by Casey Ark
So you’ve got a great idea for a new startup company – you’ve dreamed up features, sketched out page screens, and told just about everyone you know all about your idea. Now, it’s time to make it come to life – the only problem, of course, is that you need to hire a web design firm to make it happen. When you will find your perfect design firm, the first thing you need to do is to send them a website request for a proposal. RFP is used for soliciting proposals from potential suppliers about the evaluation of costs, timelines, and other criteria for product implementation. This document is sent as a requirement to get a detailed business proposal from the participants.
But there are hundreds of web design firms to choose from, and very few of them seem to specialize in web design for startups. So how do you pick?
Here are three simple questions to ask your web design firm before getting started.
1. Will they help you with strategy?
Most startups focus on finding someone that can create a website that looks nice and meets their requirements. But, if you’re like the average entrepreneur, your specifications may be wrong.
See – although you’ve likely spent lots of time thinking about your idea on your own, you probably haven’t had the opportunity to get feedback from too many outsiders. And, odds are, if you have gotten a lot of feedback, you’ve probably encountered a number of conflicting opinions. This is where a great web design firm can help.
When I hear pitches from startups, they generally have a fantastic core idea that’s been decorated with extraneous features that will only serve to confuse users. Your web design firm should help you refine your strategy, and help you come up with practical ways to put your ideas into practice – not just meet your specifications.
2. Do they seem genuinely interested in your idea?
Maybe this is too general a statement, but in my book, if you pitch your idea to someone and they immediately say “Great idea, let’s do this!” – they might not be the right web designer for you.
Affirmation is great – but a fantastic web designer who is genuinely interested in your idea will ask questions about your idea, offer suggestions, and try to understand what your plan is going forward to make your idea a success.
You web designer/firm should be interested in furthering your idea, and providing you with a fresh set of eyes to evaluate what you’re interested in pursuing.
3. Are you going to lose your mind working with these people?
Seriously – if you can’t see yourself getting along with the people at a web design firm, RUN. RUN AWAY.
You won’t believe how often entrepreneurs will seal themselves into deals with companies they despise, all in the name of working with a company who seems luxurious, professional, or whatever adjective they’re seeking.
Although you might not be working next to the people at your web design firm, you’ll be in constant contact with these guys, and even more importantly, they’re going to be literally creating the backbone of your business! Make sure you know them well, and, at the very least, can stand them.
Casey Ark is the owner of Plato Web Design, a startup web design agency that specializes in creating unique, sales-driven websites for businesses large and small. When he’s not hunched over his desk programming, he’s a columnist for The Patriot News and a freelance writer whose work has been featured at Speckyboy, Under30CEO, and Thought Catalog.