Becoming the Middle Man: The Client, You & Your Team.
by: Anthony Jewell
Becoming a middle man in any situation is tough. It is especially hard when you are dealing with your clients on one side and your team on the other. It sometimes can be a tough act to juggle, but it can definitely be rewarding and help you expand your business as well as your client base. Though with everything good there are always headaches to come along with it. Missing information, missed deadlines and not being able to contact your team can leave your clients in a bad situation. It also can leave you in a very bad position as your hands are basically tied until you hear from your programming team.
This sometimes is the unfortunate situation we get ourselves into when the people we work with can not be trusted. This is not to say that there aren't some good outsourcing teams out there, but no matter how good they are you will always have one bad project. Sometimes it will be your development teams fault, your clients fault or your own fault. Not matter whose fault it is, you will be the one caught in the middle. Hence the name "Middle Man".
Delays in projects can come from something as simple as a mis-understanding. Which is why having phone contact with your clients can be essential to clear up some issues. If this is the case then you will be able to clear it up quickly. Though remember if you do work from home and give your home number out it may feel that you are on call 24/7. Your client probably will expect you to pick up every time and if your client is a few time zones away they may be calling you when you are trying to get your beauty sleep. A second number or cell phone number is always best to have. Also another good thing to have on your phone is a voice mail service.
If the delay comes on the side of your development team it can be a whole other problem. This can be caused by a few things:
1. They are just delayed in the project and will have it done soon.(Yes this doesn't sound too bad and you should cut them some slack, but this usually isn't the case).
2. They took on more then they can handle. The project is too complex or big.
3. They have to many projects on the go right now.
4. They are being outsourced to and then they are outsourcing your project as well.
Anyone of these issues can cause small delays in your project. No matter how quickly you get them cleaned up your client will keep getting upset more and more. There really isn't a sure solution to this problem. Either your client will drop the project, ask for repayment and demand it immediately or your development team will run leaving you high and dry. The only thing you can do is protect yourself with contracts. Set up milestones and payback information if your development team can not finish the project. Also have a contract with your client which states about information on payback as well as if the deposit is non-refundable(which most times it is).
There is nothing stopping you from being successful in outsourcing, you just have to protect yourself along the way.
Anthony Jewell has over 6 Years experience in the Web & Graphics World. You can visit my business at http://www.logo2d.com
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