My father is a carpenter. His father and his father were carpenters. It's in the blood - except it skipped me altogether. My father is more of a fine artist whose finish work is in such high demand there's usually a waiting list to get him to work on a project.
I had a problem. I had a cracked window on the second floor of my 110 year old house. The glass was diamond shaped, had been inserted from the outside, and the window was part of the framing of the wall. Someone built a house next to mine in the last 110 years, so we couldn't place a ladder to get to the window outside. in less than 30 minutes my dad disassembled the wall, pulled the window out, replaced the glass with Lexan, and put it back together again. Could I have done it myself? no way.
Can you go out and spend $90 on a software package and create your own web site without learning and HTML, CSS, or optimization strategies? Sure. You can also spend all your money on an expensive firm who will build you a whiz-bang web site, but you'll go bankrupt in the process. For most of us the solution is in the middle.
Whoever created the following diagram is a genius:
This diagram is meant to help you think about three competing priorities in any project - quality, speed, and price (good, fast, cheap). You place a dot inside the triangle to help you define your priorities and what you're willing to sacrifice.
If you place a dot all the way in the cheap corner, you move away from good and fast. Your $90 dollar web site is going to eat up a lot of your time and still be crappy. If you place a dot close to the edge between good and fast - you know the project won't be cheap.
Again, this is about your priorities. You can still spend a lot of money and time on something and get a low quality product. There are some things that are good and cheap - but very few.
The main benefit of an expert is quality, followed by time. Experts tend to be expensive. As a marketing coach I am not cheap but, if I am able multiply my clients profits in a very short period of time - I'm worth it.
One of my clients is a lawyer who specializes in technology contract law - a very specialized field that is constantly changing. One of his clients originally hired a Harvard law student to draft a contract using all boilerplate language. It was cheap and fast, and Harvard students are no dummies. My client now has a major rewrite on his hands because the boilerplate language didn't take the many things into account that an expert would easily catch.
One thing I've learned is that you always hire a lawyer who specializes in what you need in the same way you don't go to a foot doctor when you need a cardiologist.
Small businesses always need to manage costs, but sometimes using the right expert in the beginning can help you avoid costly mistakes. I once had a summer job taking customer service calls for Sears. Most calls were for people needing service on their appliances. A good portion of the calls came from women whose husbands had disassembled some appliance to try to fix it, but had then made it worse requiring more expensive service.
Time is a commodity as well as money. I always like to consider my hourly rate when I have a task to do. For example, I had some landscaping that cost me around $200. It would have taken me all day to do it while I could have been earning many times more than $200. It just wasn't worth it for me to do the job myself.
Think about the chart above, and think about what your time is worth the next time you are considering getting an expert to help you.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet