When people hire us to improve their web presence, they usually have a clear goal in mind or idea of what they want: Let’s tweak the layout on the home page. Expand the online store. Add a new feature that visitors or members will love.
Wave a wand, make some magic, and call it done.
But, honestly, it’s never as simple as that. While I know how to create an online platform, and I love thinking outside of the box to find tech solutions for my clients, I’ve found that the more complex a request is, the more interdependent the whole system becomes.
Take a conversation I recently had with one of our clients, for example.
This client sells home goods. They have a strong online presence, as well as a single brick-and-mortar store. When COVID-19 impacted businesses of all sizes, my client knew they needed a fresh solution. They came to me asking for a scheduled pick-up feature, where customers could shop online, purchase an item, and then schedule a date and time to come pick up the item without entering the store.
While they already had a system in place, the feature they wanted had to be custom coded. It could be done, in the way they wanted it to be done, but there wasn’t a perfect pre-made plugin out there. And to get it to work, Alchemy + Aim would have to stay involved. We’d have to build it, but we’d also have to integrate it into the system and keep it up to date. The work doesn’t end once the tech is made.
Basically, once you dream up a solution using your raw creative power, the resulting tech becomes a living organism. And let’s face it: no organism on the planet can live, grow, and thrive without a little help from the elements and other organisms in their environment.
We can thank our brilliant, creative brains for this conundrum. When it comes down to it, our brains are infinitely more creative than the technology that currently exists out there. Our creativity is so powerful that we don’t yet have the tools or language to navigate it in its entirety.
Here’s another example: I would love a piece of software that can help me manage my business relationships. While that may seem like something that’s already out there, I have yet to find a program that can really achieve everything I want — from reminders to connect with a client I haven’t spoken with in a few weeks, to helping me remember the birthday for one of my business besties.
There are bits and pieces of this tech out there already, for sure, but none of them work exactly how I want. So I have three choices: I can cobble together things that already exist, I can build the software from scratch, or I can create a mash-up of online and offline systems to get as close as I can.
Even if I do find a way to cobble together a system or create the perfect software from scratch, the solution won’t remain the solution for long.
Because here’s the thing about organisms, both the ones we create with code and the ones that show up on their own in nature: they grow. And so do we. Even if we fill in the crack between where we are today and what we want to have in the future with magic tech dust, it may help us soar for now, but it’ll wear off eventually. It’s supposed to.
Here’s my best advice when it comes to tech: No matter which solution you go with, allow it to work its magic in the best way it can for your business, for as long as you need it. Then keep going. Keep creating, expanding, learning—both in your life and your business. Maybe even build the solution you’ve always been longing for yourself (and then share it with others — no doubt you’re not the only person who needs it). You’ll know when it’s time to pivot toward a new solution.
That’s the real magic.
Photo by Almos Bechtold