The outsourced development team: a startup’s secret weapon

Outsourced development

“Time is money” for every business. When you’re a startup, though, the truth behind this saying can be brutal. For funded startups, every cent (and by extension, every second) really, truly counts. And for those startups that are bootstrapping from their own pocket, well, you see the point here. Most startups begin with a skeleton crew of passionate individuals. And that’s great for securing initial investment. To grow, though, you need to bring in the necessary talent — and you need to do it fast. Let’s say you need to get to market with a digital product and you needed to do it yesterday. Should you speed through the recruitment progress and put together an in-house team? Or is leaning on the skills and experience of an outsourced development partner the smarter way to go?

Startups need to tread carefully when building a development team

There comes a time in all successful startups when the original “ragtag” team just can’t keep up. So what do you do?

Generally, that startup will do what’s worked so far: look for fast talent to accelerate growth. 

The problem with this strategy is that finding that talent isn’t always so easy. Maybe you don’t find the individuals you need, maybe you can’t keep these people on board, maybe they won’t work well together, and maybe you don’t have the resources to onboard them fast enough.

When you’re trying to launch a product, your team — and its talent — are everything. And if that creative, productive force isn’t outputting like you need it to, it can spell trouble for the success of your startup. There’s also the challenge of culture, which we’ll come on to unpack in more detail later.

The problem with an in-house startup development team

Unfortunately, several factors are working against startups that try to build an in-house team too early. Here are just a few of those obstacles — and, for a small and/or scaling business, they can be devastating. 

It’s going to take a long time to put a team together

First and foremost, putting together a team of talented, reliable, and passionate individuals takes a lot of time and resources: 

  • You’ll probably need to offer equity to new recruits
  • You’re inevitably going to invest in hires that don’t pan out
  • You’re going to invest valuable time when you have many other priorities 
  • … and for teams where remote work isn’t an option, you might be in a location where the talent you need just isn’t

You don’t need us to tell you that, as a startup, you don’t have time to waste. But the unfortunate truth is that building and training your own development team from scratch is time-consuming and risky.

Developing a reliable process isn’t smooth sailing

After you’ve hired and trained a team of designers and engineers, next you need to establish a reliable, efficient, and productive development process. 

You need this group of individuals to work as a team, you need them to operate in an organized, efficient manner, and mistakes can be costly at this stage of the game. If you don’t have direct experience with working on and/or managing a development team then the odds are stacked against you.

Not to mention that your teammates might not even get along! They might have zero chemistry or worse, negative chemistry. You might not know how much of a budget they need, which tools to connect them with, what the best practices are, and you may spend time floundering between each of these points to find the right balance.

Wasted time = wasted capital. And you’ll have your investors on the phone in no time demanding an explanation.

Fostering the right culture for your team is a nuanced process — one you don’t want to rush

Building on the last point is the challenge of team culture. While it might sound nebulous, it’s a vital part of keeping your team productive and motivated.

Running a startup, you need an abundance of passion to keep the fire burning. You want to make sure that all of your employees are as excited and energized as you. You want to make sure they buy into your vision for the business and are willing to work (hard) towards the same goal. This isn’t something you can guarantee when building an in-house development team at speed, and it might not be something you can cultivate, either. 

With an outsourced development team, each of these issues can be mitigated

Fortunately, there is a way to not only overcome these obstacles but avoid them altogether. And that’s by working with a highly skilled outsourced development team. 

Outsourced engineering teams have already gone through all of these hardships for you. They’re boxed up (as dedicated teams) and ready to hit the ground running for your startup’s success.

Here’s what that could look like:

Your team is ready to go right away

With a pre-built development team, there’s no need to hire the right talent. It’s already there. This allows you to scale up or down as swiftly as you need to. 

This alone gives your startup a huge competitive advantage. It allows you to be agile at a stage that most startups can’t be, allowing you to claim a stake in the game and compete with more established companies in your sector. 

An outsourced team can integrate with your existing team seamlessly, bolstering their performance without disrupting the progress you’re making elsewhere.

Outsourced team members have been working together for years

Another immense benefit of an outsourced team is that you’re getting proven collaborators. There’s no need to establish effective processes, ensure good teamwork, or worry that these individuals are going to be cold towards one another. 

Not to mention that your outsourced team brings a significant amount of experience to the table. This can supplement your and your team’s know-how, fast-tracking your learning curve. 

You can foster a positive culture quickly and reduce turnover costs

Likewise, an existing team will already have the excitement and motivation you’re looking for. They’ll have been onboarded into a go-getting company culture and will be ready to show up and make your product a success. They’ll be a group of individuals who work together every day, reducing the chances of disagreements, dissatisfaction, and other factors that can lead to unproductive, unhappy conditions. 

It’s difficult to put a financial value on positive company culture, but we can easily work how much money is at stake if you get that culture wrong… We know that each new full-time hire costs a business around $4000 and 24 days of work. Then there’s base salary, benefits, and taxes resulting in an overhead that’s 1.25-1.4 times higher than the salary you brought them in on. It would be a real shame for that investment to go to waste.

Outsourced development is the smart way to scale today

Yes, Cheesecake Labs offers a stellar outsourced development team to startups all over the world. But we’re not promoting this way of working purely for personal gain.  We are promoting what we would do in your shoes based on what we know and have seen in the market time and time again.

The benefits to your business — and, let’s face it, your stress levels — are laid out below:

Focus on your business

You’re the CEO of a startup, your energy is already stretched as thin as it can go. There’s no need to push that limit even further by taking on the challenges and risks of building an in-house development team before you’re ready. 

Outsourcing your development keeps your schedule and resources balanced without compromising results. You can manage your time appropriately while your outsourced team supports you. 

You can begin the in-house recruitment process when the time is right, not because you’re under pressure.

Mitigate risk for your product

Not only can an outsourced development team free up your time, but it can also mitigate risk.

Unlike building an in-house team, where you might not know if new hires are right for your startup until you’ve already invested in them, an outsourced team has built-in credibility. 

Likewise, an outsourced development team will almost always have “more collective experience” than any team a startup can put together. That’s exactly what you need today to launch a quality product for your target audience.

Boost the integrity of your startup

Lastly, an outsourced development team will provide your startup with a sense of legitimacy and integrity. You can make promises to stakeholders more confidently, knowing that you have a team on your side who can provide you with the results you need. 

This allows you to deliver on your promises, contracts, and sales — even as you scale up in a short period. 

Partner with Cheesecake Labs as your dedicated development team

If you’re looking for a professional, experienced, and talented development team, look no further than Cheesecake Labs. Our team of experts can supplement your startup’s development needs with the credentials you and your stakeholders are looking for. 

It’s a short- to mid-term solution that can help you get further, faster, without assuming as much risk as you would do otherwise. Our team can also work with your new hires to gradually replace the Cheesecake Labs team as you grow. 

There’s really nothing to lose and everything to gain. Get in touch with Cheesecake Labs today to learn more. 

About the author.

Jeremy Stephan
Jeremy Stephan

Jeremy Stephan is no stranger to building digital products. In fact, he's worked with Disney, NBC, Mercedes-Benz, HotelTonight, and many other companies in helping to guide them through the app design and development process. Jeremy has led client engagement in the digital space for over 10 years and served as a mentor within the TechStars network.