The Challenges of Running an Online Business: A Non-Techie Perspective

As someone with a limited IT background running an online business, I can attest to the fact that while it is rewarding, there are also a number of unique challenges involved.

The first and probably largest challenge is finding a developer who you trust. In essence the developer holds the key to the success or failure of your business. One way to establish this trust is to get references. Who has the developer worked with before and what kind of relationships do they have with their previous clients? The next important step towards establishing trust is a strong contractual agreement. Let the developer know what you expect of him/her and what they in turn should expect from you. Relevant points to address are: which programming language is going to be used? are there particular compatibility issues to be addressed? who owns the source code? The last question is particularly relevant if you want to be able to hold all the rights to your website, especially if you consider it to be a unique product.

Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not the developer is able to translate your vision into the appropriate technology. Are you able to communicate effectively with him/her? Along with understanding your vision comes patience, on both sides. Is the developer willing to take the time to understand what you want, and keep making the necessary changes until this is achieved? Considering your background as a non-techie, do they have the patience to entertain your questions and concerns (which to them, given their knowledge, may seem trivial)?

Last but definitely not least, educate yourself. Do a simple Google search of relevant terms such as programming languages and how to build a website. Being educated about the process helps you to ask more informed questions and understand the demands you put on the developer. 

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