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To Outsource or Not?

Updated: Nov 12, 2018

When it Comes to Technology and Design Most Folks Tap Out and Hire a Pro. Should You?

The first versions of websites rolled out in the early 90s, when business was confined to a dimly lit corner of the web. A business's presence online was reliant on one of two factors: being a coding genius, or being rich enough to pay that coding genius to launch you into uncharted territory. Thankfully we've come a long way in 25 years and access to online business resources isn't reserved for the elite or geek-chic, and there's little left uncharted.

Today's business owners are faced with a plethora of choices on how to establish their online presence, including affordability. However, they can find themselves overwhelmed due to the amount of choices available to them, sometimes to the point of inaction; this term has been coined paralysis by analysis and is a pretty easy trap to fall into when starting up a business or introducing your business online for the first time. When in this stage, business owners either roll up their sleeves and strike out into that unknown, or they tap out and turn to the pros. Inevitably there will be at least one highbrow source (I'm talking about you, programmers) who insists that only a pricey developer with extensive training in HTML/XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript is qualified to make their business's site. Let me just clear the air once and for all: small and mid-size businesses often do not have the considerable production, technical and management demands that would necessitate such excess.

Does this mean I think every entrepreneur should try their hand at web design and SEO? Yes and no. I've yet to meet a small business owner who didn't at least try to do everything themselves, so why not try your hand at web presence, too? Here are a few points to consider when deciding on keeping your digital media management in-house, or outsourcing:

1. Building and running a business are time-consuming commitments all on their own.

You'll need to give yourself about 3-6 months for extensive learning just to get the basics

for producing and managing your own digital media. Do you have the time, and can you

take on the additional projects? You'll want to first focus on learning basic project

management processes, basic design principles, and then you're going to have to choose

your site's platform (and learn it). A quick Google search will give you top-rated hits. I'll

reserve my opinion on my personal favorites...at least until another time, but there are 4

major contenders for website builders, all learnable to the eager entrepreneur (again, IMO).

2. Do you have the resources needed to see projects through to completion? Web design

and SEO are detail-oriented and mechanical, and do require a certain amount of advanced

creative and critical thinking skills, as well as determined focus. And then there are the

material costs--do you have the displays and technology necessary? You don't need

cutting-edge tools to get you started, but do you need to be current with the standards and

willing to dedicate yourself to the learning in order to achieve a quality result in line with

your company image and standards.

3. You'll need to be able to apply what you've learned in an effective and meaningful way.

Don't jump in with excitement for a new business challenge without first planning for its

successes and failures. Take what you've learned and apply it for the life of

your business, building on that knowledge as you and your business grow. You'll be

bombarded with direct mail ads, ninja sales agents and consultants, and a general barrage

of "advice" and opinions; the more you know, the better informed your decisions will be

when facing changes and growth with your company. Know thyself, know thy business.

More and more business owners are positioning themselves as experts in their own brands by taking matters into their own hands. If you feel confident that you can meet these challenges then I would encourage you to try your hand at running your own digital media, and then training competent, invested employees. However, not every entrepreneur has the time, patience, or interest in learning this portion of their business. And that is when it's a no-brainer that a pro is the answer.