Just like having a great brand is instrumental to your long term success, professional website design also plays a very important role.
But don’t jump the gun just yet.
When to invest in building a professional website and brand are dependent on where you are on your entrepreneurial journey.
Like anything, timing matters.
At what stage of our journey should we consider investing in professional branding and website design?
First we have to get clear about where we are as an entrepreneur.
2 Entrepreneurial Stages
It’s important to know where you are on your journey as an entrepreneur because each stage has different needs.
I know it sounds simple but if that was the case then far more entrepreneurs would succeed.
Alex Charfen does a great job of identifying 9 stages an entrepreneur goes through. We will talk about 2 of them for example purposes that work for this discussion.
The first stage is a “Seeker.”
As Alex explains, “as a Seeker you have an annual sales revenue of approximately $0k to $40k. In the United States there are around 16 million businesses at this level. The challenge so many entrepreneurs on the Seeker level face, is that they try to do everything all at once.”
I see this all the time coaching entrepreneurs. They go in a million directions and lack focus on the critical path.
The next stage is a “Starter.”
As Alex explains, “The Starter is classified as businesses with sales of $40k to $100k. There are approximately 6 millions Starters in the United States.
As a Starter, the question you’re probably asking yourself is “What is wrong with me?” You’ve started actually making real money but you can’t figure out how to make it scale, how to make it grow. You can’t figure out how to take it to the next level.”
I usually describe an entrepreneur who is selling but doesn’t have a polished brand and website the carbon stage. This is a rock that is full of proven potential and given the right conditions it will become a diamond.
The truth is that most entrepreneurs never break free from the carbon phase to become a diamond because of fear, false stories they tell themselves, and getting sucked into the Black Hole.
Lost in The Blackhole (The Fatal Mistake)
The fatal mistake so many entrepreneurs make is that they get sucked into the black hole. Doing the right stuff at the wrong time and many times for the wrong reasons.
By definition, a black hole is a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it.
We start ideas disguised as quick solutions and hope. They suck us in, taking us in all the wrong directions, and we get lost.
Why Entrepreneurs Get Sucked Into The Blackhole
Entrepreneurs get sucked into the black hole because they are not clear about where they are in their business and don’t know where to focus based on the stage they are in.
What happens more often than not is, we see other people doing Facebook ads, building incredible sales pages, optimizing every social media platform they can imagine, or starting a podcast, and so we start doing those things too.
I mean, why not, they are all important parts of the business for us entrepreneurs. right?
Let me put it this way – let’s say you’re trying to get in shape and start going to the gym. Would you follow the same routine and diet a professional bodybuilder uses? Not likely because you’re not ready for that yet.
So, why would you think following other successful people and doing what they do NOW, would be right for you and your situation? What they do NOW as they make 7 or 8 figures is not what they did when they made 6 figures.
Doing the right things at the wrong time can be distractions that last months or years and become catastrophic to your success.
This is why I jump on a call with people before we decide to help them with their business and it’s also why we don’t accept everyone. If you’re not ready, I will be very clear about that with you.
Professional Website Design: Not Ready vs. Ready
Now we know the Seeker and Starter stage of entrepreneurship and why so many entrepreneurs who are in the carbon phase (full of potential) never become a diamond – the black hole.
Now we can talk about when it’s appropriate to invest in professional website design and when it’s not.
You’re Not Ready If…
You’re not ready if you are NOT making money with a proven solution.
At a minimum, you should have enough sales that give you proof of concept. Once we have proof of concept we know that we can replicate the success.
This means you’re not even at the “Starter” stage yet.
You’re still a Seeker.
Let me share an example that I see many times. Some people start a business and they are 2 years in but all they have done is run a podcast and a blog, but never actually made any money (ie. selling a product, running ads, selling service).
This is a red flag.
Your focus should be on coming up with a hypothesis for earning money and proving that idea works, meaning it sells and it gets results.
You don’t even need a website to do that.
Everything else is your black hole at that point in your journey.
Once you prove your hypothesis, then professional website design will help you sell more but also set you up for long term success.
I talk more about what good website design actually means to you and your business later in this article.
You’re Ready If…
You’re ready If you have an established business and you HAVE established sales.
This means you have a product or service you believe a specific group of people want so they can get a specific result AND you have made sales to prove you are correct.
This goes for e-commerce, people selling courses, memberships and, even agencies.
I like to say you should be earning at least $5k per month.
You would at least be at the Starter stage or beyond.
At this point, you are ready to invest in a professional website design so you can accelerate growth. That’s right, professional website design is not just about looking good, it’s about being set up to sell properly.
A Professional Website’s Two Best Friends That Help You Sell More
Aside from my experience being Director of Strategic Marketing at WebMD and running multiple businesses myself, I have spoken to hundreds of entrepreneurs.
Some are struggling to make 6 figures and others are best in class making 7, 8 or even 9 figures.
I found that the ones who are really successful have 3 things in place while the others don’t.
Please note, that this is after you have proof of concept with an offer that sells.
The 3 Brand Pillars that work together include:
- A great brand people fall in love with
- Professional website design (Trust & Credibility)
- Smart sales systems that scales (Path To Purchase)
Let’s dig a little deeper on each one of those 3 pillars to understand why they are important for you and your business.
A Great Brand People Fall In Love With
Most people today completely misunderstand what a brand actually is. I talk about this in more depth here.
Great brands will win over great products all day long because in the long run products face competition and if people don’t love your brand they go for the best product deal instead.
When someone loves a great brand, they remain loyal and buy anything from that brand which means you have a long-term superfan.
I remember listening to a book by Pat Flynn called Superfans and he talked about how his fans were so loyal that not only do they buy whatever he offers, but when people talk bad about him or his company online, they defend him in a big way.
People don’t do that just because of a product he sold them. They do it because they have an emotional connection to Pat and his brand.
You know what else they do?
They tell everyone about Pat and his products. And word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing there is today, not because it spreads the world, although that helps, but because a referral comes from a trusted source and therefore converts at a very high rate.
Think about Apple. People LOVE the Apple brand. Android phones do all the same things but you could never convince an Apple fan to switch products. And if Apple releases a dud product, they still won’t lose customers.
In 2019, the Edelman report found that 81% of people said they need to be able to trust a brand to buy from them.
Some people say that attention is today’s most valuable resource.
But I would disagree because I believe trust is our most valuable resource today.
Anyone can buy attention. But they can’t buy trust.
Your brand story plays a big role in connecting with people to build trust since it’s a fundamental part of the brand but it also increases your revenue.
Investing in creating a powerful brand the right way is far more than pretty colors and a logo.
When we work with clients on their branding we dive deep into their business with a brand audit. This is no different than creating the brand strategy, I just look for the gaps. So many entrepreneurs don’t have this critical information which is just a recipe for failure.
No matter how advanced they are, everytime we strategize information like purpose, mission, vision and positioning their eyes light up as they finally get hit with the clarity they need.
When your brand is created the right way you invoke a feeling from people across all touchpoints. Through your message, visuals and so much more.
Businesses fire off many signals in different ways and your branding guides all decision making so it’s consistent and effective.
Now, hopefully you can see how important Branding is to creating loyal customers, repeat buyers and long term revenue.
Professional Website Design (Trust & Credability)
The process of creating your brand informs your website design, messaging and sales system.
A big mistake so many entrepreneurs make is creating a website before creating a proper brand – remember, a brand includes the development of a brand strategy that addresses key information around things like mission, category ladders, and market position…etc.
If you haven’t read the book titled, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini, I recommend you do.
As Cialidini stated, “Although it is generally acknowledged that good-looking people have an advantage in social interaction, recent findings indicate that we may have sorely underestimated the size and reach of that advantage.”
This reaction happens automatically without forethought.
The response falls into a category called “halo effects.” That is when one positive characteristic dominates the way that person is viewed by others. Basically, we automatically assign attractive people favorable characteristics such as talent, honesty, and intelligence.
This means they are automatically trusted more.
I recently spoke to somebody who does well with their business. I won’t name names since she’s a client of mine now as I write this.
She was contacted by a site called Social Media Examiner who wanted to connect her to a celebrity based on her niche.
Guess what happened?
Not long after, she saw that the celebrity was working with someone else who actually had a sub-par product compared to hers.
With a little investigating she found out that even though her competitor’s product was sub-par, her website was polished with great branding, messaging, design, and user experience.
That first impression won her the partnership and follows the human tendency Cialdini described from his research.
A well designed website earns credibility and trust which increases sales potential.
Just like good design, a good user experience shows the customer you know them and reduces confusion.
When we reduce confusion we gain more sales.
Smart Sales System That Scales (Path to Purchase)
Now, we have covered what great banding means to your business.
We covered what a well designed website means to your business.
But what will all that mean if you’re not set up to sell with a smart sales system? I like to call a path-to-purchase or cashflow system.
It’s kind of like having a great boat and fishing pole but throwing a line out there without bait.
This is where it all starts to come together.
There’s no sense in spending money and time to get traffic if you’re not set up to convert sales and scale.
Would you rather bring 1,000 people to your site and get 10 customers or bring 1,000 people to your site and get 100 customers?
Would you rather earn $100 per customer, or $1,000 per customer?
The point is that a good sales system is designed to…
- Increase your sales conversion rate
- Increase your average lifetime customer value
- Scale with predictable sales
When I have a strategy session with a client to map out the path-to-purchase we cut out a lot of noise and identify any leaks so we can optimize results. This is huge in the long run for scaling sales.
Understanding where you are in your journey is important to decide what you need to focus on.
If you’re very early in the process like the Seeker, you have to focus your energy on proof of concept and reaching at least $5k per month. Anything else is a distraction sucking you into the black hole.
If you’re an entrepreneur who is selling and you have proof of concept then investing in creating the right brand and professional website design becomes important for growth based on all the reasons discussed earlier in this article.
Great Branding + Professional Website Design + Smart Sales System = Long Term Success and Growth
A few ways those things work for you include:
- You become crystal clear on your brand strategy and market position
- Earn more trust from cold prospects which dramatically increases sales consideration
- You have a sales system that scales
- You attract the RIGHT customers who are far more likely to buy
- People who love your brand become loyal recurring buyers increasing total annual revenues
- You set yourself up for long term predictable success instead of little spikes here and there
If you’re ready to create a powerful brand with a high-converting website, I’d love to have a quick chat with you to see if you’re a good fit. This would be a call to learn more about your situation and find out if I can help.
Here’s a link to some more info and my calendar to book the call, super simple and it would be fun to connect!
– Be a Change Creator!