When Should Veterans Outsource The Tech Side Of Their Business | High Speed Low Drag Podcast

outsource techIt’s question time again! This podcast is dedicated to some questions asked by some High Speed Elite members- specifically about outsourcing and tech.

One of High Speed Elite’s members is currently having some tech issues. Here’s what she has to say:

“One of my biggest questions is what do I need to do or should I do about having someone run my site. Here’s why I ask- I have other things, moving parts that are part of running my business that makes it difficult for me to manage the website as well.”

This question is a really good one to ask as many entrepreneurs struggle with that line between how much tech can they handle themselves and what they should start to outsource and get help with.

Here’s our take on this:

Many people when starting a business think that it is just going to be an extension of doing what they love. However the reality is there are a lot of other things that are part of running a business that have absolutely nothing to do with what we love.

An example can be this- a baker that decides to make a bakery finds that she spends more than half the time not baking but attending to other parts of the business such as managing the business, running the numbers, doing the marketing stuff – basically stuff she doesn’t like.

This is what new entrepreneurs quickly find out. That a huge chunk of their time is actually spent being a business manager and web and tech are part of that. This is something that many do not really enjoy.

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One of the immediate things that I (Antonio) did for my business was hire a technical manager and make him part of his permanent team. This guy basically keeps the company running. He makes things happen. When things break down on the website, he is the go to guy.

  • The next question that entrepreneurs should ask is what should they look for in a tech guy?

The first logical thing to do is see if there is anyone in your network who is qualified to do the job. You can get on O desk, reach out to friends and family or get referrals from other people that you know.

You need to make the decision if it is worth bringing on a person for a set amount of money for them to help solve your tech problem. Aside from this, you may also need to research about tools. For instance, eCommerce SaaS Impact can significantly benefit a start-up by providing scalable infrastructure, streamlined operations.

  • Next, ask yourself- Is this even something that you are in a position to do- bring on somebody and put a little bit of your budget away for that person.

You also need to figure out if you want to hire somebody hourly- which may end up costing you lower.

Another option worth looking at is just hiring someone on a per project basis- maybe you’re the type of person who just needs someone to build the website. You can be looking at shelling out $2000 to $5000 for one time and be done with it.

  • How do you find this person?

networkOne of the advantages of being in a network of people that you trust is that you can immediately approach people who have had this problem before and have resolved it successfully.

A trusted resource can make an introduction or even give you a referral, which is ideally the way to go as it is probable that the resource already has experience working with this person.

A good tip to remember is you don’t have to know this trusted resource personally. You can easily go to a website that you like and send a quick email to the person who owns the site, asking him who the site’s creator is.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to ask. Looking at the footer of a website may sometimes yield answers as the design company will usually leave their signature at the bottom.

If you want to go the O desk or E-lance route, there are some advantages to doing so. You can search for people based on how much you’re willing to pay, or based on their portfolios or reviews from past clients

Once you decide to go into sites like Craigslist, be warned that things could get a little bit sketchy as it will be harder to see what these people have actually done. What you could do is open up an ad and set up a filtering system. Beyond that, you can also look locally which will allow you to not only deal with a smaller population but also allow you to meet said person in person. This has its advantages especially when you are holding them to a deadline, or trying to communicate your vision.

You may now be wondering about the fine line that was previously touched on. Where the fine line between taking on tech things yourself and deciding to hire someone?

The answer is truly dependent on the company and the business.

There are some businesses that can make a significant amount of money without needing a fancy website. If your business is of this nature, and you find that you can operate through email then by all means start simple. Just have a basic website, even just a single page that advertises your services and show where they can contact you.

If the basis of your business is the online world though then of course you would need to get a website up and running so that you can reach out to your online audience and potential customers.

As a general rule there should be three things that entrepreneurs should be wary of and even avoid. They are the 3 Fs namely- Free, friends and fairytales.

Be very careful of these things. Allow us to break it down.

  • Free- it is possible to find free services and options. Technically, WordPress is free and it is one of the best website platforms out there. But let’s say someone wants to work for you for free. The offer can be tempting but realize that nothing comes for free- there is always a cost.

Someone may want to work for free because they are still learning, or aren’t very organized, or still very slow. This person may come to a point where they ask themselves if it is worth doing something that pays the bills or doing something to gain experience, and that can be to your detriment.

If you ask us, it isn’t a good idea to take on all these “free” things. At the very least, shell out a minimal amount so that it becomes a priority for that person and the whole relationship is kept at a professional level.

  • entourageThis brings us to the second point of working with friends. Of course its nice when your business acquaintances eventually become your friends but if you go the opposite way of having a friend and wanting to make them your business partner then that could potentially spell out problems.

You want to value that friendship and with friends we can do sweetheart deals or make promises we can’t keep or we hire someone who may not be the best person for the job because he or she is our friend, and that can put you in a touch situation.

Unless your friend is the most qualified person for the position, avoid working with them!

  • The last one is fairytales. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. If someone tells you that something will be cheap, fast and good quality, it is probably not true. Most of the time, you will have to make a compromise and choose two.

As a last piece of advice, keep it simple especially when you’re just starting out. Don’t be too ambitious. You’re only giving yourself more problems if you try to make a website with all the bells and whistles.