As a small business owner, I have my small staff AND a few consultants I use for a variety of efforts. Recently, I hired a consultant to help me with one of my website efforts. After we met via web conference, I decided to go forward. The price was agreed upon, and the exchange of requirements began. After the requirements were agreed upon, the work was scheduled to begin.
And, it is here where things got a little crazy….
I emailed my contact a couple of times and I did not get a response. So, after thinking she was busy, I thought I would just call her up. And, after listening to, “This phone number is not in service,” a few times, my paranoia started climbing.
- I did a search on the company name. I found some negative information on them posted within the past week. And, I was then “certain” I had been taken–I had already paid a percent of the project costs.
- I found the website of the local Better Business Bureau. I punched in a phone number of the company, and I was able to determine they had a satisfactory rating. And, I thought, at least this is one positive thing to “sorta” alleviate my paranoia.
- I did a search on the name of the owner. I found 2 phone numbers that were possible candidates to be my “man”. I called the first one and talked to the owner’s mother. She asked me to call her back, and she would provide his cell phone number. I did, and SURPRISINGLY, she answered and provided the number.
- I called the number, and he picked up! He told me their phone system was being upgraded, and they were still in BUSINESS!!!
- He got back to his office, and called me again. He had my project coordinator email me right away. And, he emailed me a couple times, too.
- And, I called the company’s phone number, and it now worked!
- AND, the next day, the owner emailed me a longer explanation of the negative comment I had found on the internet. And, he invited me to call/email him with any other questions I may have had.
Conclusion: No matter how many times you have been burnt, there are good people out there to work with. When you are burnt, you can’t just close the doors. With internet consultants being such an important part of a small entrepreneurs cost savings, you need to get wiser each time you take on a consultant. I haven’t learned all of the lessons yet, but I continue to realize the limitation of SignsSeen. And, consultants are the only way that I can effectively make improvements to the site without distracting the rest of us from what we need to do…sell signs!!