FBN recently spoke with Joe Bodin. He is the lead Website Designer and President of Flagstaff Central.com, Inc. His business specializes in website design and internet marketing. Bodin does his work for clients in his home-based office. Not long ago, he started Flag Tech Talk, helping individuals and businesses who want to learn more about technology.
1) Why did you decide to open this type of a business?
Bodin: I wish I could say that I was “called” to being a website designer, but the reality of it is that I was looking for a way to be able to work at home. I started my business soon after my daughter was born, and it quickly became self-evident that having my wife and me running back and forth from full time jobs and taking care of a child was not a great way to do things. So, I decided to take all of my skills in marketing and computers, and create a home-based business that would give me the freedom and lifestyle I wanted. I became an At-Home-Dad and a Business Man all at once.
I had previously been the Events Coordinator at Bookman’s, and so I took all of my skills and began creating services. These included doing Graphic and Web Design, sponsoring and running my own Events on the stage at Theatrikos, publishing large non-profit driven Tabloids inserted into FlagLive, and also starting a local City Guide www.flagstaffcentral.com . It wasn’t long that I found that I had too much on my plate with all these services and a kid at home. My wife and I called a Corporate Meeting, and nailed down the company to doing Website Design and Internet Marketing, and kept the City Guide running too because we liked how community oriented it is. It was probably the best decision making meeting we ever had. Twelve years later my company is doing great and continues to stay really focused. And, I’ve been home with my kids the way I wanted.
2) With technology changing so quickly, how do you adapt your business to keep up with the shifts?
Bodin: The truth is that no one can really keep up with all of the technology changes that are out there. We are in an amazing time where practically every day a new piece of software, a new computer system, a new device hits the streets… It is mind blowing how fast it moves sometimes, and I have to say that it’d be impossible for anyone to keep up with it all. So, what’s the solution for a company like mine to keep on top of all of this continual change?
The answer is specialization. My company specializes in Website Design and Internet Marketing. Even these fields are vast, but we offer a very select type of service. We build very solid and simple websites for small businesses and non-profits. We stay away from large data-driven sites; we don’t fix computers; we don’t provide internet access… We build good, solid websites and then work with our clients to market them through services like Search Engine Optimization, Topical Marketing, and Social Media. We focus our services so that we can keep up with our specific area of technology.
Even in this narrowed field it is hard to keep up, but we do our best. A few years ago I would have never thought I’d be helping people set up FaceBook pages, but the times change and we adapt. It takes constant learning of software and the true willingness to simply try any new service or device that I can find.
3) How do you see your business evolving in 5 years?
Bodin: For me, this is a constantly adapting situation. I am continually looking at our services and changing them to meet the new technology. I am regularly adding new website features that make things easier and more interactive for my clients. I am regularly adding new marketing options to get my clients more online exposure as the options become available. It’s a never ending creative venture.
My feelings are that most of the small business and organizations that my company services should be doing what they do best and not struggling with the technology. I make internet issues easier for my clients, and anticipate that even as technology changes – they will still need these services. Five years from now I will be providing a lot of the same things, just in a different way.
4) What is something about your business people would find surprising?
I believe that one person with a creative idea can change the world.
Someone on the internet can truly speak to people everywhere. There is no other time in history that one person sitting at a desk with a Computer or with a Laptop in the park or with a Smartphone in their car, can so easily change the lives of so many others is such a vast way. I believe that what we do does change lives and that technology empowers normal people to have a true voice. It breathes with the essence of free speech and freedom.
I’m not sure if everyone would find that surprising. It surprises me sometimes…
5) How do you market your business?
Bodin: The foundation for my business comes from having happy clients who then refer us to others. Almost all of my new business comes from referrals. So, the shear majority of my marketing efforts are simply working with clients to make sure they have what they need. After twelve years, my company has a very stable client base and keeping this strong is the marketing plan.
My company also runs a local city guide that gets 3 to 4 million hits each year. That’s a whole lot of activity! The site offers a free listing to any local business or organization, free calendar listings, feeds local blogs into the site, etc… The guide is primarily run for our community and keeps me in contact with happenings all over our area. It’s a great communication resource and thus is great for marketing my company and services. People know and hire me because I am involved with them.
Beyond this, I am also very active on social media, work with local schools and non-profits, have numerous websites that provide information and tech tips, sponsor local tech lectures (like the Flag Tech Talk series – http://www.flagtechtalk.com, and do my best to be a positive part of our community. I periodically advertise in other mediums as well, but I see community involvement and customer relations as the strongest way I can market my services and truly enjoy what I do.
Name: Joe Bodin
Company Name: Flagstaff Central.com, Inc.
Slogan: “Reliable Web Designs and Internet Marketing!”