Starting your own small business

Karsten Rowe Harrogate web design agency photo of office.

A few simple steps and tools to get your business up and running and visible on the web.

The motivation to write this post is mainly the result of a conversation with a good friend in the pub …

“I have this great business idea but I’m not sure how to get it off the ground. Where should I start?”

This is what we’d recommend

Validate your business idea

  • Do not start a business to get rich, it’s a long game, it needs to be something your passionate about.
  • What does your business do in two paragraphs? Practise that elevator pitch.
  • Do market research – who are your competition and how is your proposition unique?
  • How much money will the business generate in its first 3 months, 6 months, 12 months?
  • Who will do the work? What skills are required?

Name your business

Name generation and having the confidence to settle on a name is hard, as rebrands can be expensive.

We decided on Karsten Rowe – it’s a bit dull (I know) but it won’t change. It’s my name. It’s a unique name and is loose enough to allow for flexibility. In 20 years time I might decide to design furniture or to move away from design completely. That’s why I shied away from names such as KR Web Design. Karsten Rowe is more vague but it has longevity. The inspiration was brands like Paul Smith, Fred Perry, Norman Foster, … The important thing is that we’re happy with the name.

Purchase your domain, hosting and email

Purchase your domain name (, hosting and email to look professional and credible.

Your desired domain name may not be available or might be very expensive. We originally wanted to be called Karsten but is owned by the golf brand Ping.

My preference is always a .com rather than a A rememberable, preferably easy to spell domain name is important so weigh this up when deciding on your company name.

I’d generally recommend GoDaddy – relatively easy to use, a competitive price, solid documentation, performance and support.

Embrace Google

We use Google to manage most things – email, calendar, documents, contacts, analytics, digital advertising … This allows the team to collaborate and have everything in sync.

Design a simple logo and website

  • Find a designer you trust.
  • Be open with your budget and schedule.
  • Agree success criteria.
  • Start small, your brand and website should evolve over time, it will never be perfect.
  • Launch version 1 of the website quickly.
  • Schedule a post launch review.


  • Google Adwords Express makes it super simple to advertise on Google.
  • Have fun with social media.
  • Build a email newsletter list and send your first campaign using MailChimp.
  • Print some posh business cards with Moo.
  • Continue to iterate and improve.

Karsten Rowe signature.

Published by Karsten Rowe

Karsten is a Product Design Director, with over 15 years of industry history. Based in Seattle. Focused on teams, UI, UX, and design systems.