantic and fragmented marketing machine, each trying to differentiated a 25 years old offering with some arcane argument.

In the end, you are so confused that it seems hard.
I call that the French Wine factor. French wine is good, people tend to agree with that.
but what is “Chateau du bouillon” like? Is it red? Is it sparkling? is it dry? What exactly is the award “Prix d’or des amateurs de planche voile”? No idea? Me neither and I am French. Whereas, a “Barossa Valley Riesling” sounds like a white, not too dry and not too sugary and I like Riesling, so I suppose I will like it.

The French Wine problem is easily solved by asking someone who drinks a lot.
“I plan a beef roast with roasted potatoes and Rosemary, I want to treat my guests” calls for “You can’t go wrong with a Pomerol, try a Chateau des Jacobins”. You have not chosen the wine, but your feasts will be a success. Because you know that, you don’t go for cheap, you just spend the right amount for the quality you wanted.

All that to say, I use a lot more IT than I drink wine. Ask me.

Cost perception

Information Technology prices drop so fast that it is difficult for non-IT people to keep up with real prices. This is true in small and large organisations.

During our conversation N said he could start small with a front page and a couple of pictures and grow from there. That is a sensible proposition.

Now, I asked him how much he thought to would be worth and the answer came into three parts.

Part 1 – 5 or 6 thousand dollars

May be in two thousand and one…Today this is more like…zero.

Part 2 – May be more if it is more complicated

OK, fair enough. But complicated is a subjective and fast moving term.
If you want dynamic lists build on the fly with sub-selection this can be expensive.
But not always, in fact some very sophisticated and affordable eCommerce platforms allow you organise a super neat catalogue with pricing and multiple categorisation (by brand, by department, by product type, by price range…) out of the box.

Part 3 – When I look at some of my prestigious competitors…

 

OK, but imagine you are looking for a new place to lvd and you go to a real estate website.
For most of us, visiting toprealty.com is a waste of time as a customer. And listing a one bedroom suburban apartment there is a waste of time as a supplier.

When I said to him he could have a website like one of his “prestigious” competitors for a few hundred a year without upfront cost and at the speed he wants, I could tell he was feeling happy about it.