One of the main pitfalls of our business is that it is economically dependent on the performance and growth of the “website builder”.
Let me explain….
When Jane Doe wants to build a website, she doesn’t know how because like most people, she doesn’t know much about hosting, coding, and all that technically geek stuff.
So what does she do? She looks for a website builder, which is a technology platform which makes creating websites easy, so she can do it herself. Most of these websites builders make is so simple, that you can just drag and drop pictures, text, slideshows or whatever you want to show up on your website, into your website.
Our business was born when we were using a specific website builder and we thought that the design wasn’t good enough. So we started creating our own themes and marketed them to people, and they actually bought them!
It’s fair to say that our growth and success largely hinges on how well this website builder grows. You might think of us as riding on their coat tails, and that’s a completely fair statement.
For example, we’ve seen a lot of technology companies spring up when Facebook started to get ginormous, and some of these companies are pulling in high 6-figures, if not millions of dollars in revenue (I heard). These companies use Facebook as their launching platform, and they provide services to people or companies who are using Facebook as part of their marketing tool.
The same can be said of App developers who sell their Apps on iTunes (Apple).
They’re all riding on the coat tail of companies like Facebook and Apple, and with Facebook and Apple being so massive, it’s not completely out of the question that these companies are doing very very well.
Changes & Goodwill
So what happens when Facebook starts to change or update their platform? These companies have to scramble like mad people to adapt, or die (well, not die, but slowly become irrelevant, then die).
Same for us, whenever the website builder that we rely on make significant updates, we have to adapt all our products to make sure they remain relevant to the new updates. And that’s a very, very painful process.
Our customers are pounding down our email gates asking why certain features of our themes are not functioning properly. We explain that it’s not really our doing, but we’re working as fast as possible to adapt.
Most of our fine customers understand and are patient with us. Some panic, and we get blamed. Such is life. The waters will calm, and we’ll come out of it a bit beaten up, but I’m confident we’ll grow stronger, and build more goodwill amongst our customers.
Goodwill is one of the most valuable currency in business. Without goodwill, trust, likability, a business is doomed to fail. Protecting the goodwill and brand we’ve built up over the past 2 years, is mission critical.
Reflection and Entrepreneurship
We’re currently going through one of these massive updates right now. A bit stressful, but things are not as bad as we thought they could be. Things can always be worst, and we’re thankful we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
More importantly, Connie and I are always concerned about our economic dependence on this website builder. It has been one of our top concerns since we started this business, and it will always be as long as this business survives.
We’ve been thinking of building a new venture this year, something that is not going to depend on the success of another company. We’re not sure what that will be, but we’re always on the look out for ideas.
We’ve had a few ideas, but weren’t able to validate them thus far. That’s all part of entrepreneurship, and it’s a lot of fun!