The Biz of Pacelinebiz

Turning things on end to achieve results!

Archive for November 2012

Pricing Your Services

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I was recently in a roundtable discussion about how to address pricing for a service company.  This is a very good question, one that is agonized over by many in the service industry.  I put myself in that category.  What you have to stop yourself from doing is immediately stating your hourly or daily rate.  Don’t be put on the defensive by this question.  It is a fair question to ask but the correct answer in many cases is; it depends.  If you went to a mega-sized auto lot and asked the salesperson how much does a car cost he could tell you $12,000 or $112,000 depending on the make, model and options.  It is best to turn the tables and ask them some questions first.

One of the most important reasons for turning the tables and asking questions is to make sure you are not competing on price alone.  Make the focus YOU since you are most likely your brand and therefore brand loyalty translates into loyalty to you.  Read more about building your brand.  Shift the focus from price to value.  Educate them during your interaction of the value that you bring to the table.

In my case, I can tailor my services to fit into the budget of the customer.  If they have a smaller amount to spend they will have to decide what they need the most and “shop” accordingly.  As a service provider you need to be flexible enough to offer a menu of items and to be able to break down the task or project into small enough pieces so you can guide them through the process.  I caution you to know what things they can do own their own.  There may be certain aspects that must be done by you alone due to their critical importance to the project’s success.   As an example, if you were building your house, the contractor would probably be fine with letting you paint the interior of the house but would draw the line at you laying the foundation.

The reason you want to ask questions is to get a scope set for the type of service they are looking for and then detailing the steps to be taken to complete the requested service.  Typically, once you do this you will have educated the customer as to the size of their request.  Frequently the amount of time needed to complete a task is greatly underestimated by the customer.   You can overcome the “sticker shock” to some extent once they understand what you have been asked to do for them by having a detailed plan.  You should always document this in writing so you can easily turn that into a contract for your services.

Please think twice when a customer asks about the price of your service.  Have a great week providing value to your customers.

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Written by pacelinebiz

November 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

Thanksgiving Is On The Wrong Day

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Before I make my case for changing the day that Thanksgiving is celebrated, let me give you a brief history of the holiday tradition.  In 1863 Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving and praise be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.  On December 26, 1941 President Roosevelt signed a bill, for the first time making the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law and fixing the day as the fourth Thursday of November.  In my brief research, there is no mention as to why Thursday was chosen or the specific date in November.  Even back in 1941 there was pressure to move the date officially to the fourth Thursday rather than the last Thursday of the month (in cases of 5 Thursday’s in the month) so that the holiday shopping season could be longer.

Since there is no sacred reason for the current date it is celebrated, I am proposing a minor change to the date for Thanksgiving.  I believe that we should celebrate the day on the 4th Friday so that it would be a long weekend for more people.  This would also actually elongate the shopping season by one day assuming most companies would flip flop their holiday schedule to accommodate the change.  They would have the holiday as the day before Thanksgiving instead of the day after thanksgiving.  Any one that does not get the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday would benefit by getting the 3 day weekend.  It sounds like a win-win to me. 

Shoppers could line up on Wednesday night waiting for the clock to tick to midnight to buy that that special gift.  After a hard day of “Black Thursday” shopping, they could take Thanksgiving off and be rested to go at it full speed ahead on Saturday – the day after Thanksgiving.

I rest my case; you are welcome for my efforts in correcting this error.  Have a great week getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Written by pacelinebiz

November 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

Rust Never Sleeps

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Yes, we can even learn a business lesson from Neil Young.  Rust Never Sleeps was the name of a live Album he released in 1979. I wore that thing out in College and even for a few years after when I copied it to cassette.  I think I still have that cassette but no longer have a cassette player that works. 

I have no idea what he meant by that phrase but over the years I have used it for motivation.  I was thinking about what that title means to me recently while riding my bike on the first cool, overcast and blustery day this fall.  I used that phrase in the early 90’s to get out and ride my bike in less than desirable weather to stay ahead of the competition.  Back then I reminded myself that the competition was always getting younger while I would always continue to age.  I also reminded myself that someone was out riding, staying in shape getting ready to put me further back in the pack.

Now, I apply the lesson to my business and it means that I must continually be looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition by trying harder and with innovative thinking.  I don’t mean to say that there is never a time to relax and rest or to take a vacation.  I think as a business owner you must always have the wheels running in the background – even when on vacation or on the weekend.  Some of my best ideas come to me when I am “zoning out” on a bicycle ride.  I would call this passive work performance.  I think it might be due to relaxing and blocking out other recurring issues while not really thinking about anything specifically.  It is kind of like letting your mind, which I believe is like a muscle, work without impediments just like a golfer who nails a perfect drive under the most pressure because he lets the muscles repeat the action they have done thousands of times before on the range.   

However you do it, I suggest you learn the lesson and remind yourself that Rust Never Sleeps.  When you are tired and don’t feel like going to another after-hours business mixer you better think before staying home.  Before mailing it in someday when you are working for a client, remind yourself that you can’t be satisfied with good enough. 

Have a great week and remember; a rolling stone gathers no moss.  Wait, I was talking about Neil Young not the Rolling Stones…

Written by pacelinebiz

November 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

26 Things I Like About November

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A – Autumn.  In Georgia the month begins with an average high in the upper 60’s and ends in the upper 50’s.  It is a nice break from the heat of the summer and with the daylight savings time ending, it provides down time to recover from a long bicycle riding season.

B – Butternut squash.  Add some maple syrup and it is a nice treat.  Click here for a recipe

C – Cocoa, hot with marshmallow for extra creamy flavor.  Cooler temperatures call for drastic measures I guess.

D – Donuts and hot apple cider, a winning combination.

E – Election day, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (it can never be November 1st).  Then the ads are over!

F – Football.  College football rivalry weeks are usually at the end of the month and the professionals are heading for the playoff run.

G – Golden sunsets with your sweetie nestled close to you to keep warm in the cool, crisp air.

H – Humor – see “U”

I – Ibuprofen to ease the pain of going on that bike ride for the first time in a while during a warm spell.

J – Jumping into a big pile of leaves especially when I was younger.

K – Kissing your spouse after watching a Golden Sunset.

L – Lying on the couch with the fireplace roaring after some donuts and hot apple cider.

M – Mom’s cooking (any month of the year)

N – Napping without a care in the world after turkey overload.

O – Omeprazole, the drug for acid reflux that comes in handy when you overdo the turkey and trimmings.

P – Pecan pie instead of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.  Pecan pie is my favorite.

Q – Quiet morning reflection as steam rises from the pond behind my house.

R – Roast turkey at 350 degrees for 2 hours and 15 minutes, less with a convection oven.  Read my post about convection ovens here

S – Saturday afternoons on my bike when a warm spell comes for a welcomed visit.

T – Turkey and Thanksgiving.

U – Uncontrollable laughing that inevitably breaks out at family gatherings from someone cracking wise.

V – Vegetables drowning in high fat gravy or butter.

W – Wispy cirrus clouds floating in the crisp blue sky which makes a perfect canvas for the remaining fall foliage (in Georgia)

X – Xylophones in marching bands during halftime of those Thanksgiving Day football games.

Z – Zebras (NFL referees) making bad calls and still blowing it after watching the replay “under the hood”.  It provides comic relief. 

Have a great week, a week in November.

Written by pacelinebiz

November 5, 2012 at 8:59 am