All businesses rely on technology in one way or the other. Whether you need to build a website, sell your products online, set up a network, computer or just a printer.
For many entrepreneurs, taking on a tech project can be quite intimidating. But it shouldn’t be this way. At the end of the day, technology – even though it has got pretty sophisticated – started off with addressing a simple need – making our lives easier.
As a web technologist when I meet non tech-savvy entrepreneurs, often the questions are something along the lines of: “I need to build this website for my business, and I have no idea how to go about it? How much will it cost, how long will it take, what kind of technology should I build it on?”
Take a deep breath, don’t panic, you’re not alone. Below are tips which can help you:
Keep it simple
If an idea is too complicated, it will be very difficult to explain it to someone and get them to build it for you. Remember you’re not building a space rocket. If your project is too complex you probably should revisit your idea and break it down into smaller parts. Take a step back and think about what are the main two or three things you want to achieve when you go online.
Remember, a piece of software should be simple, or else it’s doomed to become a “Frankenstein” project – not pretty, and really difficult to manage and scale.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. You have to envision what you want your project to look like a year or two from now. Having a road map helps not just your project but also the web developer building it. Make the right decisions by thinking long term while setting up the foundations of your presence online. You can’t build a sky scraper on a flimsy foundation. At the same time, you don’t have to build all 100 floors in one go either.
So many options, such little time
Keep in mind there’s never really just one “right” method for what you need to build. At times the best solution has a lot to do with what kind of resources you have at hand or what you feel most comfortable with. By resources, I mean mostly people or web developers in our case. If you happen to know good PHP (a programming language) developers – you trust them, you feel the communication is smooth and efficient, PHP is your choice. Done!
It doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Hello, barter deals!
You own a small boutique hotel and you want to build a website for your business? I am sure your web developer wouldn’t mind working from the pool area, which you can offer at cost price, in exchange for a few thousand lines of code.
There’s no need to re-invent the wheel
For any need you have, someone has most likely provided a solution already. You need to build a blog but the only code you know, is Da Vinci’s Code? No problem, WordPress (the world’s most popular blogging platform) comes to the rescue. You can launch your blog, without writing a single line of code in five minutes.
Give your web developer(s) some space, but be part of the process
Technologists can – and should – be creative individuals. No piece of software is same as any other and there are always new problems a technologist will face. Don’t micro manage your developer(s). This is not where your strengths lie, or you would be building your website yourself.
However do make sure you stay on top of any development process, with a focus on the big picture and the business requirements. Ideally you should communicate with your developer(s) on a daily basis, just to make sure there are no false assumptions as for what he/she thinks needs to be built. The more often the sense check, the less time and effort wasted if the project gets sidetracked. Don’t make the common mistake of assigning a project to someone, and only check weeks or months after, what the result is. Keep a short feedback cycle.