Small Business Financing: Tips for Compromising with Web Developers
Most small business owners have websites, and if they don’t they really should have one. However, this doesn’t mean that every single business owner is going to be a master web developer. More often than not, you are going to have to loan time to work with a remote group of web developers who you will communicate with either over the phone, skype or through emails and a ticket system. For laymen who don’t really understand coding, communicating what they want from developers can be stressful and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. While sometimes problems arise because the development house that you are working with is not on par with your expectations or downright unprofessional, most of the time developers actually want to have more, clearer communication with their clients instead of the opposite as it helps them deliver faster and save time. In order for business owners to ensure that they are getting all of the value they are paying for, here are some tips that they can use to promote quality relationships with their remote web developers.
Be extremely clear about what you want, and use screenshots and examples. Part of the challenge of conveying a creative concept that has to be incorporated into a functioning design is actually getting across what they mean in a way that their coders can understand. First, loan yourself enough time to clearly write out what bullet points each project needs to hit, such as cost, certain key functions like application fields or blogs, and the need for a content management system that they understand how to use to make simple changes to copy and images. Screenshots of similar websites or with arrows pointing to problem areas can help, as visual information is a powerful tool for communicating especially if there is a language barrier.
If there are cost issues, have the developers break them down in an itemized fashion. So you have told the developers what your budget is, and they are saying that they cannot work for that amount and will need to compromise with you. Asking for an itemized receipt that you can use to identify where you can re-allocate your resources is one way that you can try to understand where your budget is being deployed. Be understanding with your developers, especially since there may be more technical aspects to a problem than you understand. If you think that your costs are too high, you can always consult another professional who you trust. Obviously, depending on the developing house you work with, costs will vary. Try to hit a good balance of cost and quality. Too cheap, and you may be stuck having paid for something that does not deliver the functionality you actually need. Most developers will be willing to work with you within the budget that you specify, but be aware that sometimes they will tell you straight that your budget is unrealistic so you have to be prepared to work around that and create a solution that you are comfortable with.
Try to get some face time if you really need it. Even a Skype meeting or a phone call can go a long way towards clearing up confusion surrounding development projects. If you are unsatisfied with results, then you should calmly go over what is wrong with your project leader. Don’t get too emotional or accusatory right out of the gate, because there is a good possibility that a breakdown in communications occurred from start to end result. The key to successfully working with remote developers is regularly checking up, asking to see progress as it is made, and being willing to really listen when constraints come up and work with the developers to find a solution that makes sense.
If the relationship is not working, then find one that does. At a certain point, if the relationship that you have with your developers is soured and you don’t trust that they are capable of delivering the work you want them to, don’t let the fact that they are remote dissuade you from taking decisive action towards finding a house that you work well with. In particular, working with developers who are in your area that you have the option of seeing face to face can help keep them accountable as they take care of your major digital projects.
Photo Credit to Marissa Anderson on Flickr