The sun is setting on the conventional digital agency model and we all know it.

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Small businesses have their pick of affordable DIY website-building platforms; Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and Strikingly, to name a few. But these ‘no coding skills’ platforms struggle to acquire and retain customers. While the user interface of these platforms are often beautifully designed, it still represents too much work- and for business owners, who has the time?

Who has the time to learn new technologies?

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The alternative, of course, is to hire a team of website builders to design a website around the business owners requirements but even this represents a few challenges. We’re all aware now that websites don’t just represent a project which has a start and a finish; it’s actually an on-going process because when the business grows and evolves, the website has to too. 

A fresh crop of website-builder startups noticed that the ‘build a website from your browser’ pitch is not enough to attract non-technical business owners who have no interest in becoming their own web designers. These startups are leading ‘a death of DIY’ movement that is putting the power of design and development back into the hands of experts. The bet is that the full-service agency ie. ‘do it for you’, model is a better approach than asking small-business owners to do all the hard work themselves. 

What's a 'pay-as-you-grow' model?

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This is where the ‘pay-as-you-grow’ model comes into play, which is where the Growth Architects play. Business owners have requirements and goals but are typically time-poor with no real interest in acquiring new skills around website development, SEO, Content Marketing or Social Media management. They want a human interaction where they get to explain their requirements in normal, non-technical terms and have these taken away by a skilled team of experts and translated into beautiful website design. They don’t just want this as a single project with a final deliverable, they want this perpetually, every day of the week and every month. 

would you rather run your business or your website?

Let’s be honest, many small business owners have no interest in logging into their website and making changes themselves - they’d rather tell someone the changes they want. In that regard, having a team on-hand to listen to their requirements is becoming more important and will become the default model for most creative agencies. 

The most important factors of working with a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ full-service agency are ensuring the payment model is fixed and provides everything you expect and ensuring that they fully understand your requirements before embarking upon the initial design stages. If both of these boxes are ticked, the results can be outstanding as the small business owner knows what they’re getting and they know how much they’ll be paying. 

The future of website development for small businesses

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Website design is a crucial element of running a small business these days and it’s time that agencies adopt a model which is not counter-intuitive. A model which supports the small business for as long as they need it and a model which doesn’t 'nickle-and-dime' the owners for small, on-going changes.