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What the Work Really Costs

Earlier this year, Donny Deutsch on a segment of the Today Show, advised millions of aspiring entrepreneurs watching at home how easy it was to commission a “neighborhood hipster” to build a website for $250.

Stop for a moment and consider that Mr. Deutsch, a respectable advertising executive and television personality, is chairman of Deutsch Inc., a multimillion dollar New York ad agency whose own website includes a glitzy customized full-screen video feature for displaying its portfolio. Did $250 buy that? Of course, not every modest startup needs a Ferrari like the Deutsch site, but there is simply no reason to expect that a bargain-basement amateur website will ever produce the same horsepower.

With the rise of the internet and online business, entrepreneurs have largely forgotten that even without the overhead of a physical storefront, there are still significant costs associated with getting off the ground. Building and operating an online-only business may appear to be cheaper than traditional brick-and-mortar, but it’s certainly not free. People are often so conditioned for shopping around, hunting for discounts that they neglect to consider the ramifications of opting for price point over quality. It is a difficult habit to break, but why cheap out on an investment that you are counting on for your retirement?

For entrepreneurs entering the marketplace with an online storefront or online-only business, similar principles apply. With consumer sentiment at an all-time high, recognize the value of building the best online solution to drive the business forward. Choose a partner to help you build a lasting business comes down to so much more than the financial cost. Far more important is founding a relationship in which both parties understand each other’s goals and expectations.

The innovators behind today’s most prominent web-only businesses, like social media giant Facebook or professional networking site LinkedIn carefully and patiently sought out the best talent. And even in their infancy, these sites were not built on spare change.

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