Unfortunately, the typical business owner makes a wrong, often-costly decision with this part of their business. Instead of using our spec-first approach, they wing it. Usually this begins by them calling some web programmers and saying “I want to build a website.” They meet with the programmers and some code is written. They review the code and ask for changes. They review the next version and ask for more changes. Repeat. Repeat. Each time they are asking for changes, the programmers are deleting code and/or rewriting it. There’s a lot of waste in this kind of “seat-of-the-pants” programming.
How do you build a dream house? Do you just throw carpenters, plumbers & electricians at a piece of land and have them wing it? Of course not! Do you tell that crew what you think you want, have them build up what they think they heard, review what they built and have them tear down what you don't like and build again… then review the revision(s) and have them tear down what you don't like and build again? Repeat. Repeat. “I don't like this wall here- tear it down"... "Tear out these windows and put in bigger ones"... "Now I don't want a second story"..."Now that I see the pool, I want it over here instead of where it is"... and so on. If you go that way, you'll waste a fortune and much time on all those "tear down and redo" steps. So how do you get the dream home you want at the lowest total cost? You FIRST get an architect to completely flesh out the detailed plans of exactly what you want BEFORE the crew lays a first brick. The plan gets the walls and the pool in the right place. The plan pins down the window sizes you want. The plan determines if there are 2 stories or one. Etc. It’s all finalized before the much more expensive builders begin to do their work.
The analogy of architecting a house FIRST and architecting a website FIRST is a good one. It makes little sense to just throw a programming team at building a loosely-defined website, review some pages and re-code what you don’t like, review revisions and re-code what you don’t like, etc. All that re-doing & re-coding is expensive. Instead, it is much more effective to architect your new website in full BEFORE coding begins. Not only can the programmers build your site as efficiently as possible but you can also plan future evolution so the code doesn’t lock you into a corner. Don’t waste all that money & time building your site the WRONG way.
Need another big reason to plan it out first? Our superior approach makes it possible to get programmers to quote a flat fee to develop the whole website as speced out. Besides knowing the total cost of development up front, the other big benefit is that this creates a huge natural incentive to get the site built exactly as requested in the shortest possible timetable. Getting this kind of job done precedes opening the Ecommerce floodgates, wooing visitors to become leads and motivating leads to become buyers. Time literally is money.
In our approach the time frame we quote is the time frame it takes; we always finish the whole job on time and on budget. In the alternative, the website development will always run much longer than necessary- always costing much more than the "do-it-themselves" client expected- sacrificing all of the launch revenue and customer-wowing opportunities they could have realized without the inevitable delays. The web services company frames such delays as the client's fault because the site is being designed on the fly. And they are right. Like any unplanned, just-wing-it project, the client is constantly asking for adjustments & changes to programmer guesses since the last review. This “making it up as we go” approach directly fuels the delays.
So why does the business owner or entrepreneur make the mistake of building without a detailed plan? They are often seduced by the apparently-cheaper, hourly rate. We’re able to quote a flat, fixed fee for the whole website. The “seat of the pants” programmers can only quote an hourly ratebecause they have no idea of how long an unplanned web coding project will take. Obviously the total price of anything will sound much larger than a hourly rate quote. But when the development timetable stretches out 2 or 3+ times longer than BI quoted, the entrepreneur eventually realizes they spent much more than the flat fee BI quoted up front. Their loss is actually threefold: 1) they spend too much in total, 2) they waste a lot of opportunity (time) to sell customers and grow their database by launching much later than they could have, and 3) the "seat of your pants" development model usually delivers a poorly-constructed website (too many band-aids) that will probably need an expensive overhaul in the short to medium-term. #3 is particularly painful as it basically means that up to all of the money spent in the first generation website design is largely wasted money. The "too many band-aids" website is usually easier to just toss out and start from scratch as opposed to trying to evolve from a haphazardly-constructed base of programming code when it's time to "do it right" (next time).
As we write this we have a couple of prospects who contacted us well over a year ago and for whom we quoted website development timetables of 3 to 5 months for their particular needs. They went with other talent and are still waiting for their sites to be finished. With BI, they would have launched over 14 months ago and enjoyed making money and growing their customer & lead databases since then. Instead, they're still waiting for the chance to start all that. That's how it consistently goes with the open-ended hourly or retainer-based programmer... which is why we devised our much smarter approach many years ago.