I wrote recently about what it takes to move your ideas forward from concept to reality. Part of that process, at some point, may involve moving some of the work out of your hands and bringing in outside help. The question of who you will need is not always obvious and it is not the same in every situation. Here are three different business configurations that will help you better understand who you need to hire to move forward.
If you have a small investment, say $5,000, it is hard to consider spending money for someone else to do the work. A freelance person will cost you on a daily basis, and anything more formal will be out of your reach. So at this stage, you will likely need to do the work on your own.
There are many tools today that can help you develop a simple, non-technical solution where you can create simple pages that you can connect to a mailing listso that you can test and begin to develop your concept. Even if you need to play around with some of the tools to ensure you are able to handle the initial work on your own, this will still be the more affordable option at this point in the development.
Once you have proven your concept and raised additional funds, say to the $20,000 mark, then you can consider adding freelance help. You do not have enough at this time to think about turning over development completely, but you do have enough to delegate parts of it or build a team of inexpensive freelancers who can each handle a small portion of the development.
Keep in mind that you should still be very involved, both in the actual work and in managing the freelancers to ensure they are moving forward. This is part of the “fake it until you make it” stage.
Once you have hit a target budget of around $50,000, then you can consider hiring a Web agency or someone permanent in-house to take over the development. If you opt for a Web agency, you may want to ensure that they understand the constraints of a startup, and that they understand agile methodology.
You also want to be sure you understand where their skill sets and expertise are. Understand that they will be more efficient and more productive doing something they have experience with, and that if they have already done something similar, they may have ideas to make your development better. Understand as well that a Web agency will provide a system of quality assurance that will help ensure your vision moves forward.
As is always the case, I recommend that you evaluate multiple Web agencies before you decide to move forward. You want to compare at least three, but no more than five. I wrote a post on my rules for choosing a provider which I encourage you to check out to help you find the right one for you.