Choosing what to “outsource”
One challenge all businesses face is choosing what to do themselves and what to outsource. This is fundamental for every sort of business. When “cooking from scratch” for instance, we more often than not are not literally directly going from “farm to fork”. Rather, we may purchase more basic ingredients and then put in the work assembling these rather than purchasing a more “fully assembled product”. By choosing what share of the labor of assembly to do ourselves, we can produce food that is more specifically what we want and get paid for our labor in doing so.
Putting together technology solutions for a company is very similar. Practically all consumer-facing businesses will make use of software products other people make to aid in their main revenue-generating operations. Better understanding what software products are available can help lower expenses both in fees for using in services and time spent setting up and maintaining productive pipelines.
Understanding how your operations are or are not expected to scale is one important point to pay attention to in order to not over pay. For instance, a small organization may not benefit at all from maintaining their own e-mail service; by outsourcing to someone else (like Gmail) such an organization can focus on their main business. A small business may conclude that they do not want to support a fancy website, but rather rely on customers doing fairly direct transactions through a payment processor and some online marketplace, such as Facebook Marketplace or Ebay. By not taking on more costs than necessary trying to “reinvent the wheel”, a business can focus most on connecting with and delivering products to customers rather than on spending lots of money trying to engineer better online experiences. Truly, many people just want things to “just work” and many existing platforms already exist to offer standard features like shopping carts, checkouts with a variety of payment methods, and so on (following the design/metaphor of a “brick and mortar” store).
As a former nerd (still recovering), I have spent a lot of time trying to look at optimal technologies, best techniques, and so on. As the old saying goes, striving too much for perfection can prevent us from getting anything done; we need to do a good job, but we must finish. Analogously, rather than looking for the perfect gym, commit to a schedule of calisthenics (or use whatever around you that you already have) until the next thing naturally presents itself to you! Let the tech serve businesses, rather than businesses serve the tech.