I might know exactly what I need if I were to create a website for myself, but that’s because I’ve been working in the industry for just a tad under 10 years. What about someone that understands the value of a good website design or a business automation system but really doesn’t know where to start? It would be like me trying to figure out how to build a house. I may know what I want in it, but the finer details that will make it a great house may be completely lost on me (unless someone with experience helps). The interesting thing is that a lot of people assume that their lack of knowledge is somehow a bad thing. It’s not; just like it doesn’t make sense for the construction company to know how to build a web site, although they may need it.
In my opinion, the main focus should be on “what do I need to make my business better”. I say forget about the buzz words (a lot of them are important because they represent specific functionality or services, but not for this stage), the official proposal requests, and so on. The first step is to list out your objectives (as opposed to saying that you just want a ‘better site’). For example:
- My website’s design is outdated and therefore is not as affective of a marketing tool as I would like it to be
- I have a full time person managing my inventory levels between my main online store, my eBay store, and the warehouse. I need to automatically synchronize all three so I can stop spending money on a full time position.
- My company has high overhead costs for project management because we don’t have a centralized project management system.
If you need help with these, you can always hire an online business strategy consultant.
Once that list is ready, the next step would be to contact a website development / business automation company (hopefully us!) and see if they understand your needs and what the cost would be to do what you need done. Then compare that cost with what your expenses would be if you don’t do anything…it suddenly starts making a LOT of sense…