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The client called me almost 6 months after we had originally spoken. They had chosen to take our suggested solution and implement it themselves, saying it was cheaper to do it in house rather than to hire us.
Six months later, what they had was a bigger mess than what they started with. Unfortunately, they ended up spending twice as much as the original solution, they lost 6 months of progress, and worst of all, they dug themselves deeper into the hole we were trying to get them out of. I was actually glad they called me after six months and not a year. The results could have been disastrous.
The customer was dying by DIY (doing it yourself).
If you’ve ever decided to take on a home improvement project by yourself, you know what I mean. In the end, you have twice the headaches, twice the mess and it takes twice as long to complete the project than it would have if you had hired a contractor.
So why do we think that we’re experts on all things business and can do it in-house?
Here’s the thing with DIY – folks get confused by horizons. In the short term, it looks like they will save money by tackling projects in-house, but in the end, there are three costs that owners fail to recognize:
- Diversion of resources to “figure it out.”
Of the three costs above, time is the most impactful. By taking the slow route of DIY, companies end up spending time fixing the problem, not reaping the rewards of the solution. Secondly, slow progress in figuring everything out opens the door for a nimbler, faster competitor to come in and eat their lunch.
If you choose to fix something in-house rather than get a professional, you need to decide if it is worth you learning that skill or investing your energy and resources to figure it out, especially if it is a one-time thing. You also need to consider if you have all the tools to complete the job and if not, you should ask yourself if you will ever need those tools again to determine if you should make the investment.
Sometimes having staff troubleshoot their own problems is good, especially for minor tweaks to existing processes or smaller issues, but for large problems like company restructuring, why not get a professional? Would you tackle a kitchen remodel by yourself?
DIY can be a slow and painful death for small businesses and can stunt their growth and cost them more than an outside solution. So before choosing a DIY solution, consider the horizon of the long-term payback for the short-term investment of not doing it yourself.