We build websites and provide online marketing services to small businesses and non-profits. We primarily serve a niche that is in between the do-it-yourselfer and a larger creative agency. We recently launched Friendly Sites™—our low-cost, high-value website platform.
Many small businesses need to get online for the first time. Or they have a website but it needs a facelift. The problem is that small businesses are cash-strapped and don’t want to invest a lot of money (at least initially) into a website. They also are extremely busy and many simply don’t have time (or desire) to learn how to build their own website.
This niche is currently being served primarily by two groups:
1) Local freelancers — which is great! But often doesn’t provide the stability that a business needs.
2) Huge companies — which tend to produce impersonal websites, and often use overly aggressive sales tactics.
HOW WE MEET THE NEED
We created a product called Friendly Sites™. Designed to look great on all devices, be incredibly easy to use, and affordable, it is not a website builder like Wix or Squarespace. It is our proprietary platform that we use to efficiently and quickly produce websites. We design and build the sites, and each one is customized to the client within the Friendly Sites™ framework.
Our target market is small businesses and non-profits that are ready for a professionally built and professionally managed website, but are not ready or able to invest a large sum of money into their online presence.
Friendly Sites™ has proven to be very popular, and is rapidly becoming our main source of revenue.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
We also do a lot of larger projects with much higher budgets and more detailed requirements. As an example, we are proud to be the website provider for the Bug Soother® team. We built and maintain their e-commerce website, www.simplysoothing.net, and assist them with a range of marketing services.
Freda, the creator of Bug Soother®, always has kind words for our team. When we first launched the site she said, "That website just blew me away, the number of orders that came through there. We are so impressed with you.”
We love working with the Bug Soother® team and have a great partnership with them.
It’s exciting to be building a profitable company while filling a real need for small businesses.
Our website clients each pay a monthly fee for us to host and support their website. Our business model is based on both the initial setup fees for each website, as well as that monthly recurring revenue. After accounting for support costs and client churn, we see a robust and long-term revenue stream from this model.
We are building a loyal client base that continues to grow. The next step for our company is to work towards maximizing revenue by offering additional marketing services to the clients we already have. We plan to offer email marketing, paid advertising, consulting, and more advanced SEO. We are already offering these services to many of our clients and we see a lot of growth potential in this area. We need to add capacity to build up this part of our business.
We are currently a four-person team (two full-time and two part-time). We also have a roster of go-to designers and builders that we work with regularly on a project-by-project basis.
Reason for Entering:
As a service-based business, our main resources are human resources. Just like a manufacturing company needs machinery and raw materials—we need people! Our clients are actively asking us for more help with their marketing, and we see a lot of growth potential in this area so we are “staffing up” to meet the demand.
With the award money we will make one simple but significant change. We are currently hiring for a Marketing Specialist as a part-time position. We want to make this position full-time immediately, and the money will help us bridge the gap between the work that we already have lined up for this position and the work that is on the way.
Cash flow is the key to any small business, and the money will free up this new team member to spend time building up this part of the business in advance of the revenue that his/her role will generate.
Owners Ethan & Bethany receiving the West Liberty Chamber of Commerce Betterment Award for buying and renovating a downtown building and moving the company office into it
Gabe, our web design intern
Bug Soother® website
Invitation to our ribbon cutting and office warming party
Gilad, our web developer, donating blood (which we do regularly as a team!)