A Designer's Advice to Internet Entrepreneurs
Designer Andrew Beck is featured in "Design Instruct"
Having been a designer in more than a few web startups, I have a thing or two to say to potential online entrepreneurs. If you think you've heard it before, well, hold that thought until you hear it from a designer's perspective.
1. Ask Yourself: "How Will this Idea Make Money?"
This point does not directly relate to design, but it does affect how your designers will carry out their jobs.
Any entrepreneurial endeavor should begin with this question: "How will this earn money?"
Whatever the answer is, that should be kept as your focus.
You may have the coolest, most original idea for a cloud-based e-commerce social-media dating site, but if you don't have a detailed, sensible business model to turn that epiphany into dollars and cents, then you will fail before even having begun.
I have seen plenty of really neat ideas fall flat - not because they lacked a one-word name like Crowdscratch or Zomgr, but because making money was an afterthought, not the first thought.
"We'll just run ads, I guess."
No, advertising is not a valid answer. In order for you to be profitable through advertisements, thousands upon thousands, if not millions, of unique visitors will need to come to your website each month.
Unless you are planning a content-based site, do not deceive yourself into thinking that a few bucks from banner ads will make your business profitable. It will be a thin piece of thread on which to hang your hope of success on.