Dangerous Ground – Doing “It” Yourself

by Thomas Frasher on October 30, 2009

This weeks article addresses the strong desire for people to fall into the trap of “I didn’t invent it, it’s not as good as it could be” or “Not Invented Here”.

Both of these attitudes usually have some merit and at the same time are usually flawed.

In an earlier article on when good enough is good enough, I made the point that at some point you have to stop development and ship the product or service, before that you have no knowledge of the viability of your product or service. You have to ship/deploy and get feedback from your marketplace, before that you are guessing.

Proof of your accomplishment is after shipment/deployment.

To that end we must as business owners be aware of the landscape surrounding our businesses, our competition, our customers, and our own needs, and what help is available to us at little or no investment. So the question “do I need to do it all from scratch?” is posed here. What parts can you get elsewhere and will it help you to do that?

For example, Matthew Lesko has made a big business out of publishing a series of books on government available loans, grants and funding, and if it works for you, the cost is very low.

There are professional societies for every profession that are a great source of help and ideas. Surprising though it may seem, you can even get help from your competition.

For the technology crowd there is slashdot and sourceforge; for the science minded products and services there is the IEEE with societies for nearly anything you can imagine and Symetry for the more scientifically minded. I would encourage your to sign up for one or more of these, at least take a look to see what’s there and if it is usable.

All of that said, there are countless places to find help in the marketplace, and as I’ve said in nearly every article I’ve written: in business you need help, and not just any help, you need the best help you can get, and help will cost you, the best help costs a lot.

So take a look around you both physically and in your marketplace and find your help, it may be surprising where you find it. Watch out for the “Not Invented Here” trap in yourself and your employees, it can raise your costs and lengthen your delivery times and thwart your chances of success.

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