And I guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
Bob Seger was singing about the joys of youth and the travails of growing up when these words passed through his bearded lips, but in this particular lyric he might as well have been singing about you, the developer.
Let me explain.
Those drifter’s days are well past you now.
You have so much more to think about: deadlines and commitments; what to leave in; what to leave out.
Choosing the right road when there are oh-so-many to choose from is now oh-so-important, lest you lose your way like Seger’s protagonist and end up running — or in your case developing — against the wind.
The right road for any developer, as it is for anyone in any business venture, is the road to profitability.
This can never be overlooked, underappreciated, or sidestepped.
It’s a road paved with sober, prudent business decisions, which we know as well as you do can be particularly challenging in a development environment.
And it is a road far more easily traveled with the right partner running alongside you.
One of our objectives at Synthesis is to go above and beyond just hosting our customers’ sites. We don’t want to just make your site load faster; a lot of places can do that. We want to literally make you more profitable by aligning with us.
That’s right, we want to charge you more for hosting while simultaneously improving your bottom line.
And we can.
It’s all about understanding which direction the wind is blowing on that road to profitability and then running with it, not against it.
Definition of a Business Model
To travel with the wind on the road to profitability, it’s important to understand the many directions that gusts will come from, gusts that can easily knock you off course.
The reality of managing a site in production is dealing with hosting, security, plugin issues, and so much more. Add to this the reality of managing a business, which includes dealing with customers, managing cash flow, and an endless to-do list, and profitability can erode easily.
This is why having a well-defined business model is so important.
Whether your focus is small repeatable sites, large complex sites, design-centric sites, or functionality-centric sites, understand that one site outside of the model can kill profitability. This, in turn, often kills morale too.
It is not possible to be all things to all people. The key is to be the right things to the right people.
Define the intersection of what you do best and the most scalable opportunity. Then serve that customer base faithfully, reliably, and exclusively.
It is the optimal place to focus your time and energy, and it will — in turn — net the greatest profit over time.
Division of Labor
Two key components of profitability are time and cost management.
Time is the scarcest resource any of us have. Managing it effectively, so that we put our individual time towards the activities we do best and most efficiently, is imperative.
Costs are the insatiable devourers of profitability. They must be managed with precision, and continuous vigilance is necessary.
The best way to successfully execute effective time and cost management is with the right division of labor.
You do not need to hire people to do what you do best; that is where your time should be spent. But if you have a weakness in say design, or site development, or custom development of plugins, don’t waste time (and money) executing these tasks yourself.
A major part of our value proposition at Synthesis is managing tasks that our customers shouldn’t be managing so that they can focus on what they do best. You are not just paying to host your site. You are literally paying to run your business more effectively.
Hire to your weaknesses, finding proven providers who can deliver good to great results for a price that will not erode your profitability.
The Right Technology
This follows right in line with division of labor, as again it’s about time and cost; in this case it’s also about benefits.
Of course you need to define what tools are necessary. From hosting to platform all the way to your personal laptop and the chair you sit in, having the right tools goes a long way towards getting the job done right.
You can skimp on the tools, but beware of hidden costs that erode profitability down the line. If the wrong tool makes a task take more time or results in lesser quality, did you really recognize any value from the immediate cost savings?
This is where it is so important to think about benefits. Take premium WordPress theme frameworks, for example.
Why are so many developers fiercely loyal users of StudioPress and the Genesis Framework? Because so many benefits, both short-term and long-term, are delivered for the price.
Sure, a sleek, professionally designed theme is available at your fingertips. This is an obvious immediate benefit. But there are also less obvious benefits that provide ongoing value in the long run:
- You eliminate the need for many oft-used but unnecessary plugins.
- You receive phenomenal design support from experts who care.
- You optimize your WordPress site for speed and performance, since poorly written theme code is one of the biggest culprits of a slow site.
StudioPress is just one example of how the right technology can save time and money while delivering significant ongoing benefits. Another is, of course, hosting with Synthesis.
Making astute choices when it comes to technology is the fuel that keeps you moving on the road to profitability.
Maintenance and Growth
If you’ve defined your business plan and stuck to it, divided labor properly, and made astute technology choices, you are well on your way, cruising down the road to future profitability.
Maybe you have the top down, maybe Sam Cooke is playing on the radio, and maybe the ride is going so smoothly that you’ve even flipped on the cruise control.
Wait just a minute.
Yes, we all want our businesses to get to that point of cruising, but don’t relinquish the control.
You’re good at what you do now, but where is the world headed? Are you ready to adapt?
What is the next advancement that can further tune websites for performance? Where is design headed? What is the next security concern?
And how do you stay abreast of it all?
Partnering with the right people means having someone who is looking out for you and staying abreast of what you, perhaps, don’t have the time or inclination to keep up with.
At Synthesis, for example, we’ll roll out proactive updates that will make your sites go faster. We’ll preempt security concerns with aggressive safety measures. You’re staying abreast of all of these issues, by proxy, through us.
If you and your development team are not constantly learning and growing, you may find yourself like Bob Seger does at the end of “Against of the Wind”:
I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind.
The road to profitability is much more difficult to traverse against the wind than it is with it.
Instead, take these “secrets” that we’ve shared, turn them into mountains that you’ve moved, and let the long-term profitability of your business catch like a wildfire out of control.