Lifestyle Paper Tiger Press

it’s just business

August 17, 2010

One of the reasons I started this blog was to keep track of the progress I’m making. It’s a fine line though – sometimes, even small milestones need to be celebrated…but I get that gushing about how I’ve perfected my ink mixing technique is going to bore most people to death. Worse yet, I could just come across as an idiot for bothering to write about things that are common knowledge for everyone else.

But I don’t care. Because today, I answered a work email in under 5 minutes.

I can see you rolling your eyes over there. You should know that until recently, it would take me forever to figure out pricing on an order. Sure, I have a fixed price list, but I’d agonize over the email for ages anyway, second-guessing myself and my reasons behind charging what I do. As a bride-to-be (and human being, for that matter), I know very well what its like to have one’s heart set on something your budget can’t accommodate, and so I found myself trying to give clients more for less just to be nice. Which is nice, but is ultimately also a terrible approach to running a business.

Put simply, it’s devaluing – and the start of a nasty chain reaction. Observe: By devaluing your product and/or service, you’re actually devaluing your time, which lessens your ability to give your client a 100% fantastic experience from start to finish, which cheapens the experience for them, which leads to dissatisfaction, which devalues your brand. To take it a step further, devaluing your brand will give your product and/or service a bad name, which will eventually devalue your industry, which will result in vicious undercutting and a serious lack of quality control, harming the profits of similar businesses as well as your own. Everybody loses.

I’m not saying it’s alright to charge people astronomical prices just because you think you’re worth it – having a friend or family member tell you you’re the best is not the same as diligent market research and experience – and you definitely shouldn’t mark up your pricing because you think you can get away with it (Balmain, I’m looking at you), but selling yourself short isn’t the answer either. It’s all about finding a balance.

Though I’d like to think potential clients who read this will understand my philosophy or at least respect my point of view, I’m sure this post will rub some people the wrong way. That’s ok – because rather than spread myself thin trying to deal with a mass of bargain hunters, I’m just going to completely and utterly devote myself to delighting the clients who appreciate what I have to offer.

How’s that for a business plan?