Reflecting on Three Years of Business
Just last week on May 5, to little fanfare around the world (except for a few tweets), our firm celebrated its third year in existence. It has been an exhilarating and rewarding few years, which has seen us grow from a bootstrap funded startup to a successful full service web design and development firm that has launched over 200 websites for clients ranging from public corporations to national non-profits.
Over time we have grown in number, have had a couple of different offices, have adjusted our business model, have won awards, and have made plenty of mistakes. However, we have also always stayed true to our core business philosophies:
- Empower our clients with powerful technology that meets their needs to solve specific problems.
- Create beautiful websites that set our clients apart from their competitors.
- Provide unparalleled personal service, always making ourselves available to our clients and going the extra mile for them.
- Have a lot of fun in the office and make NMC a truly enjoyable place to work.
- Do all of the above at an extremely affordable price for our clients, allowing them to successfully leverage the web at a fraction of the cost of our competitors.
Challenges and Decisions Along the Way
When we first launched, we envisioned ourselves as only a political web design firm, solely focusing on that niche. As it stands today, a little over one third of our total business is political, and the rest is non-profits and corporations. This is due to the fact that within weeks after launching, our political clients brought us non-political business; rather than reject these clients, we embraced the new niches and expanded into new regions. This decision ended up being a major revenue driver and likely kept our company alive through off-election years.
Similarly, when we first launched the company, we didn't foresee acting as a web development partner for ad agencies, and that is now our most explosive area of growth. The idea makes total sense. Ad agencies are amazing at strategy and creative; we have special talents with technology and understand the web. Why not marry the two knowledge bases to provide clients with the best of both worlds and no added overhead?! It seems so straightforward now, but it was a space we looked over in the frenzy of our initial launch.
This ability to wholeheartedly embrace change within our company and shift on the fly ultimately helped us become a stronger company with a deeper body of work and a more steady revenue stream. To this day, we're constantly trying to think of ways to evolve our business into other disciplines that strengthen our overall offering to clients and also grow our company.
Separating Ourselves from the Pack
We have progressively grown every year that we've been in business, in terms of volume of work done and company revenue. The number one thing attributing to that growth are referrals. We pride ourselves on being passionate about our clients and truly wanting them to succeed online, and they have rewarded us by sending new business our way.
In addition to our service, another reason our clients remain happy with us is our view on project-based billing vs. on-going hourly fees. We're not here to milk every billable hour out of each client, in fact we try to avoid hourly charges to clients all together. After we have priced out, built, and completed a project, over 90% of our clients never incur an hourly fee; however, just about all of our clients reach out to us for help or advice sometime in the future...we just don't bill them for those requests.
It's a pretty novel idea in the world of interactive agencies and most of our clients are initially skeptical, but it boils down to our core principles of empowering our clients with powerful technology at a good price. We want them to succeed, and we know that if we do that without unnecessary fees, the long tail of the relationship will be much more lucrative than billing for our time on a phone call. This approach has worked well for us and our clients, and I'm surprised that more agencies aren't moving in the same direction.
Where We Are Now
These decisions and procedures have helped us stay viable and become the company we are today, all along without ever deviating from the core principles outlined above. As it currently stands, we're one of the top political web design firms in the country, have a renowned Content Management System, and have built a prestigious client list.
None of this would have been possible without facing the adversities listed above or without the dedication of our staff and partners. It's been a great ride over the past years and we have learned a lot; we're also focusing on continued expansion over the next year. 2009 has already been the strongest year in our company's history, and it's much thanks to the leg work we put in the past three years. At times, it was a slow growth curve to get here, but it has continued to be worth it, by allowing us to do quality work and have fun.
Happy Birthday to New Media Campaigns and congrats to our team for some great work, and a special thanks to all of the clients that have made this possible!