You’re exactly the same as everyone else

There was a time when things like the dollar menu & free shipping were great perks. That time is gone, and it’s time to start spending marketing dollars elsewhere.

Well, hopefully you are not. But lately I’ve heard a lot of others who are.

Playing 52 minutes of commercial-free music every hour is not a big deal. Neither is free shipping on orders over $75, the dollar menu, and $0 down and no payments for 18 months.

There was a time when they were great perks. But now that everyone offers it, it’s no longer special.

You should still continue to offer it. But maybe you want to spend your marketing dollars on something that’s actually remarkable – something worth talking about.

How to choose a company name

Some brief thoughts on how to go about choosing a company name (stemming from a conversation with my friend Michele, who also started her own business).

Some thoughts on choosing a company name from a conversation I had with my friend Michele.

What do others say about you?

Think about the image you want the company to have. What makes you unique? Special? Different from everyone else? What do you want your clients telling other people about you? “Wow, we worked with ________, and they did an incredible job of ________!” It’s that 2nd blank that will help you come up with the 1st.

Put yourself in your own element

Similar to how I thought of Escape (my company’s name is “Escape Creative“), maybe you need to just put yourself in your own element. For me, running is where I’m at peace, and can let my mind go. Maybe you like to paint. Or you love music. Maybe you look at beautiful paintings (online, go to a museum, whatever). Or put some headphones on with your favorite relaxing/inspirational jams, grab a hoodie, sit on your deck, close your eyes, kick up your feet, and see what comes to you.

Maybe you put the headphones on while admiring beautiful artwork (the combo deal).

I think it’s important… if you’re going to start and operate your own business… that it takes on part of your personality. It should help define you as a person. It should have your personality infused in it. If it doesn’t, you can easily lose sight of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and it becomes just another job… instead of a passion.

One final question

If the business ran itself, and was it’s own boss, would it hire you?

What the client really wants

While donating blood, the phlebotomist listened to what I said, and did what I asked. Unfortunately for me, that wasn’t what I really wanted. What people say and what they actually want are often 2 different things.

I had an experience today (while donating blood) that made me think about the company/client relationship. See, what happened was…

The blood donation story

Last time I donated I experienced no issues. Arm felt great the entire time. Today, I experienced some discomfort. Nothing major, but I wouldn’t exactly call it pleasant. Before I started today, I told the technician what the woman did last time to make my arm feel great. She did 1 of the 2 things I mentioned, and the bleeding commenced.

When I was finished, I told her that it wasn’t a big deal, but I did have some discomfort, and the small change she made didn’t make it subside. I explained to her again the 2 things that were done last time, and she replied, “Oh. I thought you just wanted this 1 thing done.”

No. What I really want is for my arm to be comfortable. For it not to hurt. I don’t care how you achieve it, or what you have to do. It’s your job to figure that out. Just don’t make it hurt so I want to come back in 3 weeks and donate again.

What they say ≠ What they want

If you own a creative company, what do you think your client actually wants? Do they really want the color a little darker? The font a little larger? The image moved over here? No. That’s what they tell you. But don’t let it confuse you. You need to interpret.

Results. Sales. Money.

What they really want are results. More sales. More business. More money. People buying their product, using their service. They want the world to know about what it is they offer, fall in love with it, and tell their friends.

They don’t care how you do it. They’re paying you to figure it out.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I did exactly what the client wanted, and they still weren’t happy.”? That’s because you did exactly what the client told you to do. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what they wanted.

What should I charge?

What should I charge?

I’ve been negotiating several contracts lately, which got me to thinking: How does one determine what to charge for their product or service? Who makes up those rules? Are there any rules? And if so, what are they?

You pay for value. The more value something provides, the more you are willing to pay for it. So the question is not how much should you charge, or how much is it worth. The question becomes how much value do you provide.

Let’s take web design, for example, since I happen to know that business pretty well. I’m going to do basically the same thing for 2 different companies. I charge them both $10k. Company A nearly has a heart attack and runs out of the room screaming. Company B says, “Where do I sign? I can’t wait to get started.”

Company B understands the value they’re getting. Company A clearly doesn’t see that same value.

There are a lot more Company As out there than Company Bs. If you let Company A dictate your pricing, you’ll always be undercharging. But if you only work with Company Bs, your sales pipeline will go stale quickly and you’ll be out of new business in no time.

It’s your job to convince Company A of the true value you provide. And that’s not easy when they’re only looking to spend a few hundred bucks. You have to offer them something unique. Do something for them that no one else will do. Be different, and they will remember you. Come up with a crazy idea that your competition would only laugh at if they thought about doing it. And then say, “Why not? Let’s do it.”

But hey, if you find Company B, you should drop everything to work with them. They don’t come around often.