Vail Valley Bizwatch: Gordon Group, Web design
Vail, CO, Colorado
Business name: Gordon Group.
Date opened: 2004.
Owner: Jill Gordon.
Contact info: Call 970-331-6840 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
What goods or services do you provide? I create custom Web sites for individuals and small businesses. I talk to clients about their Web presence, how they want to be perceived in the Web-based world, and how a Web site will help their business strategy.
A Web site is really a business card today, and most business people can benefit from one. I’m probably less expensive than many Web designers because I choose to be; I’m very careful with other people’s money and try to save my clients money and time whenever I can. Sometimes I take over existing sites when they’ve lost their designer. I also consult with new business owners. I’m on their side and I’m sort of a one-stop shop for their Web need.
What’s new or exciting at your place? I use the newest technology in both hardware and software. I also study constantly to advance my skills. That, combined with my design sense, allows me to envision a site, sketch it out, and turn it into a reality that closely mirrors my vision. That’s really fun.
But the vision initially comes from long talks with my clients and listening closely to what they want and helping them make good decisions about what to put on the Web – and what not to put there.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? I really care about my clients, both personally and professionally. I try to meet their needs, rather than mine. I create the Web site they want, not the one I want.
I have one client in Los Angeles who is changing from a franchise to a privately-owned operation and he had a quickly-approaching deadline. I worked for a week solid to get his site ready, more to ease his anxieties about starting his new business than for any other reason. If he didn’t have to worry about having a site ready for the changeover, it was one thing off his very full plate.
That’s the kind of thing that is important to me. In reality, I provide more than just Web site. A robot could make a Web site. I want to meet people’s needs and give personal attention. I want to create relationships with them. People talk to me and I can create a better site because of that.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? I like to help people succeed. I want to make their lives easier. I really believe in small business and creating a business you enjoy – I’m living proof of that.
But often people don’t have the resources to market themselves in a high-end, polished way because they are too small to have graphics departments and their own IT people, and marketing departments. Often they know little or nothing about getting started on the Web, or they have a friend or family member helping them.
I offer technical expertise, almost maniacal attention to detail and real concern for their success and satisfaction. I try very hard to look out for them and their interests. And God willing, I’m not going anywhere, I’m here to stay.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: I had a solid education in marketing and photography when I came to Vail in 1976. Years later, when I was the director of a non-profit organization that needed a Web site, I decided to learn to design Web sites myself.
I went back to college and studied, found out I had a good feel for the tech end and the artistic sense was already in my heart. A local inventor heard I knew how to build Web sites and asked if I would make one for a new tool he had invented. That was the moment of truth: Was I going “pro” or not? I took the plunge and now design for people all over the country and the world, but mostly locals. I just received a request for a site from a gentleman in Iraq!
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? I travel a lot and was consulting with a family in Kuwait about a Web site for their chocolate boutiques. After visiting their retail shops and their production workshop, they took me to a small tent on the grounds of their enormous family compound. We sat in the tent, having tea and date pastries and looked at some of my Web sites on their laptop. The father told me that I could go home to Vail and tell my friends I had been in a tent in the desert with Wi-fi!