Budget. There, I’ve said it. The elephant in the room: money, clams, moola. I get it, you’re just starting out, you have big dreams, and a small pocket-book. That’s cool. No, really. Challenges like this help you to grow your business using creativity, flexibility and ingenuity. And that’s great! But what to do when your “eyes are bigger than your stomach?” When you want ALL THE STUFF, but Don’t have ALL THE MONEY? I’ll tell you just what to do.
1. Dream – Create a Wish List
You have an idea of what you want, features you dream about. You want a booking calendar, newsletter optin, estore, membership area, animations, blog, recipes area…….etc….. You might not be able to have everything, but these dreams and desires help you to figure out what it is that you truly want and need. They don’t have to be reasonable (not yet anyways). Write down everything you hope to accomplish, your dream features, who will be visiting your site, how much you want to pay, everything. Don’t worry we’ll narrow it down, but for now lets dream.
It’s really hard to make a budget when you don’t know the going rate for what you want. So, we need to do some research.
Have you ever bought anything really expensive, like a house? You have your wishlist (see above): hardwood floors, great neighborhood, a big backyard, granite counter tops…. You take a look at your real estate listings, talk to an agent, and realize that your $100,000 budget isn’t going to get you what you want. You have 2 choices: 1) Up your budget, or 2) Lower your expectations. Both options are good, you just need to figure out what you’re willing to compromise.
The same thing goes for a website.
The first thing you want to do is take a look at what web designers are out there. Ask friends, colleagues, and Facebook friends for referrals. Are there any designers you follow on social media, any in any Facebook groups you follow? Take note of ones who have a style that you connect with, and have experience building a site with the features you want. Now that we have a sampling of designers, lets figure out their rates. Some designers list their rates on their website, others ask that you contact them. Take a few minutes to send out an email if their prices aren’t listed. Don’t discount anyone based on price, at least not yet. We are only researching to figure out what a “normal” price is for the website you dream of. Don’t forget to keep track of everything, we’ll use this info a few times. Now that you have a rough idea on price, we now have two choices: 1) That’s more than I’m willing to pay, let dream a bit smaller 2) There are some things that I’m not willing to compromise on, I’ll up my budget.
This is the point in which you should involve a web designer or a marketing consultants or a coach. She can help you sort out what dreams are-do-able. She can help you choose which wish list items are worth-while doing now, and what ones can wait. She can also help you sort out what dreams should be added in the future, in phases.
3. Create Your Budget & Narrow Down Your Wishlist
Now that you have a good idea of what you need to grow your business now, and approximately how much it will costs for a website (hopefully you spoke with a designer, consultant, or coach), let’s marry your dreams with your budget.
Take your Wishlist and create 3 columns: Now, Later, Never. Take each item and categorize them. Items that will help you grow your business now (items you can’t, or don’t want to compromise on) should go in the “Now” column. Items that are out of your budget, but you think could help your business once it starts growing should go in the “Later” column. Items that are no longer reasonable, way out of your budget, or is not going to help you grow your business, should go in the “Never” column.
Choose a range for your budget, based on your research above. What is your starting budget, and how high are you willing to go to get everything in your “Now” column?
Go back through your list of designers, and cross off any that no longer fit your needs., ones that are way out of your price-range, or don’t have the experience building the features you need. Narrow down your list to around 3-5 designers. Schedule a call for each designer and have a chat, discuss the items in your columns. Let them know your budget, don’t be shy, a good designer will not discount a small budget, instead, she will help you further narrow down your “Now” list, or point you toward a good designer that can get you closer to your budget. Get a feel for whether they are a good fit professionally (are they fast to respond?) and personality-wise (do you get along?). If things fit, request an estimate. If the estimate is in your price-range, awesome-sauce! If the estimate doesn’t fit your budget, go back to your designer and discuss further (you might need to compromise a bit more, up your budget, or move on to another designer).
Do you have any tips on how to fit your web design dream to your budget? Is there anything you want to add? Do you have any questions on how to set a budget? Leave a reply below.