The Biggest Software Mistake That Small Business Owners Make

Since we created our Managed Software Services unit to focus squarely on Software Support and Maintenance services, I've had the opportunity to work with and talk to a lot of small business owners who were confronted with major problems because of this one thing: they relied exclusively on one sole developer to manage all of their software needs.

It makes sense for a small business to hire just a single developer to help them get a web or mobile application off the ground. But while it is possible to bootstrap a successful company with a single developer, maintaining and growing a company with a single developer is much more challenging.

Read on to learn five reasons why it is problematic to employ only one developer, and how you can avoid potential pitfalls if you're in this situation.

Having only one developer is risky because:

Unforeseen circumstances in their availability.

Assuming that your software is critical to the operation of your business, if your developer suddenly quits, is terminated, takes ill, or encounters anything else that causes them to be unable to perform their duties, critical issues may persist for far too long. This puts your business at significant risk of losing clients and revenue.

Missed opportunities for growth.

One person can only do so much. On the Managed Software Services Team, we often witness lone developers who are forced to spend their time addressing critical or urgent issues that arise. Thus, new initiatives and features must take a back seat—and end up delayed, overdue, or abandoned. If you're looking to grow your business, this creates an uphill battle.

Developer burnout is inevitable.

When all of the burden for maintaining and building a system always falls on one person, they will reach the point of burnout at some point. It's not a matter of if, but when. It is here that shortcuts are often taken. Once shortcuts are a part of a developer's repertoire, you can expect a perpetual cycle of bugs and critical issues.

The knowledge silo is inevitable.

When a developer has no need to share their knowledge and no one to share their knowledge with, they will fall into habits that create problems down the road. This shows up often in the way of not having anyone else able to access code or fill in to perform routine tasks and other small things. Your system and source code will have nuances that only your developer knows. When this happens, the code becomes incredibly difficult to read and maintain. This has the net effect of costing your business more money than it should to resolve issues or improve the system. This also makes transitioning to a new developer or development team incredibly difficult should the need arise.

Your developer doesn't know it all.

Even if your developer has the ability to program rockets or create new programming languages, they still won't know everything. Having more than one person means more than one perspective on how to accomplish things. When more than one person can communicate with regard to solving a problem or creating something new, you have increased your chances of having a more robust system.

If you're like many other small businesses out there, you may be in this situation now. Here are three things you can do about it:

Hire another developer

While I understand that this won't work for all businesses, some are ready to invest in growing their own team. If you have room in your budget and software is crucial to the operation of your business, this is worth a very strong consideration.

Hire a software support partner

A reputable support partner can help ease the load that may be placed on your developer. Additionally, amongst other things, having a good support partner will help to diversify the knowledge base of the system so that you don't find yourself in a total bind if your developer suddenly leaves for any reason. For less than the cost of hiring a full-time developer, you can increase availability, seize opportunities for growth, and distribute the knowledge and workload of your company's software.

With software support solutions to fit almost any budget, 8th Light's Managed Software Services team helps small businesses make huge impacts. We help business owners stabilize and enhance their software, migrate servers to the cloud with Amazon Web Services, discover and correct security vulnerabilities, and more.

Whether your company relies on a single developer or a small team, reach out to us for more information about how our team can help.

Malcolm Newsome, Software Craftsman

Malcolm Newsome enjoys life and can frequently be found wearing NIU Huskies attire.

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