Volodymyr Buzkiv: 'In 2019 a web-studio cannot bring a reasonable profit unless it is open to an Asian market'

By Eric Hamilton , Jul 13, 2019 04:54 PM EDT

CEO of the largest Ukrainian web studio talking about business and entering the Asian market.

Hello, Volodymyr! Thank you for your willingness to get together and answer our questions! We've got a lot of them, but we have to stay within our format. First of all, please tell us how did your web-studio with such a fancy name "Mahaon" became known in the market?

Hi! We began to accept and process our first orders in 2012. Like many others we started by tackling small projects and we were not very experienced in web-design. At that time our team consisted of three people. I believe many businesses of a similar type have a common beginning - when you realize that you have to be constantly evolving but you kind of do not know how to succeed (laughing).Fortunately, we have successfully passed this stage and at the moment the Machaon staff has grown many times, today being one of the largest teams of professionals in the market working within the framework of one business. The list of services that we provide to our clients is constantly expanding: at the moment these are complex works on creation, promotion and technical support of sites, as well as services, which are not very typical for most web studios, to support the client's activities in the areas of taxation and finance.Taking such a direction in our business allowed us to show the largest annual revenue among competitors for three years in a row.

The majority of potential clients are usually concerned about how much the services might cost. In what segment of the market have you established yourselves?

Today we mostly work in the mid to high budget category. The majority of our web-design projects are individualized and go through all stages: from the developing of the basic concepts of the websites to the farther technical support. The prices vary, but there is a calculator on our website, so that those who are interested may get an idea of our price range. 

There are some automated web starters where a person can find a variety of web design templates. It actually looks pretty good and quite inexpensive. Might they be your competitors? 

Given that our clients are medium and large businesses, most constructs for making web sites cannot be our rivals or competitors.  Some of the automation and templates may be a good means for decreasing the price of a website. But for a growing business with a plan to develop and earn money, an attempt to save at such a crucial step is not a wise decision. Fortunately, people who hire us understand the importance of a well functioning website and they come to us not only for a quality product but also because of our many years of experience.  

That's fair! Can you then share what you think would be the best parameters for developing a successful website today?

Technical optimization, usability, contemporary design, and adaptability are the main qualities without which one cannot imagine a well made website. In other words, a website should have a contemporary look, be comfortable to use and work smoothly on any type of device. 

 What are the hardest issues to negotiate with your potential clients?

Promotion. People do not grasp the mechanics of this process. For the majority the fact that the first visible result will occur in three to five months is too long of a wait. It motivates us to show analogies and be very detailed describing the process.

What are the arguments to convince your clients?

Any attempt to convince a client will come to the basics of trust or mistrust to the people who will do the job. Here we have many years of experience and a portfolio with many positive reviews from our former customers. 

 It is interesting that last year we entered the Asian market by completing about a dozen projects for Asian companies, many of which are coming back to us seeking advice and consultation about working in the European market. Asian customers realize that it is necessary to invest in a good web site for the promotion of their products. I believe it happens this way because businesses were formed in a competitive environment and as a result they fully understand that without an active promotion there will be no adequate growth. By contrast, our local businesses prefer free resources for their promotion which I believe are unreliable and thus unacceptable in 2019.

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