Business Critical Websites
Here at TABLEFLIP we are in the business of making websites. The business of business for some organisations is becoming more and more intertwined with the internet. So what does that mean for small companies and startups wanting to build an online business?
We have recently delivered the new School of Wok website, a good example of a business whose main revenue source is online purchases. The newly rebuilt site replaces a version that took payment, but lacked a set of business facing management tools. Staff who previously relied on spreadsheets and shared folders to organise themselves, now have a bespoke web-based application to help them administer the business side of the cookery school.
The feedback we received from School of Wok was very positive, they mentioned; they have been saving time and making less mistakes using their new management tool. After studying the analytics for the site, they noticed a change in the behaviour of customers too. One key value that School of Wok brought to the development process was the site should be easy and intuitive to use. Having learnt this lesson running their business online, the new site makes buying classes that much easier. The conclusion is clear: customers are making larger purchases.
The investment in developing staff facing tools to save time and mistakes is the smart move of a mature company that knows its website is critical for business. That extra time can be spent online. Hours of time tweeting, posting on social networks, buying ‘Adwords’ and other means to get people to visit the site. This is the happy story of investment in a website leading to an improvement in business performance.
The tension between investment and business performance is felt most keenly by the budding entrepreneur. With no business site yet there is no income stream, just the dream of what might be. The development costs can seem eye watering and to compound the tension there is no guarantee of recovering that money in the future. This seems like the worst time to be experimenting with software development.
The job of building business critical websites is hard. You can’t contrive success. So many things are unknown and out of control, it is truly a journey over the mountain pass. What I see at TABLEFLIP with each new client and with each new project is our team members gaining more and more conviction in out root philosophy - one week at a time. For all the designs, and all the briefs and lists of features we are presented with, humans work best dealing with one thing at a time. Once you have that, then you can think about the next thing.
The best websites are simple; they avoid doing too much. For entrepreneurs on their journey to create their business critical sites our advice is always the same, can we express the essence of your idea in a demo that takes a week to build? Then, like a sculptor working on a sculpture, take a step back and look at what you have from all the angles before welding on another arm. You might have nailed it, you might not need that rusty arm. As long as someone can execute your idea with no friction, then you have the kernel of your site. The team at School of Wok know this. The key component of their site is not the responsive design, the node API or social networking integration, it is the happy customer.