When we first start out in a new venture, we worry about if the business will sink or float. We don’t worry about quality of customers, but quantity. We do things to get people in the door. These include gimmicks and discounts. The problem is, as your business grows, these things come back to bite you.
That discount you gave in the beginning often tends to lead to customers who aren’t going to aid you long term. They tend to be people shopping around for the “best” deal. They won’t respect your time or what you do. They aren’t there because they believe in your skill set, just to save themselves money. They won’t recommend you to their friends because you are a means to an end, a tool, not a benefit to them. They will be the first to complain, and the last to adhere to your requirements. They will want special treatment, even when their actions are preventing you from completing your work. They will try to get the bill for services reduced further, mostly due to some issue they feel happened while ignoring that they are in fact the cause of that issue. And at the first sign of resistance from you to do what they want, or a request to bring their account up to market standards, they will balk and then bail. They will not be loyal and may even bad mouth you around town – because in their world nothing is their fault.
And while you are being dragged down by their faults, and taking time in the weeds of their account, good clients are passing you by. The more bad customers leech away at you, the less and less you love what you do. And isn’t that why you got into the business in the first place? You owe it to yourself and to your other customers to let these people go on their way.
How do you do make sure you attract the right customers and not the wrong ones? Charge what your worth – from the start if you can. It may seem scary to put yourself out there. But remember, people are coming to you because you have what they need – knowledge. And that has great value. Once you start down the path of believing you can, and pricing yourself right, your business will thrive and your customers will be happy. Their happiness will come from the fact that you now have time for them, their interactions with you are happier because you aren’t bogged down with a customer that doesn’t appreciate you, and everything they are hearing in the community is positive. So, unless you are a retail store, discounts shouldn’t be part of your business plan.
So how do you know what you’re worth and what you should charge? Well that….is another story.