Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

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Once upon a time, I ran a video production company.  On our website’s profile, I wrote that we would do the work for free if we could, but we have to pay bills.  If you love what you do, you would probably do it for free if you could.

But alas, like me, I’m sure you have bills.

One of my downfalls is that I don’t concentrate on the cash enough.  I blame that on loving what I do.  Just yesterday I was telling my wife that if I hit Powerball today, I would still do what I do.  I love it so much that there are times I forget to ask for the deposit.  Fortunately, I have people around me that keep me in line.

Do as I say, not as I do.

You may have real passion for what you do.  You may be focused on your primary responsibilities to the point that you have blinders on.  But trust me, you ability to continue to do that great work depends entirely on your ability to price your goods and services correctly and to collect accounts receivable.

First, before you can tell your clients/customers what you want to charge, you need to make sure that you are pricing correctly.  It’s OK to be more expensive than your competition if you provide more value.  Then the weight falls on your shoulders to illustrate and prove that you are worth it.  Market research and advertising are the tasks at hand here.

Then go get your customers.  You sign them up.  Get the cash.  You need cash flow to keep afloat while you’re executing.  If you’re like me and you are a service-based industry, then make sure that you have a payment schedule ready and fully understood by all parties.  Often when working on video projects, I ask for 50% up front and 50% on completion.  When working on multimedia projects, sometimes it’s 50% up front, 30% on reaching some milestone in the project, and 20% on completion.  With these examples, you can see that I’m getting at least half up front to get moving.

Thoughts?

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Written by Jeff York

August 24, 2008 at 8:43 pm

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