When you are shopping for office copier paper, it makes sense to look for a great deal, even buying in volume if the savings are good enough. But if you get taken in by consumer attitude in some areas of business, then you risk getting buried by more prudent businesses.
Can you imagine a corporate attorney advertising guaranteed lowest prices? That would not instill confidence in their professionalism. Fortunately for them, few if any would risk demeaning their trade by offering such absurdity.
Most trades, even though a lot of them should be, are not so well shielded from the folly that unjustly reflects on all others in their profession. There are those who market to businesses and treat them like consumers. They prey on people's natural instinct to try to save money, but they must divert someone's attention to price alone to succeed.
There are inherent flaws that every business person should instinctively understand. Successful people look at Return On Investment (ROI) and this principle is well taught. This should be applied to every business decision, but I will illustrate using my own industry as an example of practical application.
I provide promotional graphics in the form of web design, graphic design, writing, marketing, and technical expertise. The prices in this industry are all over the scale. While many of my competitors complain of low balling price structures and loss of business to prices that insult our profession, I don't worry about it. I can easily get the business of those who have been taken by these “deals" in the past as long as they survive the experience.
Let's take a closer look at what is being sold. The principles of my business apply to many other decisions a business will face, so the principle is what is important. If someone is selling you promotional graphics, and they are doing it at a price that makes it impossible for them to make a healthy profit, it is reasonable to assume that they will not help you make a healthy profit.
It may not be easy to determine the best value, and more expensive does not automatically mean better, but you can be fairly certain that a great deal is quite often bad for your business. If ROI is needed, the best deals usually provide zero return.
In some cases, great deals can even be detrimental. There are cheap services and software programs that promise to put your web site at the top of search engine results. Sometimes they might, temporarily if at all, but often will get you blacklisted from search engines because of shady tactics used to get those results. That is a death blow to your web site.
We are living in a time when con artists are getting increasingly sophisticated. Fortunately, good information is available for you to educate yourself. Take advantage of the information tools you have available, and do your research. Always think about whether you are really saving money, or throwing away a better opportunity to get a good deal.
Steve Chittenden seeks to help business owners and organizations market themselves effectively and succeed. His company, Creative Business Services, provides carefully planned web design, graphic design, writing, and marketing services aimed at achieving this goal. Please visit www.cbscreative.com for more information.