The First Step: Realizing It’s Time for a New Website
There was a moment last fall when it hit me. I was discussing our TEN7 website with the team and considering some updates that were in the works. Suddenly I realized the updates weren’t going to be enough. Our needs went beyond the look and feel of the site. It was time for something new. We needed to start over to create a site that better reflects our voice, our mission, and how our company has evolved.
Considering that TEN7 is in the business of creating websites, you would think the decision to build a fresh website for ourselves would be an easy one. In reality, it took a while to get there. This process has forced me to take a step back, and in many ways put myself in the shoes of the clients we serve, to decide the best path forward and to plot our course to get there.
For a little background, I launched TEN7 in April of 2007. Like any new business, we’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. Thankfully, we’ve grown a lot and have been able to serve a wide variety of clients. We went from running out of my basement to owning and sharing an office in downtown Minneapolis. Then, in 2017, we shifted again to become a fully distributed team long before COVID made that a more mainstream model.
The last time we rebuilt our website was almost six years ago. We worked hard to develop a site that reflected our team, our values and how we work. I like the site and, to be honest, up until recently I felt it was still relevant to our company and our needs.
Then I had that moment. Maybe it was the impact of 2020 and the feeling that so much of our world was changing, or maybe it was simply a reflection of time and evolution. Whatever the reason, I realized our voice had changed and if we’re going to be true to that voice, our website needed to change as well.
In some ways admitting this need was the hardest step. In another, more reality-based way, I know the work is now just beginning. (As the client, I am told we will launch later than I expect. I’m still trying to accept this.)
As we officially start this journey, there are a few key lessons I’ve already learned:
I can’t lead this effort
Even though I run a web company, I need someone other than me to lead this process. I need to be the client.
We need to understand our foundation before we start building
It will take some effort but we need to spend time looking in the mirror and making sure we have a clear vision of what we want to be. We’re re-visiting our Mission Statement, our vision, and our core values. This is how we will make sure the new site will fit where we want to go, rather than where we’ve been.
This is going to be an investment, so we need to get it right
There’s no way around the fact that a new website is going to require significant resources in both time and money. Our team is going to spend long hours on this project. We will bring in outside help. Still, we know this is a long-term investment. If we do it right, our clients and prospective clients will understand what makes us unique and why we are the right partner for their needs.
There’s an old saying about how doctors are the worst patients, because they think they know all the answers. I’m going to do my best to not fall into that trap. That’s why I’m starting this series of blog posts to lead you through our journey to the new TEN7. I’m going to try to listen, to be open minded, and to learn from this process and hopefully it will make our company even more understanding, responsive and empathetic to our clients in the future.
Each month, I, or someone on this team, will update you on steps we’ve taken, the progress we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned. Hopefully the experience will help you think about your business, your mission, your values and how you are communicating with the world. And if you need some help, I’m just an email away.