11 May Buzzwords like “Responsive”, “Mobile First”, “Social Integration” and “SEO” are often used. These are not just concepts or catch phrases!
Don’t get bamboozled with buzzwords! It might surprise you how many development firms latch on to trendy buzzwords and quickly build a product or service around them, with little or no practical experience. Today, some of the best examples would be buzzwords like “Responsive”, “Mobile First”, “Social Integration” and don’t forget the most popular buzzword of all “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization.) These are important concepts you should know if you want to succeed online. But ignore the buzzwords and look out for your bottom line!
Some of these companies are large, respected, well connected and amply funded. In such cases, the “grab current buzzwords and throw a product around them” strategy may pay off for them and for a handful of their clients. After all, they have the funding and connections to just “make it happen” for the prices they charge. Heck, they’re so hip they might even come up with their own buzzwords!
However, for most small business owners, we simply don’t run in “those circles” and seldom find the resources to invest with firms that can pull off a strategy like that. In today’s economy, our meager resources make it hard to gamble with new technology. So, we’re relegated to doing our own research on buzzwords, getting referrals from friends and associates or, in the worst of all cases, learning by getting ripped-off a time or two. If this line of thinking resonates with you, and you’re tired of buzzwords… read on!
As a small business, you can’t just sit on the sidelines with an outdated website and hope to compete. You need professionals to get it done and go beyond buzzwords.
But buyer beware! Scammers are everywhere and they might have even convinced themselves that they know what they’re doing. Those companies are the worst of the worst! As you will quickly learn, many businesses lack the “learning infrastructure” to keep up with today’s rapidly evolving Internet technology. Therefore, they rely on buzzwords to attract new customers and use them as guinea pigs to learn and test new theories or product offerings. I have a story that will outline this for you clearly…
A few years ago, having spent over 15 years in the business, I felt “burned out” from web development. So, I decided to try something new. I got involved in a non-web-related business and partnered with a local, well established company. As I came to know the owners, we developed a great working relationship. It wasn’t long before my technological prowess became evident and eventually evolved into a great asset for their company.
They are a family owned operation and I really enjoyed working with them. Being enthusiastic about Internet technology, I found myself happy to contribute time and talent to their operation. After all, it was my business too! Right? Well, sort of.
Actually, it only took me six weeks to develop all of the technology that I needed to run “my side” of the business. The next five years was spent building and managing their technological infrastructure (which was virtually non-existent before I showed up). Under the delusion that it was “for my business too”, I did much of the work for free or cheap. A fact that I would come to both regret and resent.
One lesson we should have all learned by now is that you get what you pay for. When people are taken advantage of in business relationship, nobody wins in the end!
Two years ago this fall, I sold “my side” of the business back to them. One year earlier we had begun a journey to create a new website and replace software I had written for them with a mobile-friendly, “cloud-based” solution. Once again, the situation called for me to invest time and effort in “my business” by building theirs. All with very little benefit to me.
It wasn’t long before I could no longer manage my business and build theirs in this situation. So, we began negotiations to “buy me out” so I could continue to work on their technology. This seemed to be a reasonable solution to both our problems. The “buyout” we reached was not what I had anticipated, and nobody was happy.
To me, the solution was obvious. Leave the contract for the new website application on the table and renegotiate terms after the “buyout” was complete. Although it was agreed upon, it never happened that way. Instead, the terms of the buyout (stretched out over a year) were held over my head as leverage. I can only assume in thinking they could bully me into continuing their web project at an unrealistic cost.
Now keep in mind, I really liked these people and I was heavily invested in getting their project done! But in the end, I was forced to “do the numbers” and realized that I could not continue to work for so little (you wouldn’t believe me if I told you!) They refused to renegotiate because, in their mind, they had already paid for it in the “buyout” – which was clearly nonsense on its face. So, what happened?
I was left with no choice but to abandon an awesome project close to 75% complete. Only to watch it flounder in the hands of some overrated “development firm”.
After nearly seven months and with costs at least four times higher than I would have charged people I didn’t like, they still have no viable product. And worse yet, the firm took what was beautifully complete (the public website) and turned it into an ugly Internet monstrosity. So now they get half the product, if it ever arrives, at four times the cost.
Why? For starters, you must remember that I had become an expert in their business field as well as already being one in application development. So the overrated development firm, although highly recommended by a “consultant”, didn’t know squat about the project. Secondly, even though they have a fancy office and know all the right “buzzwords” they lack the internal talent, knowledge and expertise to do what was originally promised.
Again, your first question may be “why?” How can this be? A well respected company that has many well known, happy clients and comes highly recommended by a professional consultant can’t get the job done? Really?!! Yes. Really. And I’ll tell you why… because of “the rules”:
You can’t get something done fast, right and cheap. All of those factors have to be in balance and you must employ people on the cutting edge of today’s technology.
Before this all starts sounding like just a bunch of “sour grapes”, let me say that I truly loved working with that client for over six years and I was deeply committed to their project. I would gladly take them back if they were willing to pay a reasonable rate for the work being done. In good business, everyone must win or nobody does. The challenge for any honest entrepreneur is to find a way to make that work.
In order to build anything that works, you must have the knowledge, skill and experience to solve the problem. The fact is that many, if not most, of the over-bloated web development firms and ad agencies out there are not nimble enough to keep up with today’s cutting edge technology. It simply moves too fast for them to navigate, so they resort to using buzzwords to win you over.
With emerging cloud technologies, mobile is rapidly becoming the new Internet and social media is the new marketplace. Knowing the buzzwords and what they actually mean can give you a distinct advantage. As a business owner, you have to be able to rise to that challenge and respond to changing market forces quickly and cost effectively. Choosing the right web developer is the first step in that direction.
At ButlerConsulting.com, you’ll know from your first consultation that RESPONSIVE, SOCIAL & SEO… AREN’T JUST BUZZWORDS To us, these are our second, third and fourth languages. In many respects they are our way of life. Meet with us once and you’ll know all the right questions to ask our competition. Meet with us a second time and you’ll never look elsewhere for your web solutions.