Clarifying Consulting: For Those on the Fence About Investing in Web Consulting
In each of our “Clarifying Consulting” blog posts, we share wisdom and insights on the sometimes-unclear concept of website consulting. These insights come from Rob’s (our lead strategist) answers to common web consulting questions. Enjoy!
QUESTION: What are the most common types of problems expert website consulting can solve?
Most clients looking for expert web consulting come to us with a clear vision or a big idea and need help translating that into a clear action plan. Expert web consultants will take your big ideas and organize, prioritize and synthesize them into not just clear, concrete steps for moving forward, but a long-term roadmap for success. In other words, web consulting is the right solution for businesses that are clear about their online goals, but confused about how they should go about trying to get where they want to go.
QUESTION: Occasionally businesses that speak with us find themselves on the fence about whether or not they should invest in upfront website consulting. Some of them unfortunately choose not to invest in consulting, and end up opting to request proposals from a number of web companies instead. When businesses choose to skip upfront web consulting, what are some of the common challenges, problems, or roadblocks they are likely to run into?
First, we encourage everyone to shop around and experience what it's like to engage with multiple agencies before making a decision. That way, clients are able to choose the agency that’s truly the right fit for them; this allows a long-term relationship to develop, which creates far more value for everyone.
The pitfall of skipping the upfront website consulting process and simply requesting proposals from many agencies is that you're going to get a ton of disparate responses—different agencies will make different assumptions, recommend different approaches, etc.—and it will be very difficult to compare apples to apples.
When you do the upfront consulting or even create a full Website Blueprint with Followbright, you can feel confident that everyone involved (from the project manager to the CEO) agrees upon the same complete set of goals and requirements.
Another consequence when businesses skip upfront web consulting and instead opt to request proposals from a number of web agencies is that they get a bunch of agencies who send proposals without really paying attention to or putting a realistic proper amount of thought into the project.
Frankly, you will likely get a lot of boilerplate proposals with little more than your company name swapped out—and while that's not inherently a bad thing for simple projects, it's a terrible recipe for confusion and disappointment when there is a larger, more complex website project at hand.
We often see this type of situation turning into deep frustration, polarizing disagreements about scope and expectations, and a need for the agency to unexpectedly revise costs halfway through the project. Smart, strategic advance planning and web consulting upfront goes a long way to preventing this type of disaster.