Post by Roger Hurni – My director of interactive, Anthony Helmstetter, just came out of a meeting with a potential client who is having some website development issues. When I asked him what they were experiencing, he described a situation many of us are familiar with. The project started off with no budget, but they didn’t want to spend a lot of money even though they couldn’t define a specific budget. They wanted “off-the-shelf” technology that is easy to use and proven. This included a CMS that would allow them to make changes, but admitted they would rarely use. They hired another company that made promises, blew their budget, then tried free web software to get the site back on track, only for the client to find themselves six months behind schedule and trying to polish a turd of a website.

It dawned on me how many companies we come across that are in some stage of this kind of fiasco. And the answer to avoiding this situation came to me in the from of the shoes my wife Joanne buys. Or used to buy, to be specific. You see, like most women, Joanne loves to buy shoes. The problem is she always tries to choose the most practical path to purchasing them. Then, she rationalizes the purchase of an inexpensive pair of shoes by saying to herself,“these are only for special situations and I won’t be wearing them much,” or, “they were on sale at 60% off and I saved us money.” Sometimes, she reasons, “I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that will mostly just sit on a shelf.” You get the idea –she’s buying cheap to get more. Or so she thinks. Inevitably, when she finally wears a pair, she complains about her feet hurting 20 minutes later, followed by a comment like, “these are the worst shoes, and I won’t wear them again. I’m going back to the store to buy the other pair I saw that was $75 more.”

Here’s my point: instead of trying to save money by buying pair of shoes for $60 only to go back later to purchase a better pair for $150, I always tell her to just buy the pair for $150 from the start and save us $60 and a headache. Many website projects I see take the exact same approach. So if you want to really save money, try starting with a realistic budget that isn’t necessarily the cheapest option, knowing it brings quality people and technology appropriate for your goals. It’s your business for Pete’s sake, so make it an investment in it. You’ll be far better off in the end, and your feet won’t have to suffer through another bad pair of shoes. 

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