Alex Asianov is the CEO of DOOR3 Business Applications, a company that helps business leaders understand how to put software to good use in their businesses by building web sites, phone and table applications, online products and internal structures to enable a business to be customer-focused and competitive in the marketplace.
(Photo courtesy of Alex Asianov)
What should a small business look for when considering hiring a technology company?
Business-focused. Software is not about technology. The software is about your business and yielding business results. Make sure that is at the heart of your technology partner firm’s approach.
Has high integrity. You can’t afford to have someone low-ball an estimate and then not be able to finish the job on a project you can actually afford. You need a technology partner firm who will have the courage of conviction to have hard, blunt conversations with you that will get you both down to what is realistic. The other thing is, as a small business, you may not have a management team with the skills to control what the technology partner firm does, and in that case, it is even more critical that the firm you choose be trustworthy.
Strategic. Most people think strategy is for the big guys, but the reality is that strategy is more important for smaller businesses that can’t afford to swing and miss multiple times.
Right-sized. No matter how small your business, you need to matter to your technology partner. So select a smaller firm with whom you won’t get lost in the shuffle while they primarily chase Fortune 500 clients, but don’t go too small. A garage band or an individual contractor from CraigsList may seem attractive on price, but they pose huge risks due to inexperience and the possibility that they may simply bill you for part of the work, realize they can’t finish the job due to lack of skill or misestimation and just disappear on you. It happens all the time.
Has the skills it takes to build modern software.
- Analysis: They know how to challenge you to provide detailed, specific and complete requirements. A casual conversation won’t do it.
- Design: They need to be able to show beautiful, highly usable solutions they designed in the past.
- Technology: They need to show a history of work that is as complex or more complex than what you are asking them to do.
- Quality Assurance Testing: They need to have a proven process for testing software before release. All software is initially built with some defects, so the ability to find and remediate those defects before the software is launched is key.
- Project Management: A software project, even a small one, is complex and needs to be managed. Make sure this is something the company does well.
This article was written by Robin D. Everson for Small Business Pulse