Business2Business Advice: Easthampton’s Allard designs websites
Derek Allard, owner/website designer/developer, Tunnel 7, Easthampton Purchase photo reprints »
NAME: Derek Allard
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: owner/website designer/developer, Tunnel 7, Easthampton
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: 2001
WHAT YOU DO: On the surface, what I do is build websites and mobile websites and help clients with their Internet marketing and website optimization needs. What I really do is help clients achieve better results on the Internet.
EXPERIENCE: Worked at Gravity Switch, a web development shop in Northampton, as well as at ISO New England and Stevens Design Studio.
THE MARKET: Small to mid-size businesses and nonprofits. My saying is, “I do great work for even better organizations.”
HOW YOU REACH OUT: Social media, word of mouth, in person networking events, email marketing, teaching/workshop presentations
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? As a start-up, money was tight at the beginning. Working hard to build relationships with quality clients has been the best way to keep a steady stream of work and to avoid financial hurdles.
KEY TO SUCCESS: I have left a long trail of happy clients over the years, including many larger organizations who call me when they have problems they can’t fix. My process for building websites focuses on collaboration and content first. I am able to have the client working on their content in the content management system in the first week. Together we’re able to identify where their content weaknesses are and work together to solve them. My clients also can see the status of their project using a collaborative software platform I use. It’s all very transparent and builds a solid relationship, which is important. The most successful projects are those where my clients and I work together throughout. This process results, quite plainly, in a better website that produces better results. People like that.
CHALLENGES: Time management. Much of the work I do requires me to stay focused for large periods of time during the day. Learning to focus on what is a priority and what can wait takes some time to learn.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: Trying to be all things to all clients. I’m not the best fit for every client. I am much more selective now about who I will work with, and that has gone a long way to reducing my stress level and building better relationships with the clients I do have.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: Treat the people you work with like gold. Your reputation does follow you.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: Tina Stevens of Stevens 470 of Westfield and many other colleagues over the years who I have learned from.
TOP GOALS FOR 2013: Continue to find great organizations to work with and help them achieve success online. Spend more time with friends and family.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Develop a plan and stick to it. You will need to adapt along the way, but knowing who you are and who you are not is essential.
PARTING THOUGHT: There is more to life than work. Find that balance as best you can.
This B2B ID was compiled by Jamie Faulkner, an intern with Janice Beetle, owner of Beetle Press in Easthampton. Beetle Press offers writing, editing and graphic design services. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at email@example.com.