Describe the company, the elevator pitch …
It’s a small, highly focused consultancy run by Alastair McDermott, working with a small team of trusted external specialists, many since 2007. Together we have delivered huge projects for some of the world’s largest organisations.
Previously our work ranged from e-learning platforms to standard web agency services like SEO and website development for SMEs.
Now the laser focus is on helping B2B professional service providers sell more online.
What’s the background to the business?
When I started the business in 2007, I didn’t want to become a general purpose web agency, despite the fact that there was plenty of demand for web design services at the time. I specialised in search engine optimisation, with WordPress as the content management system of choice. Eventually I listened to the demand and started building sites for the SME market, but that never felt like the core business to me, which is why we shifted the focus of WebsiteDoctor.
Rather than growing the business by hiring full-time employees, I outsoured from the start, bringing in freelance specialists to provide capacity and skills I didn’t have myself e.g. graphic design, e-commerce, video animation, specific programming frameworks. Many think outsourcing means the Asian subcontinent but most of the outsource providers I regularly work with are European or American. I have a core team of three folks I’ve worked with on over 50 projects and who are extremely talented.
The business developed over the years and I’ve gained a lot of experience both through WebsiteDoctor itself, and through other projects and startups I’ve been lucky enough to work with along the way. These experiences gave me a huge amount of business knowledge.
I also work with the Local Enterprise Office here in Mayo as a business mentor specialising in online business, and I run online business training workshops for them and privately.
Why will the company / product do well?
I’m narrowing the focus of the business down to those I can help the most. I focus a lot on systems and processes, I think they’re the backbone of a successful business (Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth” is one of my favourite business books).
Where are you based, how is the broadband?
I’m based in very rural west Mayo, and I think the broadband is technically “midband” 🙂
It’s sufficient for most of my work and I work in Dublin quite regularly so I manage. One side effect of having a slow connection is I became very aware of website performance and speed optimisation, and it’s something I focus on when working with clients.
When was the company launched?
In March 2007. At the time there was a very strong economy here in Ireland, so it seemed like a good time to quit the corporate job and start a business 🙂
What have been your biggest wins to date?
The biggest wins were probably 1) winning the tender to provide a custom e-learning platform to the International Federation of the Red Cross, and 2) managing to actually deliver it on-time after the project timeline was cut by two-thirds – frantic, but we got it done.
What type of people are you trying to attract to your product?
B2B (business-to-business) professional services providers, consultants, coaches, anyone who provides a service to another business and is looking to significantly increase their online sales.
Tell us about your role in the business?
As the business is primarily me, I wear many hats. Initially I did a lot of the technical implementation, but I realised it’s easier and better to outsource the technical side rather than the sales side. Most often I worked in sales and project management and then worked with a specialist for most of the technical heavy lifting.
I still do some technical work every so often to keep those skills up and I’ve pivoted the business towards being a trusted partner focusing on improving client’s online sales, so there’s a lot of consultancy work in that which I love.
I find talking business with other entreprenuers is fascinating, it’s my favourite part of the business and I always learn something from those I’m working with even while helping them build out their systems and sales.
What are you long term plans for the company?
It’s primarily a service-based business right now so I’m working on expanding and improving the core service, which is all about helping people sell more online.
At the same time I’m also creating some products which will help scale it up and act as lead generation for the services side.
One kind of product is a podcast I’m recording at the moment, I’ll be launching that on iTunes fairly soon, more info here.
I’ve also got a couple of books in draft, about 15,000 words each and they’ve been sitting on my hard drive for several years now. So I’ve set deadlines for myself to take them seriously and try to get at least one published by the end of this year. Some people refer to a published book as “the best business card you can have” and that rings true with me.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
Funny enough, for a hard core geek I’m not big on gadgets. I’d say my favourite is the Kindle. I have one of the old first edition models, but it serves me very well.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
A self-driving car would be good, it would make travel a lot more productive!
I have a limited number of free 60 minute coaching consultation sessions each month where I get on the phone with business owners and talk to them about specific techniques they can use in their business to start selling more online right away. Find out more and apply for a consultation here.
If you would like to have your company featured in the Thursday edition of the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with me on [email protected]