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4 Ways To Launch A Better Website With A Smaller Budget

4 Ways To Launch A Better Website With A Smaller Budget

Your website is your online shopfront, the outward facing persona of your business, so it’s important to get it right when it’s time for a website redesign. This can be tough when you or your team continually have lots of great ideas to be incorporated in the new site. It can be tempting to delay the launch to add just one more new feature.

However, this can also result in some massive headaches. What features should you prioritise? Will the website do it’s job? And importantly, will it fit the budget? With that in mind, here are some simple ways you can ensure that your website redesign project runs smoothly and within budget.

1. Nobody Gets It Right The First Time Around

Getting your new site absolutely perfect first time around is impossible. The most successful businesses understand that achieving ‘perfection’ as far as their website goes is an ongoing pursuit that they need to pursue each month, making incremental improvements and gains where they can. These businesses understand that the traditional way of building a website and then redesigning it in 2 year cycles is flawed, and this is essentially hindering their business online for 2 years at a time.

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Some tips to be aware of when planning a website redesign:

  1. The objective of the first launch of the new website should be to bring live the new visitor friendly design framework you have decided upon.
  2. Future design changes should improve upon the UI of the site, add content and restructure pages to improve the return on investment from the site.
  3. The site should be built in such a way that it can be added to and improved each month.
  4. Aiming to get everything ‘absolutely perfect’ for launch is generally a waste of time and resources. Once the site goes live you will be able to gather data on its performance and the path users take through the site, enabling you to quickly make improvements based on data.
  5. Have a clear cut off for all features that will be in the first version and what will be added later.
  6. Any new features you think of during the development process should not go live until after the site launch

2. Avoid Scope Creep

One of the biggest reasons web design projects going over budget is scope creep, which is when you think of new additions and functionality for the website once the project has started and work has begun.

This severely hampers progress and can be very costly, especially if functional changes to the site conflict with the existing work that you or your developers have done, as well as adding unnecessary costs for ‘nice to have’ features that may not actually offer much real benefit for customers, or could be added later

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Not only does scope creep slow down the project and cost more, it can often ruin the entire layout and focus of the new website by adding functionality and areas of the site that don’t fit well or conflict with the main objective of the site. Therefore, the solution is to avoid adding any new features while the site is in progress. Remember, the first iteration won’t be 100 percent perfect, but will have the most important functionality included.

3. Trim The Fat

It can be tempting to plan that all functionality from your old site be included in the new one. However, do you have evidence to back up whether or not certain features are actually useful to your customers? A more effective process is to include core functionality, then add optional functionality piece by piece and run user tests on the site to determine what would help users the most, and what doesn’t add to their experience.

Consider testing your old website using whatusersdo.com to get people in your target market to test the site. Learn what parts of the site are useful and what aren’t. Use this to guide your process and trim the fat – don’t rebuild any parts of the site unless there is evidence that it improves the user’s experience.

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4. Educate Yourself About Growth Driven Design

Many of the points described above are part of an emerging web design process called Growth Driven Design. Adopting a Growth Driven Design approach for your next website project can help to eliminate these main causes for website projects to go over budget, as well as a number of other key benefits:

  1. A more effective method of redesigning a web site
  2. An agile method of continuously improving the performance of your website using real time data from the website
  3. Requires a much smaller time investment
  4. Quick to launch
  5. Maximises the return on investment from your project spend

In order to successfully use this framework for a website project, it’s important that if you’re working with a team on your website project that everyone’s on the same page. Therefore, preparing a presentation to educate everyone else involved in it about the Growth Driven Design philosophy and ensure all activity is done with this process in mind can really help ensure your time is used productively.

Once everyone is in agreement, you can refer back to this process any time features are suggested. These features can then be added to an ongoing plan, allowing you to keep your initial website redesign project within your budget, while having a solid plan for when to add in new functionality.

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The result is a more efficient website design process, saving both time and money!

Featured photo credit: Helloquence via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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