It seems that there are more web design companies than ever taking on more unrelated tasks and service offerings including social media marketing, Facebook advertising, and even traditional marketing. For those in my field, it is no surprise that SEO (search engine optimization) has been coupled with website design for years, mainly because web design clients want high search engine rankings. Almost all web design firms have heard the complaint from a client when a new site gets launched and the client cannot find the website on Google the same day. The general assumption is that if a new website is launched, it will immediately be searchable on the major search engines, especially Google itself. Web design firms that grow their staff usually have one search engine optimization expert on staff. The alternative is to work with strategic partners, which are basically competitors who share a common goal and who want to work together and team up on projects. The latter is what I have been doing. I also perform social media marketing which includes everything from Facebook page development to Twitter follower development. This year, I have created a successful Facebook advertising campaign for Smart Hustle Magazine and drove thousands of people to their website with a very simple campaign. Hot Web Ideas also manages a staff of development professionals in Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Hong Kong, but they are not strategic partners. They are simply employees of Hot Web Ideas with me overseeing all of the project management.

Through my involvement with the business networking events on Long Island, New York since 2005, I have known John Barlowe of Island Online Marketing and Heidi Shaw of Hi Design Concepts for years and earlier this year, reached out to them to become my strategic partners. For web hosting, I have partnered up with Ava Boudi from Ava Hosting. Ava Hosting has been offering our clients hosting and domain registration services for 10 years. These professionals are also good friends and we all look out for each other when it comes to working on new opportunities. We all perform similar work for our clients and overlap in various services. The strategic partnership is like an independent team of professionals all working together for a single goal, usually on a client project. However, we do not pay each other a payroll. Usually, one person will bill the client and let the other person invoice them for a percentage of the costs charged to the client. We can work under the hood as well as a silent partner. Whoever acquires the client is usually the owner of the client and is the main public-facing contact for the client. I spend my time writing proposals and performing the services that I do best. My strategic partners are responsible for their areas of expertise and instead of overlapping, we compliment each other. Sometimes, we do a mixture of overlapping and complimenting. I am always looking for new strategic partnerships, because as new services evolve into my industry, I want to offer them all, but obviously cannot perform them all, so my strategic partners are gems for me and I know that I am beneficial to them as well.

The book Think and Grow Rich published in 1937 and written by Napoleon Hill is a best seller and still sells today. Even after 80 years, the book still offers amazing advice on training your subconscious mind to motivate you to do the things it takes to be profitable and to eliminate the negative thoughts that keep you from becoming a financial success. One of the most intriguing chapters is called the Mastermind Group. This chapter speaks of the formation of a group of individuals who help you become more profitable. They do not give you money, advice, or anything like that, but they can if that is the nature of the group. The mastermind group is a list of people you admire who can help you become successful. They motivate and inspire you. Belonging to the group is as simple as simply hanging out with them, having conversations with them about the industry and exchanging ideas with them. They can be people who are smarter than you or who have been more successful than you because these positive traits can simply rub off on you. When I take on a strategic partner, they are automatically entered into my mastermind group and from both my professional and personal relationships with them, I usually am a part of theirs.

I continue to look for strategic partners and keep my ears open for anyone who reaches out to me. One of my newest strategic partners is Robert Yeganeh who is the owner of the Long Island based shoe store chain Love My Shoes. Robert is an expert in the retail space and I have worked on his website on occasion over the past 15 years. He and I are working on various digital marketing projects including both digital and traditional marketing of the party celebrating the success of the chain on the island.