When Ben Fjare’s post-college employment plan blew up – literally – a conversation with his neighbor at a cookout helped begin the duo’s journey from a two-person design firm to a successful operation managing more than 50 websites across 26 states.
Fjare had worked at a bar through college, but a gas leak at the establishment shortly before graduation removed any chance for him to ease his way into the workforce with a back-up job. So, when discussing potential freelance opportunities with his neighbor, Gregg Alexander, the two decided to form their own web design, print and branding agency.
To get started, they both knew they needed an easy-to-use platform that wouldn’t require significant developer skills. They found it with LightCMS.
“I knew content management systems moderately well, but what I really loved about LightCMS was the fact that it didn’t require any programming knowledge,” Fjare said. “LightCMS provided me with the ability to create dynamic websites efficiently and allowed us to get into the web game without having to hire a developer for $60,000+ a year. We were able to create custom web design projects without a huge development team.”
Alexander and Fjare started out by designing websites for small businesses. Their company has steadily grown and evolved into Prime Inc., a Bozeman, Montana-based business with seven employees and customers ranging from makers of whiskey and champagne to a Seattle company selling plumbing supplies.
“With our first job, which was a big one at the time, I tested out LightCMS and quickly realized it gave me the opportunity to easily do everything I wanted to do,” Alexander said. “We built and grew our business on LightCMS.”
As Prime Inc. has evolved, so too has LightCMS. Features that Alexander and Fjare wished for were regularly added to the platform.
“The biggest one by far was ecommerce,” Fjare said. “That opened up a whole new world for us and our clients. That addition allowed us to deliver a dynamic website with ecommerce functionality all on a single platform.”
Moving from tricky Foxycart or Shopify integrations which required multiple log-ins to a single LightCMS interface that did it all simplified the experience for Prime’s clients considerably. And a simple, easy to use experience has always been one of the chief benefits of LightCMS for Prime.
“Clients say, ‘I want to have a blog in my plan,’ and we can give that to them. We have every feature they need in a single package and that’s something they don’t see coming,” Alexander said. “Do you want to see a client’s eyes light up? Show them how LightCMS lets them drag and drop photos from their desktop to their website. That’s really fun to see.”
LightCMS has allowed Prime to expand its business in other ways as well. With PrimeWorx, Prime is leveraging the LightCMS Developer Program and maintaining a tie to its origins in creating websites for small businesses with LightCMS managing the infrastructure.
“It lets us keep a foothold in a market where people can’t afford $5,000 to $10,000 websites,” Alexander said. “It allows us to build well-designed sites that people can get into for $500-$1,000. We can service businesses with smaller budgets while maintaining a lower overhead.”
The time saving benefits of LightCMS allow the owners and employees at Prime to maintain a comfortable work-life balance and to enjoy the benefits of living in Bozeman, Montana.
“People move to Montana for the recreational activities,” Alexander said. “Having LightCMS allows us to go play and enjoy the Montana lifestyle. That’s important.”
It’s also given them the freedom to determine their own path.
“This system allowed me to be a business owner at 23 and a successful business owner at 28,” Fjare said. “That’s a tribute to a lot of things, but it wouldn’t have happened without a system like LightCMS.”