Story of a website

by | Apr 30, 2023 | Marketing

Two years ago, after I joined the One Per Cent Club, I started doing 90-day plans, where we identified three goals per quarter.

If you haven’t tried it, I would definitely recommend it, as otherwise, it is easy to spend your time on day-to-day tasks and answering emails and attending meetings and you haven’t actually achieved any underlying improvements to your business – you haven’t worked ON your business but have only worked IN your business.

It took seven quarters before a new website made it to the top of the list and into the goals for quarter number eight. What did I need a new website for? We already had plenty of work, and we did our marketing through LinkedIn, which was working very well, thanks to regular posts two or three times a week, such that now when I went to networking events, people that I had never met before came up to me and spoke to me about my posts. But then I began to realise that the next place that prospects look after seeing you on LinkedIn is your website, and ours was so out of date that it had become an embarrassment.

It still had a photo of me from twenty years ago when I had started my new business, in the days when accountants wore suits and ties, and the content was from the days before cloud accounting which had transformed the way that we worked since then – or at least for some of us, I was amazed to read last week in Will Farnell’s latest book “The Human Firm” that even now, only 20% of accountancy practices use cloud accounting.

Back then, when I was starting my business, I knew that it was going to be really tough. I only had one client, and I knew the theory of how to run an established business but how to get clients was another thing completely – accountants are useless at sales and marketing.

Twenty years ago, being self-employed was considered a much more risky option than it is now – it was still the era of “a job for life”. I resolved to give it at least a year and to make sure that I was committed, I invested in a new logo and website, rented a serviced office and most importantly, chose a niche that I was familiar with from my previous role and specialised in technology companies.

(Incidentally the serviced office served me well to start with but when they moved an Escape Room business into the office next door to me that made me move my office to home which meant that I was all set for lockdown in 2020. Having someone trying to escape from the room next door at all hours of the day is not a good working environment for accountants…)

Twenty years on and I contacted Steven Mitchell, who had created Accountech’s first logo, which served me so well. He agreed to develop a new identity and produce a new website, which was more in line with the business as it was now. He also introduced me to a young photographer Elliott Cansfield.

Other than our employees and clients, the other people who helped me on the project were John Lamerton and Jason Brockman. I referred to John’s book “Evergreen Assets” which has the tagline “Do the Work Once, Reap the Rewards Again and Again (and Again!)” – that summed up exactly what I wanted from the website.

The website has had many iterations, and John has sent me several Loom videos with suggested improvements and critiqued those of our competitors, both of which have been hugely valuable. I also read the book “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller, and that has helped me see that a website should be all about how you as the hero of the story solve a problem for the damsel in distress (your client) – so many other websites concentrate too much on themselves, their qualifications and how great they are and are full of technical content that the client isn’t interested in (they just want you to advise them with a solution, not tell them how to do it!).

I hope you like our new website – please let me know what you think.