Failure is a thought that drives fear in the hearts and minds of many people. In fact, it can have a paralyzing effect. But what if we told you failure was a good thing? That instead of being afraid of failure, you should embrace it like a long lost friend?

If you want to see the magnitude of failure unfold, watch a sporting event like the Olympics. For every heat that a Usain Bolt or a Michael Phelps wins, multiple losers are sent packing their things back to the hotel room. At the end of every event, there can be only one winner.

The Olympics best represents a harsh truth in a world that has grown to be highly competitive: There will always be more losers than winners.

Quite a frightening thought, isn’t it? You invest time, money and other resources only to come up short at the finish line.

But here’s the silver lining: Not all who fail are losers and not all who succeed are winners.

Confused? Read on!

The Reality of Failure

We all love a happy ending.

The guy gets the girl. The blackmailed, young lawyer exposes the corrupt firm and gets his life back. The Quarterback makes a miraculous “Hail Mary” pass to win the Superbowl.

But life is not a Hollywood script. Everyday we write our own story. Each page adds to a chapter in our lives until we close it and start a new one.

We are not guaranteed a happy ending; but we have the power to write one for ourselves.

Entrepreneurs are popularly referred to as risk takers. They have made a conscious decision to take charge of their own career and find financial freedom. Entrepreneurship is a huge, significant and often life-changing declaration of independence.

They risk the comfort of a steady monthly salary with benefits to build a career where the level of income equates to total productivity. But more often than not, this cannot be achieved from the get-go.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 50% of small businesses fail within five years. 96% are no longer in business within 10 years.

These figures are enough to strike fear in the hearts and minds of many aspiring entrepreneurs.

What is the secret of those who survived and continued to thrive after 10 years?

Surely those 10 years were not all smooth sailing. There would most certainly be moments where the thought of quitting crossed the mind of the proprietor. Obviously the decision to push forward paid off for some.

In business as in life, every decision you make will result in only one of two possible outcomes: success or failure. Not every decision will be the right one. Even if you have the most talented people in your payroll, mistakes can happen.

What matters is that:

  1. You make a decision regardless of the outcome.
  2. You have alternative courses of action in place should the decision run contrary to your preferred outcome.

When confronted with the prospect of failure, you only have 3 choices: Fight, Flight or Freeze. The decision you make can very well set the precedence for the rest of your career.

In the next section, we shall explore the reasons why you should never fear failure. Instead of running away from failure, you should run to it and welcome it with open arms!

5 Reasons Why You Should Not be Afraid of Failure

If you’ve ever attended a seminar on success, the speaker will focus his or her talk on one area: Failure. Why? Because it is difficult to understand much less appreciate the meaning of success without acknowledging the value of failure.

Have you heard of one-hit wonders? They are talented people who found success right away but were unable to sustain it for a number of reasons.

For some, they could not handle the pressure of higher expectations. There was no benchmark for failure. The bar was set very high from the get-go and they had no sense on how far they could possibly fall.

It is often said that you cannot achieve success without failing first. But it is not the act of failing that sets the wheels of success into motion. It is how you perceive failure that will determine whether you will savor the sweet taste of victory or relive the bitterness of defeat.

Here are 5 reasons why you should not be afraid of failure:

1. Failure is Your Best Teacher

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

  • Henry Ford

University prepares us to face the world and all of its challenges. It tries to establish the conditions to get us ready when we embark on our respective careers. We go through progressively higher levels of learning as we become more proficient in our chosen fields of expertise.

But everything remains theoretical until we apply our knowledge in the real world; in real-life situations. That’s when failure takes on a different meaning. Everyday at work is a competition.

As a private 9-to-5 employee, you are competing with everyone else for that promotion. As an entrepreneur, you are competing for market share.

Sure it is human nature to be upset and frustrated whenever you fail. But failure signifies a flaw in performance or execution. Once you have gotten over the disappointment, go back and review what you did and find out where you went wrong.

This is why failure is your best teacher. It helps you identify your potential weaknesses so you can work on them. And failure is a teacher who will not quit on you.

Failure will be there every step of your journey to give you an extra set of eyes; or a filter to spot your mistakes. The only way you can appreciate the value of failure is to embrace it; accept its reality.

2. Failure Helps You Reach Your Best Potential

“It’s not the mountain that we conquer; but ourselves.”

  • Sir Edmund Hillary

Not everyone who Michael Phelps beats in swimming goes home a loser. Many set personal bests or national records for their country. They may have fallen short of the podium but they walk away a better version of themselves, physically and mentally.

You will not succeed unless you test yourselves against the best. You may get the worst beating of your life, but the experience can trigger exponential growth if you approach the challenge with the right attitude.

It all starts with setting realistic goals. You may not beat the champ but at the very least you will improve your performance. You may not have gotten the job, but you will relish how far you’ve come. You may not have won the bid, but pat yourself on the back for being one of the last two bidders.

People who are afraid of failure tend to operate within their comfort zones. If you want to grow, you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. In time, everything becomes easier.

 3. Failure Improves Your Focus

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots and lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.

And that is why I succeed.”

  • Michael Jordan

The phrase “Failure is not an option” is attributed to former NASA Flight Director Gene Krantz who successfully led the agency’s operation to save the crew of the ill-fated Apollo 13 space mission.

People who are not afraid to fail shine their brightest when the stakes are high. They are willing to take the chance because they have full confidence in their ability to get the job done. That is why they are called “clutch players”.

They understand the magnitude of the risk involved. But instead of making them fearful, it heightens their focus so they can look past the possible consequences. In their minds, there is no doubt they will succeed.

Without accepting the reality and consequences of failure, you will never take chances. And without taking chances, you will never experience success.

4. Failure Makes You Tougher

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Psychologists studying the mindset of world class athletes who rebounded from a significant loss came to one conclusion as to why they were able to recover and start winning again.

They said these athletes immersed themselves in the experience of failure. They did not brush it off; instead they wallowed in it and allowed the pain to consume them until they grew numb to it.

Once they have gotten past the pain of failure, they are able to perform at a higher level because nothing is holding them back. They have gone through the worst experience possible.

What else could top that?

This is the same mindset exhibited by Howard Schultz when 217 of 242 investors rejected his idea of Starbucks. Or by JK Rowling after 12 publishers wanted her vision of a school for wizards to vanish.

The more they fail the more resilient they become. Dealing with failure becomes natural as breathing air.

5. Failure Keeps You Grounded

“It’s fine to celebrate success; but it’s more important to heed the lessons from failure.”

  • Bill Gates

What makes billionaires like Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos going despite his massive level of success?

He doesn’t stop and admire his handiwork. Instead he keeps going; Bezos continues to find ways to make Amazon bigger and more dominant in the industry. Not all of Bezos’ ideas were successful. Do you remember his drone delivery system? Neither would Bezos if he had a choice!

But the drone delivery system was the by-product of his relentless drive to provide consumers the highest level of customer service.

Bezos’ drive to succeed was not influenced by his desire to acquire more wealth but by a need to innovate. His ideas may fall short or fail to deliver, but he will not stop trying.

Bezos sees opportunities in failure. At a time when brick-and-mortar retailers are closing up shop, Bezos is opening physical locations of Amazon!

7 Inspiring Stories of Failure

Their names have become synonymous with success. They have transcended their industry and have grown to become icons. People love them; they are widely admired and respected because their works have touched the lives of billions across the globe.  

But the road to entrepreneurial success was never easy for them. It was paved by several moments of failure.

  • Walt Disney – Disney endured several business bankruptcies and was once told he was “not creative”. His own family even ridiculed his idea for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.
  • Arianna Huffington – The founder of the most popular online publication was once rejected by 36 publishers. Huffington has a net worth of $50 Million.
  • JK Rowling – Divorced, depressed, penniless, writing in coffee shops all while raising a child, Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before landing a deal that made “Harry Potter” the $15 Billion brand it is today.
  • Howard Schultz – 217 out of 242 investors turned down the idea of coffee shop franchise. But Schultz’s resilience eventually brought 25,085 Starbucks coffee shops into our lives.
  • Sir Richard Branson – Branson’s first business failure came in 1968 with his publication, “Student Magazine”. He once famously said he has failed more times than he succeeded in his career. His net worth? $5.1 Billion.
  • Bill Gates – The world’s richest man once launched a service called Traf-A-Data which did not work. So he founded Microsoft.
  • Harland Sanders – It is hard to believe that Col. Sanders recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken was rejected by 1,009 restaurants. Today there are more than 20,000 KFC outlets worldwide.

There are more inspiring stories of people who turned failure into success. He or she could be your friend or family member. Everyday there are people working hard to achieve success.

What is worse than failure? Not taking the risk; becoming a dreamer forever instead of a doer. Don’t worry about the outcome; achieving long-term, sustainable success is a marathon not a sprint. What you need to do is to take that first step and turn your dream into a reality.

Did you enjoy reading this article as much as we did writing it? Do you have personal stories of failure that you want to share to our readers? Please add your comments below.

We would love to be inspired by you!

So how do you start your mornings? Do you begin your day with a prayer, 10 minutes of exercise or do you just press the snooze button to get an extra 5 minutes in bed? Or do you belong to the 60% of the population who check their emails from their smartphones first thing in the morning?

In a digitally connected world, email has become a valuable tool for business. Communication has always been a vital component for success and email has made it more convenient, accessible and available. In fact, one of the first things you should do when you are starting a business is to open an email account.

3 Benefits of Email

In business, time is money. You should be accessible to clients, end users, suppliers, associates and those within your organization. Email makes it easy for people to relay concerns, inquiries or business-related matters to you for immediate attention.

1. Real Time Communication

How does email work? Sending electronic mail is really a simple server-to-server process.

The first thing you need to do is to get an email client. This is a program that allows you to create and interact with other email clients on the Internet. Examples of email clients are Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail.

Once you press “Enter” your email will be uploaded on the SMTP or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It is a server that communicates with the DNS or Domain Name Server.  The DNS functions like a phone book for domain names and server IP addresses.

When the SMTP finds the recipient’s email address, it will deliver your email and its attachments.

Total time of interaction will only take a few nanoseconds! The recipient will no longer have to wait 24 to 72 hours as would have been the case if snail mail was used.

In some cases, there might be delays. It could be due to your recipient’s Internet Service Provider (ISP). The recipient may be in an area where there is no Internet coverage.

It could also be that the recipient’s inbox has reached maximum capacity. If this happens, the email service provider will send a notice to the recipient to clear space in his or her inbox to accommodate new messages.

2. Streamlines Cost of Operations

Some of our readers may remember the days when you had to print out copies of letters and their attachments or large sized documents and had them delivered through courier service or air mail. Not only was this process tedious; it was also quite expensive.

If you didn’t want to use air mail, you could use the fax machine which was likewise time consuming. The cost of thermal paper would also add up.

Email has not only simplified the way we transmit communication. It has also helped streamline our cost of operations. Signing up Gmail as your email client will not cost you a cent.

You can attach documents to your email; even scanned copies of a multi-page legal contract. Nowadays, clients will accept a scanned copy of a notarized contract as a binding agreement.

Email will improve efficiency, as you will get more things done in less time and with less cost.

3. Easy to Organize and Manage

An email client has features that allow you to easily organize and manage your communication. For example, with Gmail you can categorize your emails as:

  • Important
  • Confidential
  • References
  • Prospects

You can also customize labels for each email group. If you want to organize the communication you receive from clients, simply create a label and move all related emails to that folder.

No need to scour through a filing cabinet for files and communication. You can even access files while on transit via your mobile phone.

2 Important Tips on How to Choose an Email Address for Your Business

Choosing an email address isn’t rocket science. But it shouldn’t be done without thought or purpose either. In ways, your professional email address is like a handshake. It may seem inconsequential but it will actually tell the recipient a lot about you.

Here are 2 important tips for choosing an email address for your business:

1. Get a Domain Name

If you are bidding for a project and indicate [email protected] as your email address, you might end up a few steps behind the race if your competitor’s contact details read [email protected].

Rule number 1 in business communication is to always have your own domain. If purchasing a domain name will take you over budget, then maybe you shouldn’t be in business. Of course, you should streamline costs but the domain name should not be subject to a budget cut.

The rest is easy. Your domain name should be the same as your business name. In our case it is mountaintopwebdesign.com. For top level domains, always choose “.com” which means commercial. “.org” is usually associated with non-profit organizations.

If for some reason your domain name has a duplicate that uses “.com”, you can opt for “.net”. We would caution against using “.biz” or “.info” as these domain names are frequently identified with spammers.

2. Be Simple and Remain Professional

People tend to remember faces but forget names. Thus, you should use every opportunity to make sure your prospect or client will remember yours. When creating an email address for your business, simply use your name.

Whether you use your full name or first name is entirely a matter of personal choice. For some, they prefer using their name as it is indicated in all of their business collateral.

In our case, we decided to go with a personal yet more informal approach by using only our first names. In my case it is [email protected]. From our experience, it is shorter and easier for our clients to remember.

Don’t try to be cute or overly creative when creating professional emails. If you enjoy cooking Mexican food, that would be a great topic of conversation with your client during a lull in the meeting.

But sending communication using the email address [email protected] will surely leave a bad taste in your client’s mouth.

 4 Valuable Tips on How to Write Effective Emails

Coming across a poorly written email is like eating ice cream and discovering your tooth enamel has cracked open. It is a painful read; you wonder why the sender didn’t bother to review his email before sending it to you.

People tend to be less conscientious when it comes to writing emails because they often hear the advice, “Keep it short and direct to the point.” While that may be true, it is not an excuse to overlook lack of structure, valuable content, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

If you are looking to create a good first impression on a client or a potential employer, take the time to craft a great email.

Here are 4 important tips on how to write an effective email:

1. Take Your Time

Keeping your email short and direct to the point does not mean writing it in break neck speed. It takes time to articulate ideas and formulate thoughts so you can deliver the message in a clear and concise way. This applies even when you are participating in an email thread.

Being prompt in sending a response is a sign of a true professional. But it does not mean you have to reply within seconds of receiving an email. It is generally acceptable to respond within 24 hours upon receiving communication. Use the time in between to gather your thoughts, conduct research or verify information that is requested by the sender.

What you need to keep in mind is that writing an email is not a task but another form of relaying communication.

2. Email Should Have Structure

As a medium of communication, you have to make sure its content is delivered clearly and effectively. Like all forms of content, your email must have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

  • Introduction – You can start out with a greeting to set the mood such as “It’s been awhile since we last communicated. I hope everything is well with your family and business.”

You could also set the context of your email, “I remembered our conversation at the convention last month and realized your company may provide the services we need.”

  • Body – This is the meat and potatoes of your email. Get into detail and provide as much information as necessary but present it in an organized manner.

One of the best ways to present information is through the use of bullet points. Not only does it organize the salient points of your email but it opens the space and makes it look clean.

  • Conclusion – Unlike the conclusion of a blog or a post, there is no need to summarize the key talking points of your email. When concluding an email, your focus should be to firm up the course of action you want the recipient to take.

If you are requesting for information, emphasize to the recipient that he or she can reach out to you any time to clarify details.  If you want to meet up for coffee to discuss the email further, suggest a time and date that would be convenient for the recipient.

Lastly, always end your email with a greeting or well- wishes and include your signature at the bottom left hand side.

3. Fact Check and Proofread

Before sending out an email, take the time to review its content. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Spelling – In addition to words used in your email, you should also check the spelling of important details such as the name of the recipient and the company.
  • Grammar – Even if emails are considered short-form communication, the recipient will surely be put off by poorly worded content. If you’re not sure, ask a trusted set of eyes to review your email.
  • The Details – If you wrote pertinent information such as figures, dates, names and places, make sure these are accurate. Do not click “Send” until you are 100% sure of the information you are providing.

The same goes for the attachment that comes with the email. Before transmitting the email, click the attachment and do a quick double check to see if this is the one the recipient needs.

It will also be worth your time and effort to verify if all information in the attached document is updated and corresponds with your email.

4. Review Before Sending Out

One of the most overlooked aspects of an effective email is its tone. For sure you’ve heard the advice, “Never write an angry letter.”

Here’s a short story that was shared by a friend of mine:

The Crewing Manager was so displeased with the shipping company’s decision to rehire the services of a Captain who was involved in a near mutiny that he sent a scathing email to the General Manager.

The email was laced with profanity, threats and gossip material that teetered closely to being branded libelous statements. Not only did he email the GM but he furnished copies to the directors.

Within 24 hours of receiving the email, the Crewing Manager was fired. He told my friend that when he clicked “Send”, a huge feeling of regret overwhelmed him. He described it like “being hit by a tsunami.”

The rule for setting the tone for sending out business communication applies also to emails: Always act in a professional manner. If you felt emotional when writing the email, save it first as a draft.

Once you have simmered down, retrieve the draft then re-write its content. When you are less emotional, you will be able to think clearly and articulate thoughts better.

Conclusion

An email may be short in length and content but written effectively, it can be one of the most powerful mediums of communication. Every aspect of your email contributes to the successful delivery of your message: from your choice of program to the address to how you compose its content.

Did we open your eyes to the value of the simple email? Do you have some email stories you want to share or have other ideas on how to write an effective email? Please comment below.

If you want to learn more about effective email writing, give us a call or better yet, send us an email! We would love to hear from you.

A moment of inspiration is all it takes to have an idea. You could be in a coffee shop or on your third mile on the treadmill when the light bulb comes on. Every entrepreneur will tell you they have the greatest idea since the can opener but the question is, “Where will you go from here?” Will you execute the idea or will it remain a dream?

There is nothing wrong with dreaming but unless you act upon it, dreams are all you’ll ever have. And that is what makes entrepreneurs special; they work to live their dreams and make it a reality.

An idea is like a seed. It can be planted in your head but unless you nurture it with planning, action, and implementation it will never grow and bear fruit.

My Story

My lightbulb moment came after successfully building my first website. Sure it presented several challenges but I loved every minute of it.

There were times when design or programming issues left me feeling stumped. But these types of situations encouraged me to push beyond boundaries. Every challenge I overcame served to make me a better web designer.

I also discovered there was a strong market for web design services because the Internet was growing in popularity and influence.

The Internet evolved from technology that was only accessible via dial-up before broadband came around in 2004. In 1995, the Internet was available only to 16 Million people. By 2004, more than 745 Million people could use the Internet.

Today there are more than 3.6 Billion users of the Internet every day!

At the time the light bulb came on in my head, I was still learning the intricacies of web design. In my research, I was surprised to learn that despite the growing presence of the Internet, less than 50% of small businesses owned websites.

I thought, “If nearly 50% of the world’s population was on the Internet every day, wouldn’t you want your business to be accessible to them?” The Internet offered many advantages for entrepreneurs and small business owners:

  • 24/7 operation.
  • Availability of free, downloadable business tools and software.
  • More efficient avenues for marketing and promoting your business like social media, blogging and link building.
  • Low start up capital.
  • Low maintenance costs.

The website is your window to the Internet. It makes your business accessible to everyone. It’s like having a storefront display in this place called the World Wide Web.

In addition to standard research methodologies, I also spoke with many small business owners in my community and asked them their thoughts on the Internet and websites in general.

It turned out majority of small business owners knew what a website was but were clueless on how it could help their business become profitable.

That was the moment a seed was planted in my head. Eventually I would nurture the seed to become Mountaintop Web Design. It was a venture that allowed me to build a career out of my passion for web design.

As an entrepreneur, I now have the means to help other businesses accomplish their goals of achieving profitability by providing quality web design and digital marketing services.

6 Important Lessons for the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is never a sure thing. Nothing is ever guaranteed. Some people quit their day jobs to start their own business only to regret it afterward. It can be a rude awakening. Statistically, 50% of small businesses fail within the first 4 years and the survival rate gradually declines every year thereafter.

Yet despite the daunting numbers, 98% of the businesses registered every day are considered small scale enterprises. No wonder entrepreneurs are considered the new engines of growth of the economy!

But what does it take to be an entrepreneur? What qualities set apart the doers from the dreamers?

1. Accept the Reality of Failure

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to accept the inevitably of failure. It will happen somehow, somewhere and without warning. There are more failures than there are successes.

Failure is a constant companion in the journey. But it is not there to destroy us. On the contrary, failure exists to teach us how to get better.

Rather than wallow in self-pity, use the experience to improve your overall proposition. Go ahead and ask the “Why’s”, “How’s” and “What’s” but spend more time looking for answers than uncovering questions. The more failures you endure, the closer you get to achieving success.

Failure is not your enemy. It is your best friend, your teacher. Do not fear failure; embrace it as a prerequisite for success.

2. Learn How to Execute

Even if you have acquired funding, an idea will not take fruition unless it is properly executed. An idea that is poorly executed will result in losses even as early as the start up stage.

It is not uncommon for other entrepreneurs to have a business idea that is similar to yours. A good example would be the ride-sharing industry. Uber created the market in 2008. Since then, the industry has opened up to other players such as Lyft, Sidecar, Curb, Grab and Didi Chuxing.

Sidecar crashed and burned in 2015. Grab partnered with Lyft and Didi Chuxing formed an alliance with Ola in order to challenge Uber’s dominance.

Uber’s execution of its business strategy set the standard for everyone else to follow. While its market share may have eroded due to the collaborative efforts of its competitors, Uber still reigns supreme.

3. Let Your Passion Drive You

As an entrepreneur, I can say from experience that passion is the strongest driver in business. When you love what you do, there is no problem that is too difficult to solve. There is no situation you cannot handle. There is nothing you will not do to make the product or service better.

Passion makes time irrelevant; it makes the hours and days go by much quicker. Tim Ferris used to spend 14 hours working every day on his supplement company BrainQUICKEN. He admitted it was not the most efficient way to get things done but logging in the long hours was what he wanted to do.

The most important advice I can give you is that If you want to start a business, it must be something you are passionate about. But passion alone will not ensure your success.

You must take the time to conduct thorough research about your business. Create a business plan as a reference point. If you don’t know how to make one, commission someone who can.

4. Understand that Sacrifice is Part of the Journey

Those who have crossed over from the 9-to-5 office grind to entrepreneurship thought they would have more control over their work schedule. To a certain extent that is true. As an entrepreneur, there are no log-ins and time clocks to record your work hours.

But the reality is the sacrifices are much greater. As an employee, you work within an assigned work shift and are paid a fixed salary every 15th and 30th. As an entrepreneur, you have no fixed work schedule. Your income will depend on your company’s performance.

You will discover there are times that you have to work more than 48 hours a week. I have struggled with the internal conflict of trying to be productive all the time. I have even had to make the choice of missing time with family and friends.

At certain times, I felt like I needed to put in more hours working so I could finish more websites and be available to take on more projects for clients.

The bottom-line is entrepreneurs need to learn to find balance between life and work. Having a business that pays the bills and measures income with productivity is a great thing. But always remember that you should work to live and not live to work.  

Life should never just be about work. You could lose your business but your family and friends will always be there for you.

5. Be Open Minded

In Eric Reis’ book, “The Lean Start-Up” he noted that entrepreneurs “live in a vacuum”. They believe their idea is great and flawless. Allowing yourself to be lulled into this false sense of complacency will have damaging consequences when things don’t go as planned.

As an entrepreneur, you must have an open mind and accept there are things you cannot control. This is especially true in this age of the Internet. Consumers have immediate access to a wide range of information. Their tastes and preferences can easily be influenced by social media, a blog, a post, or an article.

Instead of trying to come up with “The Perfect Plan”, focus on flexibility. Make sure your business model can adapt to unexpected changes in business conditions.

6. Embrace Learning as a Never-Ending Process

If you think you know everything you need to learn about your business, think again. If you did, you would never have to deal with problems every working day and you would be raking in money like Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook generates $2 Billion every quarter. There are 1.9 Billion active Facebook users which means it accounts for 52% of Internet users every day. Zuckerberg himself is worth billions.

So why does Mark Zuckerberg read 1 book every week? The same number as Microsoft founder Bill Gates?

These billionaires make reading part of their daily routine because they want to keep on learning. Even established industry giants like Facebook and Microsoft encounter problems every day.

For them, learning should be a never-ending process. And it should be for you as well. Strive to improve on your strengths and build your weaknesses by acquiring as much knowledge as you can.

The Entrepreneurial Journey

People like to say “entrepreneurs are only in the business of making money”. Of course, unless you are a non-profit organization, the objective of business is to generate profit. It should go without saying that people go into business to make money. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But I believe that if your goal of making money has come to a point that it has consumed you, then you may never accomplish it. Those who only think about the money, will abandon ship once the business starts sinking.

I’ve seen graphics that depict the road to entrepreneurial success as a straight line. Nothing could be more further from the truth.

The journey to success is similar to climbing a mountain. You have to prepare and plan months before the climb. It’s not just a physical challenge. It also exerts a toll on your mind and spirit.

Obstacles can arise during the climb that would require strategy and precise execution. It is hard work but getting to the top makes all the time, effort and sacrifices worthwhile!

Everyone wants to climb the highest peak but you can’t hope to achieve that without overcoming smaller mountains first. That is why a mountain is the metaphor for my web design company, we are here to help you make the climb.

When you are looking up the mountain from its base, the climb would seem like a daunting, seemingly impossible task. But all you have to do is take that first step up the mountain to get the journey started. One step at a time; never look down and keep your focus on getting to the top.

Starting a business is an exciting time; but it is also nerve-wracking and filled with anxious moments. Once you take that first step, the climb eventually becomes smoother and easier. The challenges that lie ahead will only serve to make you better. It takes a force stronger than money to survive the challenges of entrepreneurship.

Do you have your own story on entrepreneurship that you would like to share? Please post in the comments section below. Your experiences will definitely help those in our audience who plan to become entrepreneurs. We would love to hear from you!  

How Website Speed Can Affect Your Business Bottom Line

In business, the difference between success and failure can be measured in seconds. Opportunities can come around knocking; or clicking on your website URL, every day. If your website speed isn’t fast enough to open the door, opportunity will turn around and find someone else. Speed is an overlooked quality in website design. Not many entrepreneurs are aware that a one second delay in loading time can lead to thousands of dollars in foregone income.

Built for Speed: The Case for Fast and Responsive Website Design

Unless it’s for dry aged, prime rib Angus beef, nothing is worth the wait. In the Internet, people are less forgiving. Studies have shown there is a direct correlation between page loading time and page abandonment. The longer time it takes for a page to load the greater the probability of the user leaving the page.

Although the study revealed more people expect web pages to load a bit slower on a mobile device than a PC, a 30% reported they would still abandon the search if it took longer than 6 to 10 seconds.

For e-commerce websites, the expectations for speed are even higher. A 2009 study commissioned by Forrester Consulting showed that 40% of shoppers would abandon a retail site if it took longer than 3 seconds to load.

As mobile devices continue to dominate online traffic, expect speed to become a more important factor in determining the search ranking of your website. This is because search engine giant Google has begun transitioning to its “Mobile First” advocacy where website speed is a ranking factor.

This should not come as a surprise because Google has made it clear it favors fast loading websites. Google has always been about enhancing UX or User Experience and speed has been one of its determining factors.

A website with favorable UX will most certainly enjoy higher conversion rates than one that doesn’t. As far back as 2011, Google has been pushing websites to focus on improving its loading speed.

It’s not enough to have a mobile responsive website. You must make sure it loads fast enough to keep your visitors interested.

How Will the Lack of Speed Affect Your Bottom Line?

Because site speed is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, the faster your website, the higher its search ranking. The higher your ranking, the greater the opportunities for generating more traffic.  

It all comes back to UX. If a visitor likes his experience in your website, he will be encouraged to explore its content further. If the experience is not pleasant, he will click out of your page and this will increase your site’s bounce rate. Google uses bounce rate to determine UX. A high bounce rate will get you penalized in the search rankings.

A 2010 study revealed that a website that took more than 6 seconds to load experienced a 40% decrease in conversion rate. Fast forward to 2014, and the same loading time resulted in a 50% decrease in conversion rates. Please take note that in 2010, the desktop PC still accounted for the majority of online traffic.

In terms of earning potential, a study on website speed has shown how it can lead to thousands of dollars of foregone income. Basically, a one- second delay in website speed can result in 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and 7% loss in conversions.

In monetary terms, if your business makes $5,000 a month, a one- second delay in website speed can lead to a foregone income of $350 per month or $4,200 annually. Can your business afford to take a $350 hit every month?

Now can you imagine what a one- second delay would mean to companies that make $100,000 or $1,000,000 per month?

How Fast Should Your Website Be?

As mentioned, a majority of people expect websites to load a bit more slowly on mobile devices than its PC counterpart.

But what exactly is “a bit more slowly” mean in terms of seconds?

The average page loading time of the top ranking sites in Google has been measured to be between 9.82 seconds and 13.84 seconds. An updated study on mobile web sites showed that its average loading time is 19 seconds over 3G connections.

Mobile users appear to have very high expectations of website speed with 53% of respondents stating that they would abandon the page if it took longer than 3 seconds to load.

Comparing websites that loaded in 5 seconds versus those that loaded in 19 seconds, the faster websites enjoyed 25% higher ad viewability, 70% longer sessions and 35% improvement in bounce rates.

There lies the challenge for the professional web designer. It must be mobile responsive with the ability to load in 3 to 5 seconds.

Factors That Affect Website Speed

If your website is not loading fast enough, the first area where you should look is your web host provider.

One of the problems of sharing a server is unpredictable quality of service. Some days you’re fast. Some days you’re just furious. If you’re using WordPress, you will get better performance by signing up with WordPress premium managed hosting services.

Other factors that affect website speed include:

  • Unoptimized Images- Your site may have both JPG and PNG images which contain extra data to accommodate comments. As a rule, JPG images are better for photos while PNG works best for logos.
  • Widget/ Plugin Overload – It could also be your social media sharing buttons. The Facebook “Like” button downloads 83 KB of data in 1.34 seconds.
  • Incompatible Browser, Plugins and Apps – For sure, many of you have had problems with Flash and the Chrome browser. Flash isn’t even compatible with many mobile devices.
  • Too Many Ads – Once your website gains traction, placing ads is a great way to earn passive income. However, slow loading ads can turn off site visitors.
  • Sign Up Forms – The back end code of a submission form typical of AWeber or Google Feedburner can slow down your site speed.
  • Analytics Code – On-site analytics tools are valuable for measuring performance but it doesn’t take much to weigh down your website’s loading speed. Before introducing new analytics tools, test your site speed first.
  • Design Theme – The most effective website is the one that can balance aesthetics and functionality. Adding that colorful image may make your website more beautiful. But if it severely impacts your website speed, you’d be better off without it.
  • Embedded Media such as Videos and Slide Presentation – Have you ever gone to a website with embedded videos? It can get frustrating when it takes time for the video to load. And the problem is usually from the website from where it is hosted. It would be advisable to host content on your own server.

How to Test Your Website’s Speed

If you’re curious to see how fast your website loads, there are a number of tools you can use to measure its speed.

  • WebPage Test – This Google- supported speed checker will give you detailed charts, measure Page Speed optimization and will provide suggestions after analyzing your score.
  • PageSpeed Insights – An easy to use tool that will measure performance of both desktop and mobile versions of your website. Recommendations will be categorized according to priority.
  • MonsterInsights – Perfect pairing with WordPress; it can be used to determine SEO and measure load time with different browsers.
  • YSlow – Created by Yahoo!; provides grades from a pre-defined user set of rules, summary of improvement and performance analyses.
  • Pingdom Website Speed Test – It can measure speed in browsers like Chrome and can compare your performance with other tools such as MonsterInsights and YSlow.
  • GTMetrix – You will receive 2 grades; one from GTMetrix and the second from YSlow. You will also get a history of your speed loading times.
  • WebPage Analyzer – Gives you data on page size, download time and composition plus valuable advice on how to improve website speed.
  • LoadImpact – Website analysis assumes a scenario whereby your site is packed with users. This way, you will know what to do given the situation and load speed has been compromised.
  • PageSpeedTool – Gives you in-depth analysis on page load time plus tests at different connection speeds.

Should You Speed Up Your Website?

There are those who say website speed isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. They point out the speed is only one of 200 ranking signals that Google uses to evaluate websites.

Some will argue that less than one percent of search queries are affected by site speed.

But the numbers on the performance of businesses with slow loading websites do not lie. A slow- loading website will definitely affect your chances of converting those leads you’ve worked so hard to generate into paying customers.

If you want to build up your business’ bottom line, you should speed up your website.

You should also keep in mind the irrefutable fact that Google loves speed. And if you don’t want to catch a virus when Google sneezes, you better do what you can to get your website running like Usain Bolt on the last 40 meters of a race.

Finally, just place yourself in the same padded chair of an Internet user. You would feel less likely to push through with the search if the site takes too long to load. It’s not an opinion; it’s basic human nature to detest waiting.

Do you have ideas, thoughts and opinions that were not covered? Please feel free to e- mail us or comment below and share your experiences with websites.

If you want to know how we can bring your website up to speed, give us a call or drop an e-mail. We’ll get back to you within a click of the mouse!

Entrepreneurs are amazing people. They are creative and at the same time, analytical. It only takes a moment’s inspiration to trigger an idea. Entrepreneurs know they have to capture the idea and transpose it from a visual on a sketchpad into a website design that best represents the concept through the medium of the Internet. From there, the visual should have the capability to seamlessly manifest in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. But as creative as entrepreneurs are, they need the help of a professional web designer to turn that visual into a fully functional, aesthetic website.

It’s easy to find web designers. A simple search on the Internet will yield links to several agencies and freelancers offering website design services. You can sign up with various online job platforms and send invites to select freelance web designers or post details on your project. You can connect with web designers in social media networks such as LinkedIn or ask referrals from your contacts in Facebook.

The real challenge is to find a professional web designer who can do the right job for you.  

If you came up with a shortlist of 5 web designers, all of them may have similar experiences, technical and fundamental competencies but not everyone may build your website according to what you want. They may not even capture your vision. There are intangibles you need to look out for when qualifying your right- fit web designer.

Here the top 10 qualities you should look for in a professional web designer:

1. Empathy

When you start collaborating with a web designer, the objective is to create a website that will attract your target market. It may seem superficial but studies have shown that the initial perception of your website will be based on how it looks.

  • Designs with the user in mind – A professional web designer will not design for himself but with a specific audience in mind. Customized design will require extensive research work.

In addition to the information you provide, a professional web designer will undertake further studies to learn the online behavioral traits of specific demographics.

His objective is to develop a keen understanding of your audience. He wants to get to know them better, so he will know the best approach in designing your website.

  • Navigability – In his book “Don’t Make Me Think” Steve Krug revealed that the greater the effort a user extends in navigating the site, the less memorable the experience. A good web designer understands the importance of User Experience or UX in web design. Poor UX will result in lower search rankings.
  • Functionality – Nothing is more frustrating for a user than a website that does not load fast or have malfunctioning buttons. These inconveniences can have disastrous consequences for the website.

A professional web designer will view the design of your website from the perspective of the end user. It must conform to his or her needs, wants and expectations. When users enter your website they know they are in the right place. They will want to explore further and not click out.

2. Analytical

Like the entrepreneur, a good website designer balances empathy with precision through the use of data. If empathy focuses on the image, analytics will build the substance of your website.

  • Designs with SEO in mind – Search Engine Optimization or SEO functions to have your website found on the Internet.

It does this by optimizing your web pages with the precise ratio of keywords so that the search engine robots won’t have a hard time finding your content and getting it indexed. Keywords may be used in descriptive, title and meta tags to fast track the search process.

  • Purposeful Content – Keywords can only go as far as drawing attention to content. The harder challenge is maintaining the user’s interest which is largely dependent on your content’s relevance, usability and uniqueness.

For example, what the user sees and reads during the first 10 seconds on the Home Page will determine whether he or she will further explore your website. Composition of web copy; its images and text, is very important to capture interest of the user.

  • Strategic Use of Design Elements – The loading time of your web page can be affected by design elements such as color, use of animation, the use of forms and status messages. A slow loading website can have serious implications on its ability to generate patronage and revenues. A website designer will frequently run tests to make sure speed and functionality will not be compromised by the elements of design.

3. Trustworthiness

Trust is a value that you earn over time. But when working with people, oftentimes you can depend on intuition to tell you if someone is trustworthy or not.

When you are collaborating with a web designer, you are entrusting your vision and ultimately your business with that person. If you don’t feel comfortable working with the web designer, chances are the arrangement will not turn out well.

What are the warning signs?

  • If there’s a lot of resistance on your ideas.
  • The web designer is habitually absent or late for meetings.
  • The web designer is behind the development schedule.
  • He or she can be rude and sometimes makes crass comments.
  • He or she is more worried about not getting paid on time than getting the project done on time.

These types of incidents are potential red flags. Disagreements are part of collaboration. But if you are frequently clashing heads, not only will you fall behind the launch date but you may not end up with the website you want.

4. Passion

You can tell if a person has passion for what he does. There’s an unmistakable energy and enthusiasm in how he approaches work because he loves his job. For him, web design is not just a means of livelihood. It’s an opportunity to help clients meet their business objectives.

During meetings, he is candid and open about his opinions and observations. His intent is to give you the best website for your hard- earned money. He cares about your project and actively offers solutions.

On the other hand, a web designer who only does it for the money is hardly expressive or involved. All he wants to do is carry out your instructions lock, stock and barrel without giving much of an opinion. In his mind, the sooner he gets the job done, the earlier he gets paid.

5. Good Listener

A professional web designer will always acknowledge the client as the expert in what he or she does. He understands that his role is to turn the client’s vision into a collection of web pages and multimedia content by using his knowledge on website design.

If he wants to have a better idea on how to interpret the client’s vision, he should be a good listener. Allow the client to express his or her ideas as openly and candidly as possible. This is the best way to develop an understanding of the client’s vision and branding strategy.

6. Effective Communicator

Communication is often described as a two- way street. When collaborating with your web designer, you must constantly bounce ideas off one another. Creating a feedback loop between you and web designer opens up the chain of communication and reduces the probability of making mistakes.

A web designer who is also an effective communicator knows how to relay opposing viewpoints without discouraging or embarrassing the client. He prefers to have regular scheduled meetings in order to have the proper forum to discuss concerns, updates and other issues.

7. Understands the Value of White Spaces

White Spaces are also called “negative space”. A professional web designer knows how to utilize white spaces and turn something empty into sophisticated elegance that remains simple yet understated.

There are many benefits to using white spaces:

  • Attracts attention to a certain visual
  • Improves readability
  • Highlights orientation of the page
  • Clears out distractions on the page
  • Gives the page a cleaner look

For the best web designers, white isn’t an empty color. They know how to use it to breathe more life into the web page.

8. Solutions- Based

Several things can go wrong when building a website. The page may not load fast enough, it may not set up properly in a smartphone or design issues may leave you and the designer stumped.

A good website designer does not merely settle for alternatives. He looks for solutions and exhausts all possibilities even before considering other options.

9. Meticulous

The saying “the devil is in the details” rings loud and true in website design.

There are many key areas of responsibility to oversee when building websites. A website designer who is not meticulous in his work process might overlook details that may lead to costly mistakes.

A website designer should be able to look into the details against the overall backdrop of the concept. The question he must constantly ask himself is, “How does this element or feature fit in?” Tests are frequently run to make sure the website is not only aesthetically pleasing but highly functional and usable.

10. Proactive

They might have the experience, skills and necessary proficiencies, but the best website designers know their limitations. They could be stuck with a programming or design issue but instead of wasting time trying to figure it out by themselves, they will reach out to people who can help them.

Of course, the web designer will inform you of the situation and how he plans to resolve it. This way you can keep track of the development schedule and know everything that is happening with your website.

How Do You Know You Have the Right Web Designer?

If you have not worked with a professional web designer before, you might place too much emphasis on technical qualifications and work experience. This is perfectly fine but do not overlook personality, attitude and other key behavioral traits.

Take the time to get to know your website designer better. Invite the candidate to an interview and ask the following questions:

  • Why did he or she decide to become a web designer?
  • What are the web designer’s goals, objectives and motivators?
  • What was the web designer’s biggest challenge and how did he or she overcome it?
  • How does the web designer feel about closely collaborating with the client?
  • How does he or she define “professionalism”?
  • What does he or she consider important qualities of a professional web designer?

The reality is, you will only know if you’ve found the right web designer once you start working together. Like all relationships, it is normal to hit rough patches every now and then but these differences should be resolved right away.

If it’s not working out and all efforts to move forward have fallen on the wayside, do not hesitate to terminate the arrangement and find another web designer.

Did you like what you just read? Please share your thoughts and opinions. I would love to hear from you. And if you’re interested in having your own website, feel free to give me a call or send an e-mail.

We might just be the professional web designer group you are looking for!

In this day and age where digital technology and the Internet has influenced how we live and work, it is shocking to know that very few small business owners have a website.

It is hard to believe that only 46% of small businesses have a website. This statistic is confounding when you realize people spend 6 hours a day on the Internet.

Based on 2014 survey results, 41% of small business owners reported they don’t think they need a website. What that means is they probably don’t know the benefits of having a website for their small business.

1. Improve Business Credibility.

A simple way to view a website is that it is your online business address. This is where your customers, clients and associates go to find you on the Internet.

The Home page identifies your branded value proposition, the About Us page tells visitors all about your business and the Contact Us page informs everyone how to get in touch with you.

It legitimizes your business and improves your credibility. It gives your business an identity and is virtual proof that it exists.

Don’t be mislead into thinking a company page in Facebook is enough to build your credibility. A 2015 survey showed that 84% of consumers believe that having a website makes your business more credible than just a social media page.

Having a website means you have your own domain. In the same survey, 65% of respondents regard a company-branded e-mail as more credible than a generic one.

2. Build Your Business.

Before broadband technology became widespread in 2004, websites were used primarily for marketing and informational purposes. A website functioned more like a brochure; you put one up to stay ahead of the competition. But there wasn’t much thought and purpose behind the content.

With the growth of the Internet, the influence of social media and the popularity of mobile devices, the website has become a crucial tool to build your business.

  • Share Your Story – According to Nobel Prize winning psychiatrist Daniel Kahneman, consumers patronize brands they can align their values with.

A website is a great way to share your story; tell your audience why you started this business, your goals and what you hope to accomplish with it.

  • Get Clients – It’s not enough to have a rock star online profile. 36% of clients prefer to deal with businesses that have websites. By contrast, only 21% will work with businesses without websites.

A website gives you the platform to highlight your experience and expertise.

  • Find Your Team – Are you looking for people to help you run your business?

Set up a Career page in your website where prospective candidates can fill out an application form and attach their resume.

Post your job requirement in social media and link it back to your website. You should have a good number of candidates in no time!

3. Enhance Your Online Presence.

worldfoodbank responsive website design

Website for WorldFoodBank

Here’s a statistical fact that will blow your mind:

Of the 7.4 Billion people in this world, 3.5 Billion people or 47% are online every day. They are searching for information, sharing on social media or shopping on e-commerce websites.

This number is expected to grow as the world becomes increasingly dependent on mobile technology to search the Internet. Today there are an estimated 2.3 Billion smartphones worldwide. But in 2020, the total number of smartphones is expected to hit 6.1 Billion.

If your small business does not have a website, you will be undermining its ability to generate income. And not just any website; but a mobile responsive website, one that can be accessed by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Statistically, 65% of online traffic comes from mobile devices.

A mobile responsive website will help you capitalize on the opportunities available on the Internet through the following ways:

  • Improve Search Rankings – By optimizing your web pages, it will be easier for people to find your content.
  • Distribute Content – Create relevant, unique and usable content and distribute them through different channels such as social media and blog sites. People who love your content would want to know more about you and visit your website.
  • Open 24/7 – Unlike a brick- and- mortar business that operates 9- to- 5, a website never closes shop. It is open 24/7, even on holidays.
  • Introduce Business Flexibility – If you don’t want to miss out on opportunities, outsource customer service and have your agents manage all concerns and inquiries via chat or e-mail support at your website.

4. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Market.

A business by definition is a living, breathing entity. Loyalty is achieved when customers know they are dealing with a company that understands their needs and not just a company that wants to profit.

  • Let the Market Know “Who You Are”. Outside the Home and About Us pages, you can set up a blog page where you can share your thoughts and ideas with your audience.
  • Address the Needs of Your Market. Invite your audience to engage you by encouraging them to post comments on your blogs. Embed survey forms and ask your audience to participate and convey their needs.
  • Educate the Market of Your Business. Utilize the 80-20 Rule; 80% of your content should be usable or relevant to the needs of your audience while 20% should educate them about your business.
  • Improve Customer Service. In addition to e-mail, social media, mobile and landline, install chat support as the 5th avenue for customer service. This will give your end-users more options to relay concerns and inquiries.

5. Efficient Way to Promote Your Business.

If you are still using traditional forms of marketing, you are wasting valuable resources, time and money. Traditional forms include press releases, print ads, flyers and distribution Point- of- Purchase materials.

While still popular, traditional methods cost more money and cover less ground. It is also unsustainable; flyers, posters, print ads and press releases usually end up in the trash can.

Online marketing is faster, more efficient and inexpensive. There are many tools and techniques that you can use for online marketing but without a website, these strategies will fall short.

Think of the website as the sun with these online marketing tools as the planets revolving around it. Your online marketing efforts will create inbound avenues to a specified destination place which is your website.

Among the most popular online marketing tools that you can use to create inbound traffic to your website:

  • Social Media – Of the 3.5 Billion people online every day, 2.34 Billion or 67% are on social media.
  • Blogging – Companies that blogged 16 times a month received 4.5 times more leads than those that blogged 0-4 posts per month.
  • Use Videos – Embed a video on your Home page. A video can deliver your messaging content faster and more efficiently than text. Video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.

Finally, online marketing is a sustainable process. Your content will not go to waste. You can easily update it and reuse after a few months.

6. Boost Your Reputation as an Authority.

If your business is in a competitive industry, a website will give you the forum to boost your reputation as an authority figure.

  • Blogging –  There’s one reason why blogging is the cornerstone of the content marketing process: It works! Here are 3 key statistics on the benefits of blogging:
    • Websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages.
    • 47% of buyers read 3 to 5 blogs before engaging a sales rep.
    • 61% of consumers report a blog influenced their decision to buy.
  • Podcast – Set up a podcast in your website, distribute the schedule via Twitter, Facebook and invite experts to discuss topics that interest your audience. 21% more people listened to podcasts in 2016 compared to 2015.
  • Seminars – Conduct seminars on your website. This is a great way to share your knowledge with your market. Encourage your audience to actively engage during the seminar.

7. Create a Tool for Sales Generation.

A website can also be an active and passive tool for generating income because it is the termination or exit point in the sales funnel.

It is very difficult to convert sales in social media. There are no available mechanisms to complete the transaction on- the- spot. An e-commerce website for example, has a checkout counter where goods and services can be paid for right away.

It can also be a good source for passive income via PPC or Pay- Per- Click advertising. Advertisers will pay you every time a user clicks through their ad in your website.

8. Showcase Your Work.

engraveandframeHere’s a valuable tip for those who want a clear advantage in the job market:

Open a personal website and include a page that showcases your body of work.

That is one valuable tip that Hiring Managers all over the country wish job applicants knew. The same can be said for small business owners. A website will give you the venue to present samples of your work.

If you’re offering interior design services, content writing, professional web design services and other types of work that can be made visual, a portfolio page will encourage more clients to try you out.

If you want to increase the impact of your portfolio page, include 5 or more client testimonies. You can put the client testimonies in the Home page which is where users land after clicking unto your link or the Services page.

9. Keep Track of Your Business in Real Time.

One of the most significant benefits of having a website for a small business is that you can keep track of its performance in real time through the use of analytics.

Analytics will provide you valuable data on how your business has been moving within a period of time. Key indicators of business performance include the following metrics:

  • Number of visitors going to your website.
  • Number of “unique visitors” or those who visit your website only once.
  • Page views or impressions tell how many times a page has been read or visited. This will give you an idea on which type of content visitors find interesting.
  • Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website without exploring past the page they landed on.
  • Average time on site will show how long visitors view your content. The longer the average time on site, the better for your website.

10. Professionalize Your Brand.

Many small business owners make the mistake of not working on their brand until they gain traction.

You have to start working on your brand before launching your business. The brand gives your business its identity and makes it easier for customers and clients to understand what it is all about.

The website is the most effective and efficient way to build and professionalize your brand:

  • It places your branded value proposition front and center in the Home page.
  • Website optimization techniques can help Internet users find your brand.
  • It can be distributed seamlessly through various online channels.
  • A professionally made website shows you are serious about your business.

If you want an effective website or one that can help you take your business to another level, you have to be prepared to invest in one. In a survey of small business owners, 19% identified cost as another reason for foregoing a website.

A website is not an expense. It is an investment because you should expect a return on your money within a period of time.

For your investment to pay out, you have to make sure your website is professionally designed, fully functioning with fast download speed and packed with great content.

Do not penny- pinch and try to do a website on your own despite the availability of free templates. Your best option would always be to hire a professional web designer who has the experience and training to build a functional yet aesthetically beautiful website.