The problem with pricing!

Pricing is a big problem for most businesses.

In simple terms if you charge too much you may struggle to get customers. Charge too little and you won’t make enough money.

But pricing can reveal more about your company than you may think.

If you regularly price at a lower level than people would expect to pay for your product/service, prospective clients may assume that your work is of a low quality. So bizarrely you may find you don’t get approached by your ‘perfect’ client because they think you are not up to the job.

On the other hand you can be ‘reassuringly expensive’ and draw people to you.

For help with getting your pricing right you may like to download the free pricing guide on my website

Fiona 🙂

Your world in your website!

Why do we have a website?

When I first started my business I felt I had to have a website. I never thought I would get business through the internet but understood that businesses that do not have a website often don’t ‘exist’. Now obviously they do in the real world but the business environment today is so internet orientated that businesses have to be virtual or prospective clients don’t believe they are ‘real’.

This is, of course, bonkers because anyone can pretend to be anything on the web. But there you are – it’s just the way it is.

Think about it – if you are going to have a meeting with someone, or are looking to buy a product/service, where is the first place you go? Even if you are not looking to the internet to make the initial connection with a business you will want to find out more about them by looking them up on line.

So I knew I should have a website but really just thought it would be a ‘brochure’ giving people and idea of what I do.

However, over the years I have come to think differently. I now look at my website as a way of promoting not just me and my business, but also those business people I have come to know and admire.

My website is now not just about what I do but also about the strategic partners I work with, links to my clients websites to raise their profile, space to provide free information, a place to promote events, a home for my blog …  In short it is a reflection of my whole business.

I now believe my website gives a true picture of what anyone will get when working with me – good or bad. This means that people who are not ‘my type of people’ will be deterred by what they see, whilst people who like what I have done will probably like the way I work.

I am very fortunate in that I have a husband who is very talented at translating what I want and how I want it. But I think we can all create something special with our websites these days as content management systems become more flexible and easy to use.

Our latest tweak is a news and events page (set up as a blog) called FB FM. The idea is that any of my clients or strategic introducers can publicise events or news items they think a wider audience would be interested in.

I hope this inspires you to look at your own website. Try to see it from someone else’s point of view and ask yourself if it really shows your business in the best light.

Fiona 🙂

We all love Jelly!

Last week I went to the MBWF Jelly day at Mercer Design.

For those of you who don’t know what a ‘Jelly day’ is I will explain. A group of business owners who may or may not work on their own, get together with their laptops and work together. By this I don’t mean they work together on the same project, just that they work together in the same environment.

This environment can be a cafe, hotel, serviced offices or any public space with Wi-Fi, good refreshment opportunities and space for working. In our case, the lovely building occupied by Mercer Design in Mells was perfect – and I have to say the shop does fantastic homemade sandwiches!

So why go to a Jelly?

Personally, I found it very refreshing to work in an ‘office’ environment. Normally I work alone in my cabin or at clients’ premises. Whilst clients obviously have office environments I am very aware that I am there to work and generally put my head down to get the work done.

The Jelly environment is different and much more like the working environment I enjoyed as an employee in a larger company. There was plenty of chat (as you would expect with a group of ladies) but there was also a lot of sharing. Anne, for example, wanted to get started on Twitter but was having problems knowing how to do it. Others in the group were able to help and she is now tweeting merrily.

It also was an opportunity to meet and get to know new contacts, and to re-engage with those I already knew well.

That is not to say that we did not get any ‘proper’ work done. On the contrary, I found that being outside of my usual environment helped me to be more creative and open to new ways of thinking. This was particularly useful as I needed to give some thought to my marketing plan for the coming year.

So if you have the opportunity I would recommend going to a Jelly event. They are becoming more and more popular and there is probably an event coming up in your area some time soon.

Fiona 🙂

Game, Set and Match!

I have been enjoying all the sport so far this year – particularly the tennis at Wimbledon and the Tour de France.  And I am really looking forward to the Olympics.

The highs and lows of supporting a particular team or person, hoping they will win but having no control over the outcome, is surely one of the most exiting, but also most frustrating, things we do.

I sometimes feel that some business owners treat their businesses a little like they would a spectator sport. What I mean by this is that they don’t take enough ownership of the success, or lack of success, of their business.

I have had several conversations with small business owners recently which have gone like this:

Me: ‘So how’s it going’

Business Owner: ‘Well, we are struggling at the moment. The economy is not great… the bank won’t lend us the money we need… it’s difficult to get new customers… customers are slow in paying… we are having to cut prices… competitors are getting more aggressive with their marketing so we are losing business ‘

What they are really saying is ‘It’s someone else’s fault my business is not going well’. They are not taking ownership of the problem. They are looking at their business as a spectator would rather than a participant.

Yes, times are tough. Yes, the banks are certainly not just giving money away as they did in the ‘good old days’ before the banking crisis. But successful business owners look past these issues and change their way of working to get past adversity.

They take positive action to make sure they are paid as quickly as possible and manage their suppliers to reduce their dependancy on the banks.

They plan properly so they know exactly what their perfect customers look like – this makes it much easier target marketing effort at the right type of customer.

They follow up this marketing with professional sales techniques to bring new customers in.

They also provide superb customer service which reduces the risk of customers going elsewhere.

So, if your business is struggling it may be because you are a spending too much time as a spectator, and not enough time as a participant in its future success.

Fiona 🙂

Party Planning!

I know it is still a fair few months until Christmas, and you are probably groaning inwards at the very thought of it, but bare with me.

For the last 5 years I have been organising the Billy No Mates Christmas Bash. I started it for the purely selfish reason that I had no one to have an office Christmas party with. As with many owner managed businesses I am my only employee.

To get around this problem I decided to get a crowd of my business friends, who were in the same position, to come and have lunch with me, and Billy No Mates was born.

Every time I talk to people about this office party concept they love it. But the only Billy No Mates event is the annual party in little ol’ Wells, Somerset.

So my plan is to help people across the country start their own Billy No Mates Christmas Bash. We’ve created a website which gives any interested party tips and hints on how to get started.

We can also take bookings through the site once a party is planned.

So… why not give it a go? At the very least it will enable you to have a fab Christmas party!

Fiona 🙂