Thinking about raising your prices?

 For Entrepreneurs, General  Comments Off on Thinking about raising your prices?
Mar 302012
 

As a service provider who leans toward the “I just want to help” category, setting a price for any project can be a perplexing and occasionally frustrating experience. I remember when I started my business in 1998, particularly as I was coming from a manufactured product background, I struggled with what to charge for my services. I researched and researched, and ultimately “threw a dart” to come up with an hourly rate. And I did ok.

Then, during my annual review and planning when setting my revenue goals for the upcoming year (usually in my head, but that’s a topic for another time), I knew I had to increase clients, increase rates – or both – to achieve my goals. As I was working a full schedule already with the clients I had, I knew it had to be the rates. Yet, every year for several years, I would have an internal battle over this issue, especially when I was repeatedly reminded by business gurus that I needed to increase my hourly rate by at least 25% – or even double it.  When I heard this, I balked.  “Double my rates?! What world are these people living in?”  My fearful self would follow that question up with, “How on earth could I tell my clients that I’m hiking my rates?!”

To say I’d be uncomfortable just thinking about the conversation would be a huge understatement.

Well, I’ve certainly learned a lot since 1998 about pricing and negotiation. Moreso about the importance of customer experience and expectations, and the impact of adding value to someone’s life – business or personal – has on pricing. That’s the space I play in now… but it took me time to get here.

If you’re where I was: feeling like you’re giving too much away yet struggling with increasing your rates, or perhaps you just aren’t confident in how to move forward with your clients with a new pricing structure, you may want to read this article by Jenna Glatzer on negotiating like a pro. Wish I’d read this all those years ago… it might have reduced my learning curve substantially!

I hope the article helps you shorten your learning curve as well. Thanks, Jenna!

To your success,

Lara

p.s. Did you have a growth experience (an “aha” moment) around pricing? Tell us about it – and the results – below!

Nov 092011
 

A social media savvy colleague of mine, Joanne Burgess of Virtually Yours (a Virtual Social Media Specialist), wrote an article that had me thinking about green hosting options for our client websites. If you’re interested in increasing your awareness about carbon footprints, it’s worth a quick read, imho.

Have a browse: Have You Considered Green Hosting?.

To your success!

Lara

 

 Posted by at 3:35 pm

Marketing Challenges Survey

 General  Comments Off on Marketing Challenges Survey
Jul 102011
 

Thanks for joining us!

We’re busy here working on a new project aimed at helping entrepreneurs overcome some of their greatest marketing challenges. To make it as valuable and relevant as possible, I would really appreciate your help: I would love to have your feedback on just one question. It won’t take but a moment to reply.

In return for your time, you’ll get complimentary access to the 3-part online training series we’ve been working on, launching in late July. The great thing about the videos are that:
a) you can watch them at your convenience as they’ll be online, and
b) they’ll give you strategies to implement immediately to improve your marketing.

So here’s the question:

What is the greatest challenge (or obstacle) you currently face with your marketing?

Please click on the following link to give your feedback. Thanks so much for your help!

My challenge is…

Warmly,

Lara Veltkamp & Team

 Posted by at 9:55 am

The Election, Business and lessons on Social Media

 Client Communication, General, Social Media  Comments Off on The Election, Business and lessons on Social Media
Apr 282011
 

I admit that I am a bit of a political news junkie. I’ve been interested in politics  since my childhood and, while the necessity of this particular Canadian election is questionable, I still get excited when I think about exercising my right to vote.

Its been interesting to watch this campaign as political parties and politicians themselves try to overcome the reported complacent attitude of the Canadian people through a variety of methods. While the tried-and-true baby kissing and hand shaking of the past is still prevalent, the amount of action on social media networks cannot be ignored.  Whether it is tweeting their location or posting photos of rallies on their Facebook page, politicians are hoping that the current obsession with all things online will culminate in a record number of people at the polls on May 2nd.

While the results of that strategy are impossible to predict, there are ways to apply this strategy to small business.

1. Resistance to social media is futile.
Politicians have embraced the idea that the world is communicating instantly and online. When small businesses apply that truth to their own scenario the marketing possibilities are endless. 

2. Everything is Public.
The Tories were criticised for seemingly “un-friending” someone on Facebook when the friend in question posted photos of herself with the other political parties leaders on her own Facebook page.  While arguably petty, the Tories probably didn’t really think their action would be a big story until it made national headlines simply because it happened in the public domain.
The lesson for small business here is a stern reminder that what happens online doesn’t stay online. Very quickly actions in the virtual realm become as much a part of your brand and reputation as your carefully designed logo and meticulously kept office. We would never consider being careless with client care or marketing material, likewise this should apply to all social media communication. 

3. Keep it real.
Politically, the best users of social media are the ones who don’t use stock answers or rhetoric but instead connect with their followers. Likewise, a business owner who wants to harness the power of the web needs to commit to relevance and authenticity online. In other words, don’t just use social media as a way to disseminate information but also use it to listen to your clients and prospects and react to what they have to say. It’s a big undertaking – but can be very worthwhile in the end.

Finally, regardless of your political leanings (and don’t worry, I am polite and Canadian enough to keep my own views to myself) I hope that skepticism hasn’t robbed you of the joy and responsibility you have been afforded by living in a free nation – and that you have every intention of heading to the polls with me on May 2nd

In the meantime, let your voice be heard. Follow the leaders on Twitter, check out their Facebook sites, find your local MPs’ blog. If nothing else, you could get some good ideas to apply to your own business.

Practically Speaking

 General, Marketing Tips  Comments Off on Practically Speaking
Mar 012011
 

For business advice to be truly valuable, it has to be practical.

Theoretical rhetoric, while often well-delivered and sometimes inspirational, does little good without an application that is actually doable.

The purpose of this blog is to provide small business owners with ideas and discussion that not only inspires in theory, but also gives actionable advice that contributes to positive results. With all that being said we enter into the month of March offering some practical advice on some basic marketing challenges.

Ever wonder how to communicate with a graphic designer so that you don’t have to go through rounds of changes? Want to know what your technical needs are so that the website you develop is actually doing what you need it to? Want to know how to keep your staff motivated and happy regardless of how busy business is?

To answer these questions, as well as other “how to” conundrums common to business owners, we’ve asked some industry experts to help us out as well. Hopefully you’ll find each of these entries practically helpful – making your marketing endeavours a labour of love, rather than just hard labour.

Because, practically speaking, isn’t that what you are really looking for?