It was Tuesday morning and I opened my inbox to see an email from a new potential client, Mindy. I gave the number she provided a ring and immediately connected to her voice on the other line. She was excited that we had a chance to speak so quickly and immediately explained how her family-owned manufacturing company was interested in spinning out their own line of leather gloves via a new ecommerce website. Mindy wanted to find out how much her project would cost and how long it would take to build. She wanted to get a proposal by the end of the week.
So I asked her, "why are you in a rush to get married"?
There was five seconds of silence on the other line until she replied with bewilderment, "excuse me"?
Naturally I had to chuckle and immediately explained what I really meant. When it comes to selecting a partner to help you execute a multi-month project such as a website, you need to make sure the relationship has all of the right fundamentals in place before committing a fairly large investment in working together. You want to have a chance to 'date' before giving a proposal.
You want to have a chance to 'date' before giving a proposal.
Luckily, Mindy hadn't yet hung up and actually asked me to elaborate on what I meant by 'dating' and how that had anything to do with building a website.
I explained to her that the success of her project would be driven almost entirely by the relationship she had with her web designer. This relationship should be based on a shared vision, compatible communication styles and trust. The most effective way for us to start establishing those elements to our relationship would be to work together on defining her project strategy.
Mindy seemed curious as to why I was centered on strategy so early in the process rather than requirements which she said all of the other designers she had spoken with focused on. I explained how the unique perspective we've gained in building hundreds of website allows us to help our clients better understand their own project requirements and filter them in a way that will lead to a more cost-effective and better-yielding project.
I explained that we've found a half-day 'whiteboard' session to be the most effective way to develop that strategy together. Humans are naturally social creatures that thrive in environments that allow them to use all of their senses. When we get in a room together, grab a fistful of markers and start littering the table and wall with ideas, we're fully engaging these senses to the fullest extent possible.
we've found a half-day 'whiteboard' session to be the most effective way to develop that strategy together
Mindy was fascinated with the concept and felt investing the few thousand dollars (a fraction of the total project cost) in this sort of strategic planning session made a lot of sense. A week later, we bounced dozens of concepts off each other, sketched out a handful of design ideas and even nailed down the ideal content structure for her website. After only a week of work together, we were able to assemble a solid strategy for the project and move right into the 'marriage' she was originally seeking but with better confidence and clarity than she had imagined.