We made it to October! And before I start with my highly anticipated monthly newsletter—you know you look forward to it!—I want to announce that we’re going to have a little fun this month at Trademark Productions. In honor of Halloween, our folks here have come up with some clever takes on popular horror film titles and mixed SEO in with them. We’ll post one new title and tagline each weekday for the month, so keep your eyes out for them on Twitter and Facebook.

Now, on with the newsletter…

It’s inevitable. Folks tend to either approach TM because they need a website for a business that’s already been out there for some time and established or to re-imagine the site they currently have so that it drives customers and yields a solid return on investment. That’s business as usual. The “inevitable” part comes into the picture when you least expect it, but it’s when someone calls or walks through our door with that one phenomenal idea they feel will revolutionize the universe and make them wealthy beyond imagination…or at least beyond what they thought their previous idea would bring them.

I know. It sounds a little cynical, right? But anyone who’s been around will tell you that it happens. And having a revolutionary idea isn’t a bad thing by any means. Only it’s the ones that make you sit back and go “huh, really?” that raise an eyebrow in the maybe-this-isn’t-such-a-good-idea way.

There are some common rookie mistakes made that you may want to consider before presenting your idea.

No Research
This is the biggest problem area. We can help you realize your dream by establishing a strong online presence, but we can’t outline your entire business concept. Several potential clients come in looking to bounce their idea off of us, get advice and look for extensive free consultation, sometimes even hoping we’ll partner with them. This usually entails the expectation that we’ll perform a competitive analysis, run financials, develop multiple revenue ideas, develop marketing plans, branding, external branding and retail, as well as set up internal sales, accounting and marketing staff. This is part of what the person with the idea should be doing before ever walking through our door.

Maybe you have an idea to create a site where family and friends can log in, leave each other messages and post pictures. Your mother loves the idea! Unfortunately, MySpace and Facebook already exist, so why haven’t you taken this into account? And what will make what you’re offering better than what’s out there?

Okay, and?
Or, perhaps you’ve thought things out and you have an idea that could potentially fly, only everybody you tell it to needs it explained to them again…and again and again. Even worse, maybe they look at you with that “Okay, and?” look on their face. These aren’t good signs. Your idea must make sense. It has to grab them, not make them think too hard or ask what the big deal is.

Too Many Cooks
Or, as it’s commonly called, design by committee. This is another unpopular way of doing business that some bloggers have written about with titles like “Why Design-By-Committee Should Die!” It’s bad enough when one person doesn’t fully grasp their idea and quite another when an entire group of people don’t grasp it. Worse yet, each member wants to put their own fingerprint on the project and/or change things in progress. It’s why people turn prematurely gray. It’s also one of the few times having a dictator is a good thing.

Adding insult to injury is when there’s a turnover and several committee members are suddenly replaced. Old ideas and progress are dismissed and brand new ideas by the latest folks are brought to the forefront, thereby changing things yet again. Helpful? Not so much, especially when time and costs are wasted on both sides. This is usually when budgets are exceeded, too.

Scope Creep
Most folks don’t understand the process of how software and websites get built. Because of that, it tends to undermine the creativity of website development itself. Not a good thing. What this generally leads to is a series of changes each and every time a milestone is reached. Time, work and effort go right out the window as the client changes their mind and the project just kind of creeps along.

Think of it as walking into a store and telling the salesperson “I want a suit.” You see the item, only now you change your mind and say “I want a dark suit.” The original item goes back on the rack and a new item is brought out, prompting you to look at it and offer a little more information about what you’re really after; “I want a dark navy blue suit.” The process continues from there; “I want a dark navy blue suit in this price range,” “I want a dark navy blue suit in this price range that can be tailored” to, finally, “I want a dark navy blue suit in this price range that can be tailored and worn to a black tie event.”

How would you like to be that salesperson? Also, how much time did you both just waste? And you don’t expect to pay for that, right?

No Time, Love & Tenderness
A contributor to scope creep is also the absence of a realistic timeline. Not only are we working on your site, but chances are that people working for you will have a role in it, too. Do your people have the right knowledge for what they need to do? Do they need training? If so, that means time. Did you account for that? Many don’t. It’s about having the right people in the right place, especially since people get paid for their time. Opportunity costs and if you change things from milestone to milestone, they still get paid and you’re now paying two and three times to arrive at what could have been narrowed down and established in the first place.

You also can’t neglect that you need to consider your own time in all of this, too. You’ll have to ask yourself what you’re willing to sacrifice for your idea. What is this product really worth to you, especially since getting this up and launched may take time away from home, your family and any other projects you that you’re working on”

Finally, it’s your idea, so be prepared to not only prove yourself by being dedicated and working hard, but to also be a punching bag for naysayers. Don’t give in. You gotta know what you want, have the self-confidence to see it through and not be a negativity sponge.

Full Speed Ahead
We’ve got some creative folks here at TM and we can help your project. The more research and information you bring to the table helps all parties involved, especially since it can keep costs down. You’ve got the idea and TM will help you navigate a website blueprint or software scope to discover all the things that can turn your idea into a reality.

So, keep a few things in mind that will help you succeed:

  • Do your research. Know your product, your competition and why what you’re offering is something people are going to want.
  • Have a business plan.
  • Having multiple opinions may help you along, but all ideas should go through one person who makes the final decision and relays that information to your SEO website company prior to starting the project.
  • Embrace the details. Saying you want a suit is a little different than saying you want a dark navy blue suit in this price range that can be tailored and worn to a black tie event.
  • Know what you’re willing to invest in terms of time—yours and your employees—and money. We offer our services for a fee, not for free.
  • Be confident. This is your opportunity to shine!

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