This first year as Pure Adapt has been interesting. All four of us have had to get used to working together and running our first incorporated business. Way back in December of last year when we officially formed the company our primary source of revenue was SEO and web design services. Around March we hit a road block: many of our sites severely needed upgrades and we were very inefficient with our client work because we didn’t have the proper systems in place.
So we decided to take a step back. I spent a few months re-launching SportsLizard and the Price Guide, which has been very successful, profitable, and best of all efficient (I probably average around 8 hours/week on SL now). Then we saw that George and Greg were spending 3-6 hours a day doing tasks that could be automated with Detailed Image. So Mike and I spent a few months overhauling the entire system. About a month in, over 75% of customers are using our upsell system and George and Greg have reduced order processing down to about an hour a day. All in all, our moves have been successful, but I’d be lying if there wasn’t a cost. It came at the expense of quite a bit of revenue…I’d estimate about $100k if we had focused more on our services.
Whether you agree or not with our choices, we’re operating at close to 100% efficiency now and it’s time to “cash in” and scale up. Today is the first day in about 8 months that all four of us are working on revenue-generating tasks. Our systems are in place and we’re spending our time marketing. George and Greg for DI, and Mike and I on our client services. We made one major decision when re-launching our client services: we decided not to do it under the Pure Adapt name.
With that said, I’d like to introduce Faceup-Sites. There are three components to the site:
- Web design services
- A SEO/Web Marketing eBook that I wrote
- Business card design and printing
Why did we launch this separate from Pure Adapt and why did we target this market? A handful of reasons:
- I have officially deemed SEO work to be very inefficient. We only consult and put together plans now, we don’t actively do work for clients – it just wasn’t profitable and we had a hard time getting cooperation from people. While I’ll still take on the occasional client by referral under Pure Adapt, I’ll direct everyone else to the eBook which is selling for $39.99.
- When you do web design/development work, you can go after low-level clients (think restaurants or lawyers that only need a few updates each year) or mid and high level clients that require much more management and much more challenging work. We’re not a team of A+ programmers, so we chose to go after the former because they suit our skillset the best. We also seemed to be getting A LOT of referrals for small, simple sites and we didn’t have the infrastructure in place to do the work cost-effectively until now. Mike has developed his own “version” of WordPress that allows us to build completely custom sites on top of WP – saving us time and giving clients the ability to edit their own sites. Because of how efficient the process is, we’re charging $249 for a basic site or blog, which is extremely affordable. The Faceup site itself is built upon WP, with quite a bit of extra functionality that we built on top of it. The coolest feature by far is the Site Builder that lets you choose a layout, color scheme, and header before contacting us (again, saving time going back and forth).
- We noticed that the margins on our reseller account that we have with a print shop are HUGE. We initially got the account just for our own business cards and promo work, but have just realized that it’s worth offering because of the huge mark-ups.
- We want to keep the Pure Adapt name associated with high end, high quality. Faceup is more “affordable and efficient” so it made sense to put it on its own domain.
- We’re counting on the recurring hosting fees to increase the profitability of Faceup over time.
- Because we’ll have efficient systems in place, this will be the perfect site to have interns and part time employees start with before moving on to more challenging coding projects.
- We seem to have easier access and more personal connections to this target market – restaurants, lawyers, accountants, real estate, new businesses, bloggers – than we do the higher end market.
Is it a risk? Of course. We’re evolving our client work based upon what we’ve seen in the past, and we think it will work, although it wouldn’t shock me if it didn’t (nothing shocks me at this point). I know a lot of developers who swear by the higher end client and would tell me this is a mistake. Maybe so – both have their pros and cons, but we think this approach fits our business better. If it doesn’t, we’ll adjust the model until it does.
I’ll post in the coming days about our marketing plan, and also more info about the SEO/Web Marketing eBook and how you can get a free copy. Off to start executing said marketing plan 🙂