NFIB/NY recently toured the new FreshySites Web Design offices in Binghamton, NY, which can be described as…well, fresh! With bright green walls and lots of natural sunlight, FreshySites has a cheery aesthetic and houses a dedicated team of 15 creative and talented employees. The award-winning website design team, led by founder Ben Giordano, has been described by clients as “a breath of fresh air,” “on top of every detail,” and “receptive to needs.”
In line with the ethos of FreshySites, Ben Giordano, said, “At FreshySites, we pride ourselves on best-in-industry customer service. We don’t just say we’re the best in customer support, we actually practice this on a daily basis. Each employee is essential in generating this culture and mindset throughout the company. We also pride ourselves on our extremely thorough process that drives our design and development work to a higher level and helps us to create thoughtful, beautiful websites each day.”
When was your business founded? How did you become a small business owner?
Throughout my professional career, I’ve been involved in many technology-focused businesses including facilities management consulting, internet and data marketing, and digital agency services, but none of those were a business I could call my own. That led me to found FreshySites Website Design and Development Studio in 2011 in Binghamton. Since inception, FreshySites has grown exponentially into the largest in-house WordPress focused web design shop on the East Coast. FreshySites also holds the title for the largest website design and development studio in Upstate NY for the past two years running.
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a small business owner?
I think the administrative overhead that comes with running a small business (that has nothing to do with the web design services we provide), such as staffing management, HR decisions – setting up benefits plans for example – is definitely the biggest challenge I face as a small business owner.
What surprises have you encountered as a small business owner?
Everyone, especially in our local community, has been more supportive than I assumed, or thought, they would be, which has been really cool. People in our local business community are just super excited to see what FreshySites is doing. They love the company and see us as one of these ‘shining lights’ that show there is hope in our area’s growth and success, which is great to hear.
What has helped your business grow? Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs or future small business leaders?
Keep it simple is what I always tell people. Waking up every day and answering 300 emails a day, responding to people in 5 or 10 minutes and turning around proposals in the same day – just being very attentive to customers every single day for six years is what has helped FreshySites grow and succeed.
It’s all about fundamentals – answer your phone calls, answer your emails, treat people with respect, don’t rip people off and do a good job for as long as possible. Those are the keys to success.
How are you involved in the community? What activities or organizations do you support?
I was recently on the Leadership Committee, Marketing Committee and Professional Development Committee of the United Way Emerging Leaders Society. I’m currently in the Sertoma Club and am on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Metro-Interfaith Housing Management Company, which donates services to a bunch of local non-profits like the opera, the rotary club, various churches, etc.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what is the best advice he/she offered you?
I’ve had a couple of mentors along the way that I really look up to. They’re all super generous and a lot of them are our clients too, which is really cool. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten over the years is: ‘What’s your hurry? Think more long-term and don’t try to do it all so quickly,’ basically that it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. Also, ‘Go with what your strengths are.’ If you find there’s something you’re doing really well then focus more on following that direction than on other directions. Don’t wear yourself too thin. Be really good at a few things.
Why did you join NFIB?
NFIB seems like a really great organization that has a really great mission and a lot of strength in the small business community. I believe in the work they’re doing and want to support them in any way I, and FreshySites, can.
In what ways has NFIB helped your business?
NFIB represents FreshySites’ interests in ways we wouldn’t be able to and allows our voice to be heard. They work as this amplifier in the greater small business community to voice our concerns, needs, and successes to help us elevate that messaging to the proper level.
NFIB also helps us to see that we’re not alone here and that there are other people who are dealing with all the same things, which offers us a forum to work together as a group.