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The Web Design Business Kit will give you everything you need to know to run a successful web design business.

Book Review: The Web Design Business Kit – Second Edition By Brendon Sinclair

Do you have a Web design business? Do you want to have one? If you answer "yes" to either question, you really need to examine The Web Design Business Kit: Second Edition. Whether currently running a Web design business, or just starting one, there are a lot of questions that need to be addressed if you want to be successful. Things like: how do I get new clients?; How do I keep my old ones?; Am I charging too little?; Too much? These and many, many more questions are answered in The Web Design Business Kit, now in its second edition.

The Web Design Business Kit is the brainchild of Brendon Sinclair, the founder and executive director of Tailored Consulting, a web design firm that specializes in Web Development, Search Engine promotion, and Web Branding. Formed over eight years ago in Queensland, Australia, they provide advice to businesses as well as managing a number of their own sites.

The Web Design Business Kit comprises almost 700 pages and is contained in two thick three inch binders. Also included is a CD with all of the documents that you will need to grow your business. The first binder is called "The Manual" and contains the information that you will need to build and grow your business. The second binder, called "Documents" contains all of the day-to-day business documents a business needs. These documents, all 73, are included on the CD-ROM.

The author's philosophy is based on four fundamentals. First, your web design and development skills don't matter. Second, you should not be the cheapest bidder to win a contract. Third, when the project finishes, your income should not. Four, your clients are everywhere.

The "Manual" is divided in to five major sections.

Section One, "First Steps in Freelancing" begins by asking the question "Why be your own boss anyway?" To run a business there are certain things that you have to come to grips with. First is how to define success and failure; these have to be defined on your terms and with regard to what you are trying to accomplish. Next you have to determine what kind of business you are in. To start your business, you need to begin at the end by defining your exit strategy – your goals.

The rest of this section will help you understand what you need in order step out on your own – how to identify goals and arming yourself for success. You will see what it takes to evaluate the market, benchmarking yourself against your competitors, and learning how to put together a business plan. You will learn about presentation skills. With 95% of our communications being non-verbal, how you present yourself, and how you sell yourself is of high importance. Also, you will see how to start your business, what ten courses of action will help you get your first client, how to develop your client database, and what not to do in business. Finally, to get that first client you have to know what it takes to turn a prospect into a client. You will learn about the secret question that is so powerful that every business person should ask the question all day, everyday

Section Two, "Establishing your Business," now examines how to market your business. This is based on the premise that you need to "Do Something!" Many businesses fail because they do not market themselves. You will see how to market your business cheaply by generating the perfect leads. You will learn about different techniques that will help you find the right customers, the ones most likely to buy from you. These techniques range from doing surveys to creating media releases.

The bottom line is that you need a steady flow of prospects to develop your business. You will see how to assess your advertising options and develop a plan of action. You will see how to develop a unique advantage and build it into everything that you do. You will work on honing your sales skills and learn the reasons why people buy. Finally you will learn what it means to provide excellent client service and how that can be used to increase sales.

Section Three, "Running your Business," gets down into the nuts and bolts about running a web design business. The discussion that is focused on here is managing web projects by using project management, project assessment, keeping on track, and being organized. You will see how to deal with pesky clients – those clients who require a lot more time to handle than most normal clients. Here you will learn how to deal with them, how to try and solve the problem, and when to know it's time to cut them loose.

Explained is how to handle client complaints as well as how to delight your clients by using your ability to lie, bribe, and steal; the good kind of stealing, that is. Because success is the best way to delight your client, the bottom line being that by helping them draw more clients from their website, not only will they be successful, so will you.

Section Four, "Expanding your Business," is all about repeating sales and expanding your business. Explained here is how to catch a big fish. This includes how to find them, making your pitch, knowing what to charge, and how to value your knowledge. When you plan to expand your business you have to first lay the foundations, learn what big operators do differently, and learn how to avoid the pitfalls.

Section fFve, "Looking to the Future," will show you the next steps to building your business. Here now you get into the topics of budgeting. While not entirely complex, it does come across as dry and, frankly, just not as exciting as running a business, But every bit as important when you are trying to expand a business. Covered here are cash flows, balance sheets, and all the other things that help you measure your costs and making sure that you are running a financially successful enterprise.

Other things included are 100 business tips that will be useful to your business. These cover a wide range of topics including marketing, building teams, and client relations. Then you will see some case studies that will provide you with actions, outcomes, and summaries that you can use in your business. Finally you finish up with business legalities that hopefully will keep you out of trouble.

The "Documents" contains all of the documents that were described and used in the manual. This binder is divided into seven sections based on the type of document.

The categories listed are:
• Business Planning and Financial Documents – lists business plans and marketing materials.

• Promotional Tools – contains documents for direct mailing, flyers, media kits, and press releases.

• Client Contact Documents – gives you cover letters, thank you note, proposals, project briefs, and approval forms.

• Surveys – has all the things you need to prepare and do a survey including cover letters, participant surveys, and follow up letters.

• Employment documents – contains employee interview questions, employment letters, confidentiality agreements, and time sheets.

• Office Documents – has fax headers, meeting agenda's, and memorandums.

• Legal Documents – contains service agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and hosting agreements.

The Web Design Business Kit is very well designed and written. Some of the information is tried and true business advice that serves as a good reminder. Other ideas are well thought out twists that make very good business sense. Perhaps not every technique will work well in every business, but the majority will. The rest will give you pause to reflect and may have some affect on your business, or at least get you to think in different directions.

The Web Design Business Kit is available from SitePoint for $247.00. If that seems expensive, it really is not. If you can generate one client from this kit, it will pay for itself. When you consider the hundreds of ideas for getting clients, you will wonder why you didn't get it sooner. In fact, SitePoint is so convinced that there is a 30 day 100% money back guarantee. If you don't think that it is worth the money, just ship it back within 30 days. For a limited time, they will ship the 12 pounds (5Kg) worth of materials anywhere worldwide for free.

The Web Design Business Kit will guide you and give you everything that you need to know to run a successful web design business; for that matter, just about any kind of business could garner tips for performing better. While the content is focused on web design, the reality is that the concepts can be translated to other businesses, and even everyday life; they are just that good.

Because the author's approach is based on face-to-face, phone, and written correspondence, this kit may not work as well for those who sell exclusively over the internet and those who sell directly to consumers, as opposed to businesses. Though, with the 30 day free trial, what do you have to loose? If you are a freelancer, a Web design shop, internet consultant, web designer or developer — or anyone who sells professional services to businesses — I very highly recommend The Web Design Business Kit: Second Edition.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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