Meet Tom Perkins from Evolve Websites, a very creative client of ours who has built up a solid reputation for designing stunning websites that can be regularly updated as part of a fixed monthly fee.

We asked Tom about some of his experiences in business so far. Here’s what he had to say: 

Why did you first set up your business?

I was working as a freelance designer at the time and had always wanted to build my own company. I believed I could give clients a better service than they were getting at other companies and setup Custom Studio to give it a go. How hard could it be? 

What were the main problems you came across and how did you get over them?

The initial problem I came across was ‘how do I get clients?’. I quickly realised that word of mouth marketing and in particular networking was a great source of new clients. The second major problem I encountered was the problem that affects so many businesses… cash flow. With the help of my awesome accountant (Sean from SR Toomer & Co.), we developed a new and innovative way of offering and charging for our services. 

What has been your most exciting moment?

It was a ‘light bulb moment’ on a wintery day in October 2011. It came whilst reading an amazing book called ‘The Medici Effect’ by an entrepreneur called Frans Johansson. At the time Custom Studio was using the same pricing model as most creative agencies… the hourly rate model. While this worked for certain projects such as logos or brochures, when it came to websites it created a massive lack of flexibility between the client and the end result. The book talked about how elements of one business or industry can be used to enhance a totally different business or industry. That was the starting point for us to create Evolve, a subscription based website service that gives clients stunning websites, including unlimited updates, for a single monthly fee. 

How did you go about marketing your business?

Word of mouth networking was key for evolve. Being a new concept, it needed explanation and trust, something that’s best delivered via word of mouth. To encourage this, we offer a referral incentive that gives £100 as a thank you to people that recommend Evolve and £100 off for the new client. I’d have to say though, the best marketing technique of all is creating really happy clients who then go on to talk about your business to other people. 

What’s next for the business?

We love what we do at Evolve and that’s key for the business going forward. Plans are to build a small team that are totally focused on building great websites, enjoying coming to work each day and giving our clients an amazing service. 

What one key tip would you pass on?

I’d give two (sorry to change your question). 1. Make sure your business model is right. You can work as hard as you want on a model that’s flawed, but get the model right in the first place and it makes everything easier from there onwards. 2. Always focus on what’s best for the client. The by-product of this will be a really successful business but I think it’s so important to never lose sight of what’s best for the client.