November 14, 2019
There are millions of PHP developers out there. Some of them specialize in e-commerce website development using e-commerce platforms like Magento. If you Google "Magento expert” you will get 14 million results—yet there are just over 12,000 Magento-certified individuals across 450+ solution partners. The reason there are so few companies and agencies that reach partner level is because it isn’t easy. But why would you want to partner in the first place?
According to Adobe, “Magento partners play a key role in helping organizations—both big and small—succeed." By partnering with Magento, a software development company becomes a trusted vendor entitled to help Magento customers transform and grow their business.
After learning the programming language, some PHP programmers pursue purely PHP projects, others use frameworks like Magento. Our path took us from a web site development agency to Magento Business Solution Partner—an achievement that reflects our commitment to the Magento platform since the founding of our company over nine years ago.
As expected for a leading eCommerce platform, there is huge competition between agencies for Magento projects. What will distinguish you from other companies? The biggest trust factor for someone looking for Magento experts will be Magento certification and Magento partnership.
We looked back at the path we took to highlight the five points that transformed our business and may help you transform yours.
1. Give back to the eCommerce community
We found out about the Community Insider Program when it was first introduced in 2018. The program gives individual developers and small agencies that don’t yet qualify for the partner program the opportunity to start a formal relationship with Magento. Becoming a Community Insider comes with many of the same partner benefits including learning how to work with Magento and ways to grow your Magento business practices.
Before the program was introduced in 2018, we had already been involved in the Magento community. There’s a reason open-source software is so popular among programmers—you get what you collectively put in.
Giving back to the Magento community through the Magento Community Engineering team is how we chose to make an impact. So in 2018, we put our best foot forward and started churning out pull requests. Thanks to the strong team of developers we had assembled, we became the #1 Community Insider Contributor of the Year and our senior developer, Serhii Mutaf, who ranked first among all contributors, played a crucial role in developing The Magento 2 Multi-Source Inventory module for Magento 2.3. We continue to contribute to this day, and our short-term plans are to focus on improving Magento Progressive Web Apps.
Being in the Community Insider Program grants us access to Magento Commerce source code and a Cloud sandbox environment. This is why we would recommend anyone pursuing a Magento partnership to get started with the Community Insider Program. It’s one of the best ways to gain intimate knowledge of Magento. As a bonus, when you proactively give back, you’re helping out your colleagues—and of course, end-users will benefit from the new tech and business capabilities you help create.
Once you get a handle on Magento, you can start sharing your knowledge. We became a driver of change locally in our R&D location in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, where we organize Magento Contribution Days dedicated to bringing together the best of the best Magento experts from Ukraine and abroad.
Another way to pass on your expertise and skills is by creating your own mini Magento University. We chose to offer hands-on, free frontend and backend Magento courses—which is also a great recruitment tool to hire the best course graduates.
2. Focus on Magento
To be everywhere is to be nowhere.” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Elogic was a jack of all trades web studio that took on all sorts of projects—mostly for small business owners. At a certain point, it became clear that to excel and reach expert level, we had to start focusing. We chose e-commerce and the platform we felt would offer the best possibilities of future growth was Magento.
Magento is open-source, it evolves and adapts to emerging technologies, and is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. It is perfectly aligned with our mission—transform retail brands into e-commerce leaders.
3. Become certified
Before you can get certified, you need to have a certain level of Magento knowledge as well as domain expertise in e-commerce. Magento offers study guides and study groups, which makes the process easier.
Like a high school or university diploma, Magento certification is a measuring stick for your skillset. It’s also something you can show to clients (and they can check for themselves in the Magento certification directory) to put their minds at ease. Apart from the obvious benefits for your business, to apply for the Magento partner program you need to have a certain number of certified developers (depending on the tier), among other things.
If you’re looking to join the partner program, get as many of your developers certified as possible. The most important takeaway is if you have certified developers, you have a major advantage—Magento’s mark of excellence—which translates as trust for your clients and shows that you’re a true Magento expert.
4. Plan for the future
Runners who complete marathons often suffer from so-called post-marathon blues. Essentially, a temporary state of depression that occurs when they’ve trained long and hard to reach their goal, and upon completing that goal, they feel that they’ve reached the pinnacle of endurance running. But there’s always a longer-distance race. You can always go a step further, a step higher, and you can always get better.
In our case, we understood from the get-go that we wanted to keep reaching new levels of expertise and success. Once you reach a goal—having a certain amount of certified developers or becoming a Solution Partner—there’s always room to grow. Even if you reach the highest tier (Magento Global Elite Solution Partner), you can continue to expand your Magento expertise by taking on more complex projects and never settling for average results.
Create a goal and once you achieve it, create another goal. We followed this path and became a Magento Business Solution Partner. To paraphrase the former Navy Seal and ultramarathon runner, David Goggins, our new goal is to become “uncommon amongst uncommon Magento development agencies.”
5. Enjoy the ride
Over the years, we have become more and more immersed in Magento—both in organizing contribution days and attending Magento community events. We encourage our team members to contribute, which means we have an intimate knowledge of the platform and this is one of the reasons clients choose us over competitors. Just in the past year, we’ve seen a 35% growth in revenue.
What we accomplished isn’t unique—and it’s repeatable. And while the path is hard, the results are rewarding. We’re proud to call ourselves a Magento partner and we continue to promote the platform locally with knowledge transfer programs and contribution days, and we expand our network of partners by attending Magento and Adobe conferences and events.
We are excited for the new heights we’ll achieve in 2020. What will you tackle next? How will you evolve and hone your skills?