The Internet is a strange place when it comes to investment. No one seems to quite know how much money to pour into a Web project to achieve his or her objectives. The real world seems to have most things quantified quite clearly. Sure costs can blow out, but in general, the pricing of commodities and services is within established boundaries, as is the scope of most projects. A building, no matter how big or small, is just a building. It rarely needs to become twice as large as soon as it opens, or change its structure mid-construction. Web projects can and do morph very quickly.
So people, armed with much uncertainty, misinformation or even delusion, begin Web projects thinking they will spend nothing, then see how it goes. And if it takes off, they will invest more money into the project. The ground they build their plans on is so shaky that it is almost certainly doomed to fail. Somehow some reality and measure must be brought in. It makes it hard when we hear stories about start-ups who spent 3 months in a garage and then sold to Google for a billion dollars. The reality factor is almost non-existent in these kinds of stories.
Websites really are projects just like any other. They in fact do have parameters, scope and limitations, measurable and quantifiable factors, costs, benefits, investment and returns.
Rather than invest and wait for a return, many people expect Websites to bring in a return and then use that money to invest into the project.
While that sounds like a sensible idea, it ignores the fact that you have to start with something and that something is going to take time and money. Somehow we have been led to believe that the first version of a Website should be free. If you are a programmer and designer, this may well be the case, because you will do it all yourself. But if you are an ordinary business person with little or no design and coding skills, you are going to have to pay someone to do the work… and you may not even know what work needs to be done, so you probably have to pay someone to help you work that out, too.
If your idea really is worth pursuing, it must be worth investing in. No business is risk-free, so why not take the risk on your own idea? If it pays off, you will be very happy indeed and if it doesn’t, you will have paid for some very valuable lessons, to take with you to your next project.