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FAQ Friday – Scaling in a Recession

Welcome to our latest FAQ Friday, where industry experts answer your burning technology and startup questions. We’ve gathered Minnesota authorities on topics from software development to accounting to talent acquisition and everything in between. Check in each week, and submit your questions here.

This week’s FAQ Friday is sponsored by The Jed Mahonis Group. The Jed Mahonis Group helps businesses strategize, design, develop, and deploy custom iOS and Android mobile applications. The company has partnered with many startups and large brands over the years to deliver software that is used by millions of people around the world, including companies such as Great Clips, Green Mill, VSI Labs, and Kwikly.

Meet Our FAQ Expert

Tim Bornholdt, Partner at The Jed Mahonis Group | @timbornholdt

Tim got his start in web development in the first grade, so he’s been building websites and apps for more than 20 years. In addition to being an accomplished software developer, Tim is also an award-winning videographer and podcaster. He currently edits the C Tolle Run podcast hosted by Olympian Carrie Tollefson, and he hosts the Constant Variables podcast where he breaks down complex mobile app development topics for entrepreneurs and product managers.

This Week’s FAQ Topic – Scaling in a Recession

Is there a way to grow my development team economically?

A full-time developer is one of the most expensive hires you can make. According to Glassdoor, a mid-range iOS or Android developer in Minnesota will cost around $97,000 per year, and that doesn’t include things like health or retirement benefits.

If you need some full-time attention on your software, but don’t want to have the burden of dealing with paying developers once the work is complete, consider hiring an augmented team.

The biggest benefit [to augmented teams]: use them when you need them, then let them go when you don’t.

Many development agencies offer augmented team services, giving you the benefit of having experienced engineers working on your project, without the administrative overhead. The biggest benefit: use them when you need them, then let them go when you don’t.

Not all cases are a good fit for an augmented team, but it can be a valuable resource during economic instability. To learn more about your development options, check out this blog post from my co-founder on the right teams for the right development projects.

When does custom software play a role in scaling?

“You get a custom software solution! And you get a custom software solution!”

Okay, so Oprah throwing out custom software solutions may only happen in our tech dreams. But truth be told, not every business needs a custom solution.

Incorporating the right software into the right areas of your business can simplify processes, automate repetitive tasks, and free up time to innovate. And when you’re looking to automate payroll, manage customer relationships, or analyze sales, there’s likely an off-the-shelf software solution to fit your needs.

As a business grows, many off-the-shelf software solutions can scale right along with it. But when you start stretching the limitations of your software, implementing customizations that require intense training, and fighting with the software more than working with it, then “off the shelf” is no longer a solution.

Trying to jam your business’s complex processes into a general-purpose tool is adding unneeded complexity to your business. Complexity is a vacuum of your team’s most important resource: your energy.

Complexity is a vacuum of your team’s most important resource: your energy.

Of course, custom software is not cheap. However, as any good manager knows, the most expensive part of any business is human labor. The more time your team spends on fighting with off-the-shelf software, the higher the cost to you in wasted energy.

To learn why energy is your business’s most valuable resource (even more so than your time and money), check out this podcast episode on Disrupting Your Business for Growth.


Still have questions? Ask Tim and The Jed Mahonis Group team questions on success by failure and more on Twitter at @timbornholdt.

Alex Skjong
Alex oversees the content produced for BETA, Twin Cities Startup Week, and When he’s not writing or editing, there’s a good chance he’s enjoying a refreshing brew and explaining the merits of heavy metal (of which there are many).