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    Advice on Starting Web Development Business
    Hello,

    I'm an aspiring Web Developer thinking of starting my own web development business. I plan to develop and host websites on my own server. I plan to run it out of my own house. Along with web development and hosting, I plan to offer email, database management systems, server side programming (like ASP.NET), and maybe run my server as a DNS as well.

    If there is anyone out there who has had experience in this line of business, I would surely appreciate some advice. Specifically, I'm wondering what the typical initial expenses are based on what I described above (not just for the hardware and software, but for getting a business like this off the ground all together).


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    I don't know about the hardware and software aspects of starting a web design business, but I do know that you should incorporate your business. If you do it in Nevada, it will cost you somewhere between $300 and $1500. The range depends on how much of the work you are willing to do yourself and whether or not you actually live in Nevada. If you don't, you'll have to pay someone to be the Registered Agent. Nevada is a great place to incorporate because it offers the strongest legal protection and you can save money on taxes.

    You might also consider having someone put together a business plan for you. Those who do this will ask you all the right questions and essentially prepare a map for you to follow. You'll know whether you are on track or not and you'll know early on where you might need to make course corrections. A business plan for a small business can run anywhere from $2500 to $10,000. Sometimes you can get it thrown in as part of your marketing program. The business plan will tell you early on whether the business is viable and will open your eyes as to all the stuff involved in running your own business. The rewards are worth it, but it's a lot of work!


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    You will also need to invest in your company's image. You'll need a logo, business cards, brochures, banners, and other types of promotional materials. We can help you when it comes to these needs (check link in sig). So if you are interested, feel free to contact us.


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    Re: Advice on Starting Web Development Business
    I dont know much about the business ide, but from the hardware / software side your costs are relatively low.

    First of all you will need a server for the hosting, I would suggest going with a VPS (virtual private server) initially rather than a full blown server. This will cost around $80 a month for a decent windows based server.

    As for software, you can either use notepad for free, or invest in a decent piece of software that will do most of the work for you. Dreamweaver is the standard for web design, but will cost about $1,000 per license. For ASP.NET you might be able to use one of the free Microsoft Express compilers, otherwide you will need visual studio, which will cost from $200 - $2000 depending on what you need.

    The biggest expense however is going to be advertising. There are a lot of web design companies out there, the market is very saturated, so getting people aware of your company is going to be very difficult.


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    Re: Advice on Starting Web Development Business
    It is very important that you do the whole process of checking and have some estimations with all costs and activities that your business requires.

    Actually, you have to prepare a business plan. It will remove some uncertainties and you will feel more confident after you will have the plan finished.

    Good luck with your business


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    Re: Advice on Starting Web Development Business
    I agree you need a business plan. That small investment upfront will save you time, money, a engery spent on anger later. Also you can get a quality business plan perpared for your business, by experinced professionals for about $1,500.


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    This business is a lot of work. However, if you are passionate about it then it's not going to be that hard. It's important to have clients willing to work with you first. So it's a must that you know how to network. Once you have found a good network to showcase your business, then you're set.


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    The truth of the matter is web development is all about marketing your services. The really talented guys are the ones with the most work at eight in the morning. The guys who marketed their work more are the ones who's phone is ringing non-stop. If you want to succeed in this industry, market your work to the people who matter. The people who will pay for your work. And also, perfect your craft. What you learn at school is only 10%, the other 90% is what you do with your new found knowledge. Create your own style of doing things that will make each customer your personal marketer and referrer. Good luck.


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    It is significant that you accomplish the entire technique of checking out and have absolutely several rates together with all prices as well as pursuits that your business involves.

    Really, you need to prepare a business prepare. It'll remove several uncertainties and you should really feel more confident immediately after you will have the blueprint complete.

    Enjoy with your business.


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    Hello,

    We started off as a web development company with just 4 employees and within a few years scaled ourselves to over 450 employees diversifying ourselves to custom software development, mobile application development and GIS Solutions.

    When we first started we realized we will always be a small business if we only rely on referral business and SEO to market our services, so we decided to have a multi-faceted marketing approach. We identified various niches that we specialized in. We started by bidding across crowd sourcing platforms like Elance, Freelancer, Guru and oDesk which helped us secure some business that would help us feed our cash flows. We never refused any business that came towards us and started to secure business in good volumes, however the profit margins were low and payments from clients were uncertain and irregular however we were making profits and the cash flow were enough to get us going.

    Once we had our teams who we had trained to our way of working, we started having an aggressive approach which is where the multi-faceted marketing campaign comes in.

    We hired a large sales team with proven past performance. We started:

    1. Telemarketing
    2. Google Adwords
    3. Facebook Ads
    4. Cold Calling
    5. SMS campaigns

    Adwords was effective but expensive. It was frustrating to use Adwords and it only started to become effective after we had wasted over $30,000 USD in digital air. Once we had sorted out the performing keywords, figured out negative words and non-performing keywords our campaigns became more effective and profitable with business flowing in on a regular basis. This helped us in expanding really fast.

    What we realized early on was to ensure quality produce and keep within deadlines. Every project was extensively documented and planned with functional use cases and defined schemas, processes etc. Every piece of code was extensively tested for bugs. Security checklists were developed. Code was required to be commented etc etc etc.

    The next thing that we figured out that was integral was to have open lines of communication with our clients. It's an established fact that software development projects usually do get delayed due to various reasons that are usually out of your control. Having open lines of communication and 100% transparency keeps the client on the same page as you. Clients used to get frisky if their project got delayed and the only means of communication for them was via email. We opened up to our clients. We invited them to our offices for lunches, made our project managers available on phones, email, Skype and instant messaging. We provided them access to developer's terminals via Team Viewer.

    We also started to work on employee retention. We hiked up salaries of talented developers 20% over market averages, threw in a gym, hired an interior designer to soup the office, threw in cafeteria and a swimming pool (Our office space is over 35,000 Sq Ft). Introduced two bonuses every year on both Eids (equivalent to Christmas). Then there were performance based bonuses which were kept overwhelmingly high for peak performers.

    Eventually it all melts down to the right approach, patience, hard work and above all discipline.

    I hope this helps.


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