Over the past four and a half years of being an independent contractor, I’ve been a part of over seventy web design projects. Most were an amazing experience and some tested my limits as a contractor and as a human being. But all in all, I learned a lot from an amazing collection of designers, developers and content writers.
For those projects that did not go according to plan, the small business owner always seemed to bear the majority of the burden when it came to stress. On one hand, I understand. This is their baby, their investment and their reputation on the line. But, I saw a consistent issue that seemed to be the root cause for the undue level of stress they were enduring. Communication…
Below are three important areas where I encourage clients to take note:
- Get the 411 before you sign away your soul
A couple of years ago, I made it a point to not work with any contractor who did not have the heart of a teacher. I had no desire to learn their trade, but I was tired of working with those who were not interested in sharing wisdom and helping me understand why they are doing certain things. It didn’t have anything to do with me not trusting them, but solely a desire to know what is coming next. (I’m a chronic planner and knowing what is around the corner cuts my stress level in half.)
Someone with the heart of a teacher will make the project and transition much easier. The team will know the project timeline and scope. The business owner will know their responsibilities and be informed of issues before they become a problem. They get satisfaction out of things operating smoothly and everyone being informed.
- Define the scope on your end first
Most small business owners expect us to define the scope for them. After all, that’s what we are being paid to do. But, there is wisdom in the business owner defining a detailed scope of their needs and expectations prior to the contractor and team setting the scope of the proposal.
Most projects that never get delivered fall victim to a break down in communication between the business owner and the service provider. Both think they know what is best and neither clearly defined those parameters before beginning work. So, halfway through we have a small skirmish that ends the relationship or causes the project budget to be shot to pieces.
The smoothest projects I have been a part of have been those where the business clearly defined goals and expectations in advance.
- “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”
Don’t be afraid to take charge and pick up the phone and ask for an update. Don’t expect every contractor and service provider to call daily to let you know where they are on the current milestone. Most of us do a stellar job of touching base, but don’t be afraid to hold our feet to the fire and ask questions whenever they arise. After all, this is your project, your budget and your business.