What started as a hobby for 21-year-old Brian Brady quickly has grown into a full-time job.
Brady, owner of Brady Solutions, a full-service Web design and hosting company based in Brockport, started designing Web sites as a favor for friends and immediately discovered he could do more with his talent.
“I saw what Web sites could do for businesses in terms of e-commerce and promotion,” Brady says. “And I found I really enjoyed it, so I invested in it and it paid off.”
When Brady started the business in March 2001, he was the sole employee designing an average of three Web sites a month. Since that time he has hired two part-time Web designers and two part-time graphic artists. Business has nearly quadrupled in the past year, Brady says.
“I’ve seen the business soar for me,” he says. “And I’ve seen many sleepless nights.”
The idea to start a company came at a time when Brady was on the verge of becoming president of the student government at SUNY College at Brockport. During his tenure as president, he also served as vice president of the board of directors of the Brockport Auxiliary Service Corp. and was a member of several committees and organizations on campus.
But despite once feeling as though there were not enough hours in the day, his experience with the organizations helped prepare him for the ins and outs of running his own company, especially in areas such as managing employees and handling budgets, Brady says.
Brady plans eventually to employ three full-time Web designers and would like to triple the company’s revenues to six figures in the next three to five years, he says.
Currently the business is relying on radio and word-of-mouth advertising to generate new business. Some 90 percent of the company’s business is through referrals, Brady says.
“If you do a good job, then customers will pass that along to others,” he says. “The highest compliment we can get is for someone to refer us.”
Brady rewards those who refer new clients to the company with a 10 percent referral fee. In addition, the company offers a discount to its non-profit customers. And while many of the larger Web design firms have substantial minimum fees, Brady says when he quotes a price he quotes for the number of hours that will be put into building the site.
“I’m not going to overcharge someone just because that’s what the perception of the market is,” he says.
Brady Solutions has recently teamed up with Macromedia Inc., whose software the company uses, to sponsor a collegiate Web design contest. The goal, Brady says, is to get the Brady Solutions name out there and entice people to log on to its Web site (www.bradysolutions.com).
While Brady Solutions has no one type of customer it targets, the company has a lot of small-business owners as clients, and Brady has seen an increase in the number of customers who work full-time jobs who have hobbies or side businesses they want to promote with a Web site. The company also does a lot of business for restaurants that are now offering menus, streaming video of their interiors and even reservations online.
In addition to its Web site design services, Brady Solutions offers various Web hosting packages and markets software to its customers. Designers also handle site updates and site conversions, what Brady calls Web site “face lifts.”
Brady also recently hired a part-time hardware expert to work in the company’s new hardware division. Clients with networking, memory and other hardware issues will be able to call Brady Solutions for hardware assistance and a technician will be available for on-site consultation and problem solving.
“It’s a completely new facet to the company,” Brady says. “One of our biggest goals is to save clients time and energy, and the hardware division was designed to do that.”
And while he has learned that time is a precious commodity in his business, Brady says he and his employees make the time to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, something that is crucial to keeping customers satisfied.
But perhaps the most important thing Brady Solutions offers its customers, he says, is service from start to finish, and beyond.
“What we offer is one-on-one interaction from site brainstorming until we launch a site,” he says. “My goal is to give clientele the feeling that we’re just a phone call away.”
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11/22/02 (C) Rochester Business Journal