Soon, web designers will be unemployed

The one sure thing in business is that it will constantly change. Take, for example, the interest in the phrase “web designers” from 2004 until now; interest measured by Google search volume is down 80%, as shown above.

I started Look as a web designer, working first from my basement. In 2004, it was far easier to land sole web design jobs. People would hire me to create straightforward “brochure” websites, and usually the only challenging requirement would be CMS implementation.

As demand changed, we expanded our offering to include design, advertising, marketing, and, finally, consulting services. Our clients and the company grew together, and today web design amounts to 20% of what we do.

Interestingly, our services matched the adapting trends in the industry perfectly—and not by accident. In business, you must embrace change and constantly keep a finger on its pulse. Ten years is not a long period, yet in that short time, a significant market need can quickly become obsolete. Imagine if your company produced oil fracking equipment: in a matter of several months, fracking equipment manufacturers went from a hot commodity to unnecessary.

Offshore work support in an adapting market:

There was a time when I decided to supplement the expertise of Look’s employees with work from overseas contractors. Initially, when I presented this to my team, I was met with objection. Rightfully so. Our skilled and hard-working employees saw this as a threat to their job security. They saw the contractors from India, Russia, the Philippines, Tunisia, and Bosnia as an unfair competition to what we were doing.

Why did they object?

In North America, living expenses and wages are much higher. Therefore, we couldn’t cut our prices to  compete with “cheap” overseas workers. In light of this, we had two choices.

1) IGNORE THE MARKET SHIFT:

Looking back, if we’d ignored the demand for outsourcing work, we’d most likely be on our way out like many web design shops and ad agencies are.
2) EMBRACE THE MARKET SHIFT:

Embracing this change and capitalizing on it while still relying on our highly qualified and dedicated staff meant that we were able to find people who specialized in disciplines that complemented the work and knowledge of our inhouse team. Embracing this shift allowed us to continue providing local jobs and expertise and deliver work at an even higher level of service to our clients at a fair cost.

Ready or not, web design is evolving.

The lesson in all of this is to embrace change. It will happen whether you want to be a part of it or not. Only the companies who are willing to challenge themselves every day and who are flexible enough to respond to ever faster changes in the market will continue to thrive. The rest will go to the business junkyard with Blockbuster, Kodak, and Future Shop. Are you choosing to stay small? Learn more about choosing the right suppliers to make your company flourish.

Change can be like a torrential wind, and businesses can be like trees. If a tree is flexible and moves with the blowing wind, it will sway, stay grounded, and its roots will grow down deep. If it resists, is inflexible, and unwilling to adapt, it will fall, crack, and expire.

The market is uncertain, but change is inevitable.

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