When people are considering whether to commission Sub@omic to design and build their website, perhaps my two most frequently-asked questions are: how much and how long? My stock answer doesn't always help and I think I've just figured-out why.
The price of a website may simply be expressed as cost + value. Cast your mind back to school to remember how you were taught to solve equations. Your mathematics teacher would have told you that, to solve an equation, all you need to do is to eliminate the known variables on one side of the equals sign. The problems in solving equations only begin to stack up, therefore, when the variables are unknown.
When asked by sales prospects how much a website costs and how long it will take to design, build and launch, my stock answer:
Well, that is entirely dependant upon what you need the website to do; is, very often, met with silence. You see, in this pricing equation, we can only calculate price and duration (the unknowns) by figuring out form and function (the knowns).
This is all well and good. However, the vast majority of business people we work with use and depend upon us because we will figure out for them what the website has to do. Sub@omic takes a consultative approach to web design - we don't claim to have all the answers at the outset. We work with our Customers to figure out what their Customers actually want and then build websites explicitly focused upon these needs. This method we have come to know as "articulating your business proposition".
There's a well-known saying: "Good, fast and cheap. Choose 2."
This equation, meaning none of us can have it all, may be used to figure out how to position your business proposition in the marketplace. If you want to offer a budget product or service that is immediately available, this equation states that the product can't be seen as being good. If you want to offer a product that is good and fast then it can't be positioned as being cheap.
At Sub@omic we believe we build websites which are good and cheap. By definition, therefore, we can't do fast. Our focus on high quality and high performance delivered for a fair and reasonable price means that we are not a fast turnaround business.
During the course of the 15 years that we've been in business, we've worked to address fast by developing Web Diffusion, our exclusive website management system, that offers high quality websites in Small, Medium and Large packages. Yet, strange as it may seem, the web is still comparatively new for so many people in business charged with commissioning the design and build of a website. A website has few clearly defined edges and many people, it would appear, have difficulty deciding if their website is small, medium or large.
Today I finally figured out for myself that these measures of good, fast, cheap (which we all instinctively use) do not have fixed values. Firstly, far from being absolute, these variables in the pricing equation are relative - they are comparable with other quantities and qualities. Secondly and most significantly, the values of these variables will change depending upon who is doing the comparison.
The websites Sub@omic builds are good when compared with the kind of website a design agency is typically capable of fashioning and unquestionably good when compared to the kind of websites most people are able to build for themselves. We have always regarded our websites as cheap, simply because we're more than aware of the time, experience and effort that we put into the design and build of each and every website. We also arrive at that conclusion thanks to having the inside track on our business' operating margin so we're fully aware that our small margin should be and needs to be better.
Ask a sales prospect, however, to compare our websites on price and they'll, quite rightly, compare our pricing to what is commonly available out there. Free templates for WordPress; lovingly cobbled-together websites by nieces and/or nephews who have 'done' websites for a couple of weeks as part of their media studies course; Squarespace; Wix; Shopify; VistaPrint; GoDaddy; Facebook; Pinterest; Instagram... they're all available to be fiddled-with by the curious and they're all cheap. Hell, most are free. So, compared to any of the above, Sub@omic cannot ever be regarded in the marketplace as being cheap; no matter what we perceive our position in the market to be and no matter what value we know we are able to build into each website.
Perhaps it's time to change. Perhaps it's time for us to believe that we are no longer cheap. Our desire to deliver high quality, high performance and high ranking websites means that we should always focus on the good. And if we can't be cheap we've now got to be fast.