For Port Washington resident Nancy Verdi, being a business owner runs in the family.
Verdi, owner of Hummingbird Web Design, said she learned what is was like to own a business from her parents, who opened a small retail business in Huntington Village.
“I watched both my parents take a risk and venture out to support four kids,” she said. “They weathered the storms of self-employment and could proudly say they built something from nothing. I witnessed first-hand their passion and dedication to succeed. I believe it was their hard work and courage that influences me to be the business owner that I am.”
After graduating with a degree in fine arts at SUNY New Paltz, Verdi worked at the Sheraton Hotel directly under the director of training and was responsible for designing protocols.
“One of the valuable things I learned at the Sheraton was to be very detail oriented,’’ she said, “and Sheraton’s whole thing was to exceed the customers’ expectations and that was one thing that I really carried through life and with my business now.”
In 1991, Verdi and her husband left their studio apartment in the city and moved to Port Washington, and she decided to take a break from working to raise her two children.
After her children went off to collage, Verdi said, she was ready to get back to work and do something creative using her artistic background.
“I gravitated towards web design, which was really good because it’s kind of creative and I’m all about helping the small business owners so I really have to utilize my managing skills and my service oriented skills,” Verdi said.
Verdi decided to take web design classes at Hofstra University to bring her up to speed, and get her ready to launch her own company from home.
“This type of business was kind of a no brainer for me, because I’m working from home so I didn’t have to invest a lot,” she said.
Verdi choose to name her company Hummingbird Web Designs to go along with her tag line, “helping small businesses fly.”
“I choose the hummingbird, not only because I love the bird but they’re small, they’re very savvy, very much like small business owners. I always thought it was appropriate,” she said.
Three years after starting the company, which she operates from her home in the village of Port Washington North, Verdi now works with a team that includes three programmers and three web designers. She currently has 18 clients.
“Little by little I’m growing, but the most important thing is to really build that team,” she said.
Her clients from Port Washington include the Port Washington Parks Conservancy, and her company is currently redesigning the website for the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District.
Verdi said her other clients include a fundraising website, hair dresser, travel agent, pediatric optometrist and more.
“They keep me very busy,” she said.
Verdi said most of her work is by referral.
“Every year it seems I have about 30 percent growth,” she said.
Hummingbird Web Design’s prices are $1,600 for the basic plan, $3,000 for a large website and $4,500 for an e-commerce larger website plan. Verdi said the average time it takes to build a website is a month, depending on the time it takes for clients to send her the needed content.
“Running my own business is a commitment, and the biggest thing was a fear of failing, but once you take on your customers you’re in business,” she said.
In the next few years, Verdi said she’d like to get a storefront somewhere in Port Washington and continue expanding the company.